Ace of Base: 2019 Volkswagen Beetle S

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
ace of base 2019 volkswagen beetle s

When you start life advertising yer brand as “The People’s Car,” you’d better have a hella good value proposition. Fortunately for Volkswagen, that’s exactly what it had when the brand burst onto these shores all those years ago. Before long, driveways and parking lots were filled with affordable Bugs as customers bought into the Size Small lifestyle.

What’s is it like these days, though? This calendar year is, allegedly, the final one for the stalwart VW Beetle. Does it still offer value for money? Or is it fading away into the wings as an overpriced retro throwback that should be thrown back in favor of a Golf or Jetta? Let’s find out.

Volkswagen continually improved the original Beetle during its production years, increasing its engine size and adding safety equipment. Assembly of the original rear-engined Bug continued until 2003, although it disappeared from our showrooms much earlier.

These efforts were followed by the New Beetle in 1999 and the New New Beetle a few years later, a machine that was a bit more angular in an attempt to shed its too-cute status. Your author thinks it worked, too; in the right color, with a set of dog dish hubcaps, the most recent Beetle is not a car in which the driver needs to wear a paper bag over their head.

Starting at $20,895, the base model Beetle is equipped with several features historically reserved for trims higher up the totem pole, such as a blind spot monitoring system and 16-inch alloys. A natty spoiler juts from the rear deck like the bottom lip of a spoilt Hollywood child whose parent bought them into college.

One can expect more than just the basics when it comes to the Beetle’s color palette, as options from Deep Black Pearl to Silk Blue Metallic are no-charge options on the S for 2019. The tasty Habanero Orange is a $250 upcharge, sadly. Taking the $3,000+ walk to the Final Edition trim unlocks a few more options from the paint booth. Either way, even your 6’6” author will find plenty of headroom inside Der Beetle, as its tall dome allows for all but the tallest of NBA superstars to wear their favorite top hat while driving.

Allegedly, the 174 horsepower 2.0T mill working away under the bonnet is good for 33 mpg on the highway cycle, which is either thanks to the engine’s efficiency or its suppository-shaped bodywork. This means a maximum cruising range of nearly 500 miles. The sole listed transmission option is a six-speed automatic, branded a TipTronic with sport modes. Cruise, a leather-wrapped wheel, and touchscreen infotainment are all standard on the base Beetle.

Twenty grand isn’t exactly bargain bin pricing territory, but it is pretty good value given the standard level of kit and dose of nostalgia sought by most Bug customers. Production of the Beetle will cease this year, largely thanks to changing market tastes. Leaving the door open just a crack, VW boss Hinrich Woebcken said “Never say never” to the possibility of the Beetle returning someday, perhaps as an electric car.

[Images: Volkswagen Group]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

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6 of 20 comments
  • Ceipower Ceipower on Mar 13, 2019

    The Original air-cooled Beetle gets way more positive press than it ever deserved. Yes , it became a part of the 60's/counter culture but as a vehicle it was lacking even by the standards of the 1960's. It was very prone to rust thru, it had lousy heating and defrosting, in a crash it was a death trap,and the flat four engine would all to often break off a valve and send it into a piston.Having owned of these back in the day, it was fun , but then again almost anything can be fun when your 18. The reborn "Bug" lacked the originals most distinctive feature, The exhaust sound. IMO.

    • See 3 previous
    • Namstrap Namstrap on Mar 13, 2019

      @bullnuke If I remember from my work as a parts mgr back then, the busses with the 1.7 litre engines were bad for valves. In order to make the engine more pancake, they laid the oil cooler on its side, and that blocked the flow of air to #3 cylinder. They changed to sodium filled exhaust valves to try to help the cooling, but a fully loaded Westfalia going up a long hill still could create a problem. I also remember the fuel pump pushrod wearing to the point that the pump wouldn't output enough fuel, and the butterfly valves shafts in the carbs wearing oblong holes in the carb bodies, requiring a bushing kit to fix them. I thought I'd forgotten all this.

  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Mar 13, 2019

    This thing is still here?

  • Kcflyer The solution is harsh punishment, long prison terms, for car thieves. I suggest two weeks for first offense (unless they run from the cops or commit other offenses. Second offense, thirty years hard labor. That should do it.
  • Oberkanone Installing immobilizer is the answer. It's not hard. It's not expensive.
  • MrIcky Out of the possible Jeep recalls to bring up on this site, I'm surprised it's this one and not round 2 of the clutch recall.
  • Dukeisduke I saw a well-preserved Mark VII LSC on the road not too long ago, and I had to do a double-take. They still have a presence. Back when these were new, a cousin of mine owned an LSC with the BMW turbo diesel.
  • Dukeisduke I imagine that stud was added during the design process for something, and someone further along the process forgot to delete it after it became unnecessary.