What is the Best Year VW Beetle to Buy?
The Volkswagen Beetle was first produced in 1945, but the compact ‘Bug’ surged in popularity decades later during the ‘60s and ‘70s. According to Volkswagen, the Bug “…quickly became a symbol of both counterculture and unity.”
The Beetle was produced in different special editions and the vehicle’s body design also changed during its time in the VW lineup. Although Volkswagen discontinued the Beetle in 2019, the model remains iconic and buyers still seek them out on the used/pre-owned market. What is the best year to buy a VW Beetle to buy?
The best year VW might depend on whether the buyer wants the older classic Beetle or the newer sleeker Beetle body design. Some of the coolest vintage special edition Beetle models include:
- The Mach 1 (1964)
- The Big Beetle (1974)
- Jeans Bug (1974-1976)
- Bicentennial Convertible (1976)
- Snug Bug (1978)
About Special Edition Beetles
The site SEBeetles is devoted to all things related to Special Edition Beetles. This site provides a comprehensive list of every special edition ‘Bug’ produced by Volkswagen. However, not all these models were released in the states and finding them could be a treasure hunt.
For Beetle enthusiasts, though, the hunt could be worthwhile. Since VW produced an extensive number of special edition models throughout the model’s production run, choosing the best of the list can be challenging. Here are some of the standout models from the ‘60s and ‘70s.
The movie “Herbie” featured a VW Beetle as the main character. While there is a section devoted to ‘Herbie’ on the SEBeetles site, this ‘Bug’ was not produced for the public. Unfortunately, buyers cannot purchase or find a ‘Love Bug,’ although they could paint or wrap a vintage Beetle to create a Herbie-inspired design.
The Mach 1
The Mach 1 was produced in Belgium. What makes this model unique is that VW Belgium created it without permission from VW Germany. According to SEBeetles, the Mach 1 was inspired by the car driven by the Swedish race team who won the “Liege-Sofia-Liège” rally; the Belgium-produced Beetle featured larger windows and a more powerful engine. As VW Germany was displeased with this rogue creation, production of the Mach 1 was halted and fewer than 30 were produced.
The Big Beetle (1974)
The Big Beetle featured a bigger engine and more options, too.
Jeans Bug (1974 to 1976)
The Jeans Beetle (or Bug) was originally released from around 1974 to 1976. However, the model was again introduced as a special edition option for the New Beetle in 1995 and 2000. The model featured branded paint details that marked it as a Jeans model. In addition, owners could opt for denim seat covers. Per Jeans Beetles, Volkswagen also offered a kit to create a Jeans upgrade to a standard Beetle model.
Bicentennial Convertible (1976)
The Bicentennial celebration in 1976 marked the 200th anniversary of the United States’ independence from England. To commemorate the Bicentennial, VW released a special edition Bicentennial Convertible. However, per SEBeetles, Volkswagen only created 1,000 models—one for each U.S. VW dealership. These Beetles were painted ivory and featured a white interior.
The Snug Bug was produced in South Africa in 1978. It featured a tartan (or plaid) interior and was offered in four paint hues: Arctic White, Sunburst Yellow, Silver Cloud Metallic and Sapphire Blue. The tartan upholstery matched or complemented the paint hue. For example, the Sunburst Yellow Snug Bug featured yellow tartan, and the Sapphire Blue featured blue tartan upholstery.
More Modern Beetles
The vintage special edition Beetles can lead buyers on a treasure hunt; in some cases, their rarity could boost their price point. However, more modern VW Beetle models could be more affordable and easier to procure.
What are the best model years for modern Beetles? Here are a few of the safest and most dependable Beetles.
These Models Could be the Safest
Volkswagen Beetles are small cars, but size doesn’t mean the models scrimp on safety. Several Beetle models earned a Top Safety Pick rating/award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:
- 2013 Volkswagen Beetle (2013 Top Safety Pick)
- 2014 Volkswagen Beetle (2013 Top Safety Pick)
About the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle
The VW Beetle is now a decade old. Buyers that are interested in this model could find many affordable options. The 2013 Beetle also is incredibly fuel efficient; it can get an estimated 29 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway. Buyers who are using Carzing to find their 2013 Beetle options will find models ranging in price from less than $5,000 (for higher-mileage models) to $29,000 (for a lower-mileage model).
