2012 Volkswagen Beetle

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is an affordable small car, emerging from a total redesign with a more muscular exterior and a better fuel economy rating than the 2010 edition and a Turbo model.

This year, the beetle has done away with the word “New” from its name, this being the very first time in more than 10 years. The 2012 Beetle is also more oriented on functionality than being cute. The redesigned Beetle is offered in a coupe body style, and is now longer, lower and wider; giving the car more classic proportions, more legroom, bigger cargo space and a more natural driving position.


General Info
Vehicle Type: Hatchback Base Price: $19,795.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gallons (55L) MPG: 22 city / 31 hwy
Length: 168.4 in. (427.7 cm) Wheel Base: 99.9 in. (253.7 cm)
Height: 58.5 in. (148.5 cm) Width: 71.2 in. (180.8 cm)
Curb Weight: 2939 lbs (1333 kg) Ground Clearance: 5.7 in. (14.4 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 15.4 cu ft Maximum Seating: 4 people
Engine: 2.5L Inline-5 DOHC Compression Ratio: 9.5: 1
Horsepower: 170 HP Max RPM: 5700 RPM
Torque: 177 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm Transmission: 5-Speed Manual
0-60 mph: 8.0 seconds Maximum Speed: NA
Available Trims & Engine
Option:2.0L Turbo PZEV MSRP: $23,395; MPG: 22 city / 30 hwy
Option:TDI® 2.0L Diesel MSRP: $23,295; MPG: 28 city / 41 hwy
Option:2.5L w/ Fender Audio, Sunroof & Nav MSRP: $24,095; MPG: 22 city / 31 hwy
Option:2.0L Turbo w/ Fender Audio, Sunroof & Nav MSRP: $28,995; MPG: 21 city / 30 hwy
Option:TDI® 2.0L Diesel w/ Fender Audio, Sunroof & Nav MSRP: $26,195; MPG: 28 city / 41 hwy

Engine & Performance

The base and 2.5L trims use a 2.5L 5-cylinder engine that produces 170 hp and 177 lbs-ft of torque. This engine is driven by a standard 5-speed manual gearbox; although an optional 6-speed automatic transmission is available. With the automatic gearbox, you get 22/29 mpg city/highway; and can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 9 seconds. On the other hand, with the manual transmission, you get 22/31 mpg city/highway.

The 2012 Beetle Turbo uses a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine producing 200 hp and 207 lbs-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard, also with the optional 6-speed automated manual (DSG). A DSG-equipped Turbo can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds. The Turbo gets 22/30 mpg city/highway in both transmission options.


The beetle is a 2-door, 4-passenger hatchback, offered in 2 trim levels: 2.5L and Turbo. The base trim comes with 17-inch alloy wheels and heated mirrors, while the 2.5L adds heated windshield washer nozzles to its list of standard features.

Optional features include: 18-inch wheels, keyless entry and a sunroof. Turbo trims add extra features like 18-inch wheels, a rear spoiler and fog lights. Here, optional features include 19-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlamps and a sunroof.


After a complete redesign of the 2012 Beetle, the cabin is now bigger and offers more cargo and passenger room. This means the seats now offer enough leg and headroom even for tall people. The Beetle has also done away with the traditional flower power vase on the dashboard. This has been replaced with features that include an optional Fender sound system, Beetle bin glove box and a sunroof.

Standard features on base model include: 8-speaker sound system, iPod interface, Bluetooth, and an auxiliary port. The Beetle comes with a cargo space of 15.4 cubic ft, which can be increased to 29.9 cubic ft after folding the rear seats.

Safety & Reliability

All Beetles come with standard safety features that comprise of: antilock disc brakes, 4-wheel ABS, electronic stability control, daytime running lights, traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, and front passenger and driver airbags.

New Beetle’s gets a new car warranty for 3 years or 36,000 miles, as well as an engine warranty for 5 years or 60,000 miles. A free scheduled maintenance warranty is also included during the first 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first.


  • Attractive standard features
  • Unique styling
  • Capable handling and comfortable ride
  • Fun-to drive turbo engine


  • Expensive for its class
  • Poor fuel economy

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle comes with a bit of a traditional Beetle look that will definitely appeal to most Beetle enthusiasts. After being redesigned, the Beetle adds a modern look that is likely to attract new customers looking for affordable small cars.

Competition will come from the FIAT 500 (MSRP $15,500; 31 city / 40 hwy), and the Mini Cooper (MSRP $19,500; 29 city / 37 hwy), but none of these cars matches the Beetle’s 170 horsepower, with the exception of the Scion tC (MSRP $18,725; 23 city / 31 hwy). The 2012 Beetle also comes with bigger cargo space than its rivals.

Overall Rating
72 out of 100

What others say:

“Hatchback versatility; interior sophistication; supple ride; good fuel economy…Competitors are quicker and handle better; lack of interior storage.” Edmunds

“A classic 2+2, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle has lots of head and elbow room, but rear leg and trunk room are still a bit skimpy.” Car Connection

“Even the Base and 2.5L models exhibit only moderate body lean in fast turns along with good steering feel and response. Turbos move handling up a notch for a sportier driving feel.” Consumer Guide

“The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is all-new with a design that looks back to the original Beetle but moves to the future with a bolder, more dynamic design.” MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“Our driving experience with the 2012 Beetle was pleasure with a bit of puzzlement. Pleasure, because it does everything well: The steering is direct and responsive, and the overall behavior is completely stable, predictable and even refined. Puzzlement, because we had hoped for this newest iteration of VW’s Beetle to have the quick reflexes and enjoyable dynamics of one of our all-time favorites, the Volkswagen GTI.” KBB