VW Beetle 2.0 TDI

The retro Volkswagen Beetle now comes with a pokey 138bhp diesel engine - we've driven it

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Opting for a diesel Beetle over the 1.2-litre petrol version costs only £1,050 extra, but it offers a much more laid-back driving experience and better economy. It’s cheaper than an equivalent Golf, too, so if you can live with the practicality compromises, the Beetle diesel is the best version yet.

Buying a new Volkswagen Beetle is a battle between your heart and head – while the retro styling looks great, that shape comes with practicality compromises. But now a diesel has arrived, so justifying it just got a bit easier.

The 2.0 TDI Beetle returns 57.6mpg and emits 129g/km of CO2, but only comes in mid-spec Design or top-spec Sport trims. Our Design model was well equipped, with retro 17-inch alloys, air-con and a DAB radio, plus the optional high-quality 400W Fender stereo (£500).

Also fitted were front and rear parking sensors (£355) which are also a wise investment, as the Beetle’s curves take some getting used to when you’re driving.

Naturally, the Beetle’s exterior design will polarise opinion, but Volkswagen’s mission to broaden its appeal has worked. The more upright windscreen, wider track and lower roofline certainly add attitude and cut into headroom slightly, but it’s less compromised than the old car. The interior is brightened by body colour inserts, just like the up!, and there’s plenty of Golf switchgear.

On the road, the diesel suits the Beetle’s laid-back character. It’s decent to drive, thanks to its Golf MkVI underpinnings, so always feels stable, even at higher speeds – although that’s when wind noise begins to intrude.

It’s at its best when you turn up the stereo and use the car’s mid-range punch to make serene progress. A DSG is available, but the manual is easy to use, plus it’s £1,595 cheaper. What’s more, the Beetle TDI is cheaper to buy than a Golf powered by the same engine.

Most Popular

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph
Speed limit to be cut to 60mph on M1

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph

Trial on Welsh roads shows 47 per cent drop in pollution when 50mph limits were introduced; Highways England already has plans to reduce limits to tac…
10 Oct 2020
New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck
Fiat Panda

New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck

The Fiat Panda has been overhauled for 2020, with a new infotainment display part of the package alongside a new look trim structure
23 Oct 2020
New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review

Brand-new 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine makes its debut in the new Range Rover Evoque plug-in hybrid
20 Oct 2020