- The Volkswagen Beetle, created in the late 1930s as the “People’s Car” and later a huge success in postwar America, has been retired. The Final Edition model is rolling out of the VW factory in Mexico.
- I drove a $26,890 Final Edition VW Beetle and got one last chance to explore its virtues.
- The VW Beetle is still a great car at a good price. I’ll really, really miss it.
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Well, it’s over. Volkswagen has decided to discontinue the iconic Beetle, which, depending on how you count the years, has been around since 1938.
The modern iteration goes back to the late 1990s, updated in the 2000s. Now the automaker is offering a “Final Edition” of the so-called “A5” version, as it did for the preceding “New Beetle” that captured the public’s imagination 20 years ago.
“Style cars” such as the Beetle are victims of the consumer rush to somewhat cookie-cutter crossover SUVs. That’s the problem with nostalgia: because it already is old, it can get old fast even after it’s revived.
For a long time, I didn’t think much of the revived Beetle, but once I drove it, I developed a crush on the adorable two-door hatch. The rear-engined Beetle of the 1970s that I encountered a fair amount growing up had been succeeded by a modern, front-engined machine that delivered decent power and fair comfort.
Even since, whenever I think about a new car, I think Beetle.
Oh well, now I’ll have to think used. But in the meantime, I took a crack at the VW Beetle Final Edition SEL, tipping the price scales at $26,890 (and that just added a $900 destination charge to the sticker). Here’s how it went: