Is A Volkswagen Beetle A Good First Car?

Many people, both young and old around the world have fallen in love with the “V-Dub” or “Bug” as it has often been nicknamed. From its early days, the Beetle was a bare-bones car built primarily for the masses and was often revered as a working person’s car.

Since it was considered safe to drive, easy to repair, and achieved great gas mileage, the Beetle was also regarded as a great first car. If you are wondering whether the Beetle is still a good first car today, keep reading!

Is The Volkswagen Beetle A Good First Car?

The Beetle would be a good first car for a driver who is looking for a used compact automobile that gets great gas mileage.

Risks Of Having A Beetle As A First Car

Limited Features

The Beetle is an acquired taste. If a person considering a Beetle as a first car is used to a larger vehicle that has power seats and other comforts such as blind spot monitoring, and touch screen infotainment systems, the Beetle may not be the car for you.

While the Beetle has evolved over the years to become more powerful and offer more modern technology (like air-conditioning) than the original Type 1, it remains true to its roots as a basic form of transportation.

Only Available Used

The Beetle was last produced in 2019 so to acquire a Beetle today it would have to be used. As cars age, they generally begin to require more maintenance and the possibility of the car breaking down increases.

Additionally, since the Beetle is no longer in production, OEM parts may become harder to find in the future when your vehicle needs repair. Auto manufacturers typically manufacture a large supply of replacement parts that last years after the vehicle has ceased production.

As the supply of these parts dwindle, owners may find that the prices of OEM parts increase and at a certain point in time they will most likely find that OEM parts are no longer being sold.  

Safety Features

Safety features should also be considered when purchasing a car, especially when purchasing a first car as an inexperienced driver.

While the Beetle was last manufactured in 2019, it did not offer convenient safety features such as Lane Keep Assist, or Blind Spot Monitoring.

Limited Power Output

The most popular trim levels of the VW Beetle were not built for speed. The Beetle was built as a low-cost mode of transportation that is relatively simple to repair and maintain.

The main trim levels were powered by engines that produced between 74 and 148 horsepower depending on the engine chosen.

One exception to this was the Beetle RSI which is powered by Volkswagen’s VR6 engine that produced 220 horsepower.

While this was by far the most powerful modern-day Beetle available, it was also the rarest and most expensive. There were only 250 RSI Beetles manufactured and they had an MSRP of $80,000.

Small Size

The small size of the Beetle can be either a pro or a con depending on your perspective and potential use of the car. In this section, we will discuss the possible con of the vehicle’s size.

Since the Volkswagen Beetle is a small 2-door hatchback, many drivers may feel a bit claustrophobic on the inside of the car. Additionally, the small stature of the car may make some drivers, especially new drivers a bit uncomfortable when diving it on the highway next to larger vehicles or trucks.

Also, even though the Beetle has rear seats, this car isn’t ideal for adults as back seat passengers.

Benefits Of Having A Beetle As A First Car

Reasonable Repair Costs

The Beetle has below-average repair costs since it is relatively simple to repair and there are plenty of aftermarket parts readily available. According to, the average annual cost of maintaining a Beetle is $612.

DIY Friendly

The Beetle is relatively simple to work on which makes it friendly for do-it-yourselfers. Many Beetle owners who are mechanically inclined have performed engine swaps, clutch changes, and even transmission swaps for their Beetles in their home garage. 

Small Size

While the small size of the Beetle can also be considered to be a con, for some potential buyers the size of the Beetle can be an attractive quality.

Drivers who live in densely populated areas with limited street parking will find that the size of the Beetle comes in handy since it is easier to park.

The small size of the Beetle also will increase the parking spots that you can choose from since you will not have to cruise around looking for a parking spot that is large enough to accommodate a lengthier vehicle. 

Gas Mileage

Another factor that makes the Beetle a good option as a first car is its gas mileage. When new, the 2019 Beetle was rated as getting 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

This gas mileage was achieved in large part by the small size and limited power output of the Beetle’s engine.

Safety Features

While the Volkswagen Beetle may not have the most state-of-the-art safety features that we come to expect in a vehicle, this car does offer some safety features. Some of the safety features that the Beetle provides are:

  • Airbags
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Antilock Brakes
  • Front and Rear Crumple Zones
  • Automatic Post Collision Braking


The Volkswagen Beetle was manufactured for 80 years and was discontinued after the 2019 production year. Modern-day Volkswagen Beetles would make a good first car for a buyer who is looking for a used automobile that is smaller in size and gets great gas mileage.

First-time buyers who are considering purchasing a Beetle should be aware that older models of the car could have more underlying issues than their newer counterparts.

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