Although perhaps more known these days for the recent emissions snafu, Volkswagen is otherwise recognized for their iconic Beetle — much like Ford’s Mustang, the Dodge Charger, and a multitude of other flagship models representing various brands. The VW Beetle, sibling to the classic hippy Bus, shares much in terms of heritage, similar to the likes of the Fiat 500 and the MINI Cooper. With more than 21.5 million Type 1 Beetle models produced globally, it’s safe to say that the Bug has carved out its own niche in the annals of automotive history.

The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle is purported to be the last of its kind. After 2019, VW has stated it will halt production of the model, presumably forever. While many skeptics point out Volkswagen’s past tendencies of saying one thing and yet doing another (the Beetle has been “retired” before), the company is certainly pulling out all the stops—this time.

For more on the last Beetle of its kind, read on! We’ll dish out the skinny on this love-it-or-hate-it automobile. Whether this is the true last hurrah or not, it’s hard to believe how much of an impact this little Käfer (as the Germans call it) has made. Where do you stand on the VW Beetle?

Performance Specifications

All 2019 VW Beetles are powered by a turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine capable of 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The Beetle is front-wheel drive only, and can be purchased as either a convertible or a coupe.

The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle can be purchased in the following colors:

  • Habanero Orange Metallic
  • Tornado Red
  • Pure White
  • Platinum Gray Metallic
  • White Silver Metallic
  • Deep Black Pearl
  • Silk Blue Metallic

Both a Safari Uni and Stonewashed Blue Metallic colors are only available on the Final Edition Beetle.

Entertainment and Safety Features

Small cars always bring a fear of being less safe in the event of an accident. After all, with most new vehicles trending towards being larger and girthier, who wants to be on the losing end of a vehicular tangle?

Potential Beetle owners can rest assured, though, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) both gave the 2019 Beetle high marks. It scored 4 out of 5 stars overall from the NHTSA, as well as in the rollover rating. The 2019 Beetle scored “Good” in all IIHS tests, except the “Small Overlap Front Test,” where the model scored “Marginal.” So while the 2019 VW Beetle might not be the biggest beast on the road, it will do its best to keep you safe if things get a little dicey.

Trim Levels

There are four different trims available on the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle. They are as follows:

Customers who purchase the S model will enjoy cloth seats, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, 16-inch wheels, Blind Spot Monitor, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Upgrade to the Final Edition SE model for the panoramic sunroof, heated windshield washer nozzles and side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, 17-inch wheels, auto headlights, cruise control, heated front seats, and Rear Traffic Alert.

In the SE model, customers benefit from a dual-zone climate control, keyless entry with push button start, leatherette seating, LED daytime running lights, and a Fender audio system.

For those living high on the hog, choose the Final Edition SEL model, equipped with a 6.3-inch touchscreen that’s navigation-capable, leather seats, 18-inch wheels, fog lights, and LED license plate lighting. Front and rear park distance control will come in handy as well.

Final Edition models sport a “Beetle” badge instead of the standard “Turbo” nameplate. While the Coast and Dune trim levels are not available on the 2019 VW Beetle, Volkswagen now offers nickname badging instead.

Fuel Efficiency

According to the EPA, the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle posts a fuel efficiency of 26 city and 33 highway EPA-estimated miles-per-gallon (MPG), for a 29 mpg combined rating. For comparison, the 2019 Fiat 500 achieves 28 city and 33 highway MPG, with the MINI Cooper ranks in at 28 city and 38 highway. The 2019 Toyota Yaris (hatchback version) tops out at 30 city and 36 highway MPG. As you can see, the 2019 VW Beetle doesn’t outpace the competition when it comes to fuel efficiency, but it’s not lagging behind either.

How the 2019 VW Beetle Compares

It’s hard to believe that for the very last Beetle ever produced, Volkswagen didn’t see fit to customize the model mechanically. However, some might argue that the Beetle is just as it should be, and to change anything in the final year would make little sense. The Beetle does offer a peppy powertrain that, while suffering from a bit of turbo lag, enlivens any driving experience. Pairing a low-weight chassis with a powerful turbo engine proves to be a winning combination.

The Beetle certainly can’t compete with the interior quality of those brands much higher up in the pay scale, but Volkswagen has come a long way in offering a more sumptuous cockpit. There are a variety of interior color and fabric options. Kelley Blue Book laments that the Beetle didn’t receive the digital cockpit upgrade found on the Jetta and e-Golf, but for a model that’s headed out the door, it suffices.

The Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit are two strong competitors, both undercutting the Beetle by a few thousand dollars, depending on which trims are selected. It all comes down to which options consumers prioritize. With more space than you’d find in a Fiat 500 and a lower price point than a MINI Cooper, the Beetle is a contender we’re sad to see exiting the ring.

The Good

  • Fuel-conscious turbo engine
  • Spacious interior
  • Low-cost alternative to larger, heavier vehicles

The Not-So-Good

  • No manual transmission available
  • Higher price point than comparable models
  • Besides colors, the Final Edition Beetle mirrors standard offerings

The Last Word

As writers at Jalopnik.com put it, 2020 will be the first year “that, globally, Volkswagen will not be producing an old-school Beetle or car . . . named/designed like a Beetle.” It’s hard to think of an automotive world without the iconic and historic model. With its rear engine compartment, frunk (front trunk), dinner plate-shaped headlights, and light-hearted nature, the iconic Beetle will live on, in the hearts of many and the garages of few.

Whether or not you choose to purchase a piece of automotive history — the Final Edition SE model is cheaper than a standard SE — take a few moments the next time you see one. Ponder if Ferdinand Porsche considered the Beetle his rough draft, but most of all, give the Beetle one last pat. In the race towards green and self-driving cars, it didn’t quite make it. What a sad future it will be, to not see a hovering Herbie soar around, with Jetson-like sound effects surrounding its bubbly form. RIP Bug. For now, anyway.

Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images