The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most recognizable cars on the road. Even kids know one when they see one thanks to that beach-ball shape and the Punch Buggy game that lets you get away with smacking your brother in the arm. It’s a fun car to see on the highway and it’s a fun car to drive. Give the turbocharged cutie a convertible top and you’ve got a little slice of happy sitting in your driveway.
The 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1.8T SE comes equipped with a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The Beetle is a tiny little thing and that horsepower makes this car move. Hit the gas and the power is there, even accelerating for passing on the highway.
Handling is good with responsive steering that’s solid and never sloppy along with good braking. The Beetle is a fun car to toss through the corners or let loose on the open road. If the weather turns and you have to leave the top up, the ride is quiet. It’s better than average for a soft top convertible making it a more pleasant ride during the cold weather months.
Inside, the front seats are spacious for such a small car. There is plenty of room for even the tallest passenger and the seats go back far enough to keep their knees from being squished. The back seat, well, this is a two-door convertible so it’s pretty much what you expect.
The front seats do move forward to give decent access to the rear seats, but it’s a tight fit. Kids can climb back there no problem and will be comfy even in car seats, but it’s not roomy. This is not your family road trip car. It’s your family summer fun car.
It comes in a rainbow of colors from Tornado Red to Habanero Orange Metallic to Sky Blue Metallic. Our tester was a beautiful Bottle Green Metallic. The look of this car is half the fun, so the unique color palette makes sense. That color wraps around to the inside trims making the interior equally bright.
The convertible soft top opens and closes at the press of the button. It takes 9.5 seconds to stow, 11 seconds to raise, and can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph. It even automatically lowers the windows when you drop the top and closes them up when the top is raised.
Standard infotainment on the SE features a 6.3-inch color touchscreen with AM/FM/HD/CD and 8 speakers. A limited time SiriusXM subscription is included and VW Car-Net adds plenty of connectivity features including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s also Car-Net Security and Service to help access your car remotely, obtain roadside assistance, and get automatic crash notification which calls a remote operator for help after a collision.
The 2017 Beetle Convertible 1.8T SE starts at $26,750 making it an affordable choice for those who want once of the most recognizable cars on the road. It’s fun to look at and fun to drive. The smile on your face will be matched by the smiles of the people you pass. It’s hard not to be happy behind the wheel of a Beetle.