Test Drive Reviews Volkswagen 

2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Test Drive Review

Like the White Rhino and Giant Panda, convertibles were once pushed to the brink of extinction, but these fun, sun-loving cars have made a triumphant comeback over the last 30 years. If you’re looking for an affordable, family-friendly drop top, the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is a solid choice.

Although the Volkswagen Beetle dates back to 1938, this global icon has only gone through three major redesigns in its lifetime. The original Beetle lasted for 65 years, while the modern New Beetle ran for 13 years, which makes the current car a relative baby at just 6 years old. To keep the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible fresh, VW has added some minor styling changes and a handful of special-edition models, but my recent seat time in the Beetle Convertible SE trim level showed that this car still has plenty to offer.


2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Exterior
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In its six years on the market, the styling of the current Beetle lineup has definitely stood the test of time and provided a less cutesy look than the New Beetle, and the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible gets a fresh new look with restyled front and rear bumpers. Being a convertible, Volkswagen designed the Beetle Convertible to look good whether the top is up or down. With the top up, the Beetle Convertible retains a similar profile to the hardtop Beetle, and this particular example looks even better with Bottle Green Metallic paint color and the contrasting beige top.

Dropping the top takes just 9.5 seconds, and it can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph – no more pulling over to put the top up for sudden rain showers. Better yet, it tucks away tighter behind the rear seats for improved rearward visibility; there’s also a soft boot that installs quickly and easily and adds a cleaner appearance when cruising around with the top down. Personally, I like the classic dog-dish wheels that the 2017 Beetle offers, but this 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible has a great stance with the SE’s 17-inch V-spoke alloy wheels.


2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Interior
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While the exterior of the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible has a retro look, the interior is ultra modern and quite spacious. The two-tone exterior coloring carries over into the cabin with the dark green metallic hue applied to the upper trim panels, the instrument panel and the steering wheel. Being the middle SE trim level, this car comes standard with keyless entry with push-button start, V-Tex leatherette seats, heated front seats and the upgraded touchscreen infotainment system with VW Car-Net App-Connect smartphone integration (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity).

Convertibles aren’t often known for their interior space, but the Beetle Convertible does provide decent passenger space; if everyone gets along nice, four adult passengers would have no problem fitting comfortably. Cargo space is limited to 7.1 cubic feet, but if more space is needed, the rear seats can be folded down to take advantage of a narrow pass-through for longer items. One of this car’s coolest storage tricks is the signature “Beetle bin” consisting of twin glove boxes on the passenger side of the car. although sadly only the lower compartment is lockable.


2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Powertrain
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Even though the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is available in a variety of trim levels and special editions, there is only one powertrain configuration: a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This engine produces 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, and helps the Beetle Convertible achieve EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway**.

Since the Beetle is essentially a stylized version of the VW Golf, the ride quality is what we’ve come to expect from VW’s volume-selling model. The steering and suspension setups are somewhat sporty, and provide a good feel for the road. This car demands to be driven with the top down, but if you must drive with the top up, the top provides great insulation from road noise resulting in a surprisingly quiet interior even at high speeds.


2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Safety
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With the removal of the roof, the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible gets unique structural upgrades for improved crash safety not to mention the pop-up roll bars integrated into the car just behind the rear seats. The Beetle Convertible also benefits from Automatic Post-Collision Braking and Intelligent Crash Response System. Although the Beetle Convertible has not received safety ratings, the Beetle coupe received five star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Overall
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With the market for affordable, family-friendly convertibles in decline, the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible has become the go-to car for people looking to enjoy the weather without breaking the bank. The 2017 Beetle Convertible is priced starting at $24,725*, which is about $6,000 less than the Ford Mustang Convertible, $8,000 less than Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, $9,000 less than the Buick Cascada and just about $1,000 more than Jeep Wrangler. This Beetle Convertible SE added plenty of extra content and still had a reasonable as-tested price of $27,570.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Volkswagen dealership and test drive the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible today!

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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