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2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition: Review

AutoNXT logo AutoNXT 7/18/2019 Perry Stern

a car parked in a parking lot: © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience Endearing and Enduring

It seems as if the Volkswagen Beetle has been around forever — likely because it has been one of the longest running nameplates in automotive history. We say “has been” because the last of the third-generation Beetle rolled off the assembly line in early July, ending more than 60 years of Beetles in America. Since this was the final year for the much-loved Bug, Volkswagen created a Final Edition, and we spent a few days with this special version to say our good-byes. Although it was nearly a tearful farewell, take heart. True icons never leave us. So as we take a look at this final version of the people’s car, let’s also take a fond look back at Beetles over the last 60 years.

Research the VW Beetle on MSN Autos | Find a VW Beetle near you

a car parked in a parking lot: © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience Final Edition

Our last Beetle drive was in a 2019 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0T Final Edition SE, painted in Safari Uni with an attractive beige and black interior. The Final Edition comes well equipped with standard features, so this particular vehicle has no factory options — total MSRP is $23,940.

a car parked in front of a building: © Volkswagen of America© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Volkswagen of America Beige or Blue

The Final Edition is available in Safari Uni (our test vehicle) or Stonewashed Blue — matching the beige and blue colors available on the 2003 Última Edición — the last version of what most folks consider the classic Beetle.

a car parked on the side of a road: © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience Classic Design

There’s no mistaking the Beetle for anything else on the road. Although it became a bit sleeker during its last redesign, the Bug retains its rounded fenders and recognizable roofline that curves from the top of the windshield to the base of the rear bumper.

a car parked in a parking lot: © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience Happy Look

The front view of the car is the most classic: with its circular headlights and happy-looking fascia, a playful wink from a headlight would not be all that surprising. Granted, Safari Uni is not the most exciting color, although it does present the car nicely in sunlight.

a close up of a car: © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience Clean Interior

Two-tone treatment inside gives the Beetle an upscale, modern feel with dual colors on the seats as well on the door and dash trim. The dashboard matches the exterior color and material, and dual glove boxes offer plenty of room for storage. Integrated into the dash center is VW’s latest touchscreen display, with hard buttons on either side of the unit for easy, intuitive navigation. The HVAC system has a separate set of controls for quick access.

a person sitting on the seat of a car: © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience Useful Rear Seat

The Beetle Final Edition has easy access to the rear seat since the front seats slide fully forward within the wide door opening. And since there are only two seats in the rear area, the space feels comfortable for a 2-door, with reasonable legroom and headroom.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience Large Rear Hatch

Thanks to its wide opening, the Beetle’s rear hatch has a decent amount of cargo space. Rear seats can be easily folded, adding to the car’s overall utility.

a car parked in a parking lot: © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience Performance

For the final year of production, all Beetles are equipped with VW’s 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, teamed with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Although we would prefer a manual, the automatic works fine. This final Beetle offers good performance, and never feels lacking for power. Respectable fuel economy is an added bonus — the Beetle is rated at 26 mpg city / 33 mpg hwy / 29 mpg combined, which is on par with what we saw during our drive.

a car parked on the side of a road: © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience On the Road

In a twist of fate, the Beetle’s recent demise is a lesson in bad timing, since this is one of the most refined versions we’ve driven. The ride feels solid and comfortable, and quick acceleration makes the Bug feel almost sporty. Although we didn’t get much chance to push the Beetle on any winding backroads, the steering feels precise, brake feel is decent and overall the Bug makes a great everyday car.

a group of people riding on the back of a car: © Volkswagen of America© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Volkswagen of America Is It Really the End?

“The loss of the Beetle after three generations, over nearly seven decades, will evoke a host of emotions from the Beetle’s many devoted fans,” said President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America Hendrich J. Woebcken. “As we move to being a full-line, family-focused automaker in the U.S. and ramp up our electrification strategy with the MEB platform, there are no immediate plans to replace it. But as we have seen with the I.D. BUZZ — which is the modern and practical interpretation of the legendary Bus — I would also say, ‘Never say never.’”

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC © Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience Rating: 8.5

While the Beetle’s underpinnings and driving dynamics are not much different than the VW Golf, the styling really makes this car stand out. With iconic looks that blend with a comfortable and usable interior and fun-to-drive qualities, the Beetle certainly makes a statement while still working as a daily driver. With the Beetle officially at its end, perhaps this is the time to pick up a Final Edition — there won’t be another chance to own a VW Bug . . . for now.

a vintage photo of an old car parked in a parking lot: © Volkswagen of America

© Volkswagen of America
© Provided by Automotive Content Experience, LLC
A Retrospective

In a tribute to the people’s car, enjoy some Volkswagen Beetle highlights from the last 60 years.

Research the VW Beetle on MSN Autos | Find a VW Beetle near you

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