Off Into The Sunset: The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition Cabrio

Front 3/4 view of 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition Cabrio
The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition Cabrio.

You probably saw the articles and videos earlier this year---“Volkswagen Beetle ends production after 70 years!”  I hate to be a buzzkill, but I hate hype and inaccuracy more, so indulge me a moment, please. 

The Volkswagen Beetle that started production 70 years ago ended production 40 years ago. There was a whole big farewell for that one, too---in 1979.  And the triple-white Final Edition convertibles are still on the street in a whole lot of American towns.

Once that one went away, there wasn’t a Beetle for sale in America for 19 years---until the arrival of the 1998 New Beetle, which had zero in common with the original apart from a rounded body.  The engine was in the front, not the back, it was water-cooled, not air-cooled---it was a rounded Beetle-inspired body on the chassis of a Jetta.  But we’re not mourning the retirement of that car after a 21-year run, either.  Its last year was 2011.

No, the model that we’re saying goodbye to is the current Volkswagen Beetle---which has been in production since 2012.  But “Volkswagen Beetle ends production after 7 years” isn’t much of a headline, is it?

Rear 3/4 view of 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition Cabrio

And that’s too bad, because the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle is actually the best of the bunch---and never really got its due.  Just how good it is was driven home to me in August with a week in the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 2.0T Final Edition SEL.  Yes, that’s a mouthful, but basically, it’s telling you that the top goes down (there’s also a hardtop Final Edition), that it has a turbocharged engine (174 horsepower), that it’s the SEL, VW’s top trim level and that it’s the last.

VW has a history of special Final Editions, and they’re usually quite good.  In the case of the 2019 Beetle Final Edition, that’s a couple of colors you can only get on the Final Edition Beetle,  Safari Uni and Stonewashed Blue (if you want the standard Platinum Gray Metallic, Pure White or Deep Black Pearl, they’re available, too).  You can get a Final Edition in SE or SEL trim, with the SEL (the one we drove) running on 18-inch white-painted wheels with a center chrome disc and diamond-patterned stitched leather seats (available in either black or black and tan).  There’s also a tan-colored dash insert, gloss black upper door panels and center console, a tan dash insert and stainless-steel trim on the pedals.

It’s very sharp.  Even a friend of mine who owns a BMW was impressed by the overall look and the quality of the materials involved. 

I drove it from Folsom (suburban Sacramento) to San Carlos (south of San Francisco), San Carlos to Monterey, back to San Carlos and home to Folsom over a period of about 40 hours and it was comfortable, fun to drive, got great gas mileage (EPA estimate 26 city/33 highway) and drew looks on the street in Monterey during car week.  It really is that sharp-looking in Stonewashed Blue Metallic with a beige top.

Interior view of 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition

The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 2.0T Final Edition SEL is also an exceptionally well-equipped machine, with (and this is just some of the standard equipment) automatic Bi-Xenon headlights, halogen fog lights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, heated, foldable, power-adjusted outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an automatic-dimming rearview mirror and a Fender Premium audio system.
Best of all is the price:  $29,995. Add $895 destination charge and you’re at $30,890.

Where else can you get a new convertible---much less a loaded, stylish, limited-edition one---for 30 grand?  The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 2.0T Final Edition SEL feels like a great deal.