About the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle
The 2014 Beetle also offers great fuel efficiency; it also can get an estimated 29 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway. Buyers who are using Carzing to find 2014 Beetle models will find prices from $7,995 (for a higher-mileage model) to $29,995 (for a lower-mileage model).
These Modern Beetles Could be the Most Dependable
J.D. Power publishes the winners of its annual Dependability Awards to honor the most dependable/reliable vehicles in each class/segment. Models are scored in three areas: Quality & Reliability, Driving Experience and Resale Value. Scores are provided by current owners when their cars are three years old; owners consider any issues with the vehicle over the past 12 months.
Several VW Beetle models earned the Dependability Award in the Compact Car category. The most dependable, per the Dependability Awards, is this Beetle:
- 2018 Volkswagen Beetle (Most Dependable Compact Car in 2021)
The 2018 VW Beetle is the only Beetle model of the newer Beetles produced from 2000 to the end of the model’s production (in 2019) honored for dependability. The 2018 Beetle received a total dependability score of 80 and was ranked against 16 other models. Owners gave the 2018 Beetle an 89 for Quality & Reliability, and a 79 for Driving Experience. However, the Beetle only received a score of 66 for Resale Value.
Modern Special Edition Vehicles
Beetle enthusiasts also could find numerous Special Edition later model VW Bugs. Some of the most unique Special Edition models from the 2000s include:
- New Beetle Limited Edition (2000)
- New Beetle Herbie (2005)
- Barbie Beetle (2007)
- New Beetle Hot Wheels (2008)
- New Beetle Mario Kart (2009)
In the early-aughts (aka 2000s), VW in various parts of the world produced many different Special Edition Beetles. Some of these models were extremely limited in production, making them not only rare but likely very collectible, too.
The New Beetle Limited Edition was offered in 2000. This Beetle was offered in two paint colors: Reflex Yellow and Blue Vapor. In addition, buyers could only procure a model by placing an order online. According to SEBeetles, only 1000 models were produced in each hue.
The New Beetle ‘Herbie’ model was produced in Austria in 2005 to commemorate the movie ‘Herbie: Fully Loaded’. The Beetle design was, of course, inspired by Herbie. Per SEBeetles, only 53 models were produced.
In 2007, the Barbie Beetle was produced by Volkswagen of Mexico to celebrate Barbie’s 50th Birthday. The New Beetle featured bright Barbie pink paint, the iconic Barbie logo, pink and white or pink and black upholstered seats and pink trim throughout the interior, too. According to SEBeetles, 13 Barbie Beetle models were produced. In addition, Barbie even had her own pink Beetle.
Hot Wheels enthusiasts might have remembered a 2008 New Beetle that commemorated 40 years for the classic toy cars and 10 years for the New Beetle. The Hot Wheels Beetle also was produced by Volkswagen of Mexico. The model was offered in three paint trims: Laser Blue Metallic, Salsa Red and Black. These models included Hot Wheels decals and flame details, too. Seats also were embossed with the Hot Wheels logo.
Finally, in 2009, Volkswagen released a special Beetle that only one lucky individual could own. The Mario Kart Beetle was presented to the winner of a Mario Kart Wii contest sponsored by the UK-based store GAME. The best Mario Kart player received this unique Beetle that was modeled after Mario’s car in the game.
Find the Best Beetle Models for the Budget
The VW Beetle was in production for decades before it was reintroduced to the VW lineup and then discontinued. Those who love the design of the compact and iconic Bug can opt for a vintage Beetle that nods to the counterculture or the New Beetle that offers a modern design.
Special edition Beetles were produced throughout the decades, but some of these unique Beetles could be difficult to find and perhaps quite collectible, too. Those who are ready to hunt for rarer VW Beetles might seek out the pink Barbie Beetle or they might be more interested in the Bicentennial Convertible that commemorated America’s 200 years of independence from England.
Used and pre-owned standard VW Beetles could be easy to find, although prices for models could vary depending on their age and mileage. In addition, older models also could be more expensive depending on their collectability. Whether buyers are looking for a New Beetle or the ‘60s / ‘70s Bug, the VW Beetle is a timeless and classic vehicle that nods to the past even when it was designed in the new millennium.