This week's tester is a 2019 Volkswagen Beetle SE "Final Edition," which spells the end of the line for the iconic model.
A prediction: In about five years VW will resurrect the Beetle and equip it with an electric motor. In the process, it will become lightning fast and massively popular.
I would also like to suggest a name for this new electric Beetle, if it hasn't already been claimed: the "Lightning Bug." And, while we making suggestions, why not make the Lightning Bug right here in Chattanooga?
This is the electric car aging baby boomers will buy for their Gen Z grand-kids in 2025, and both generations will be thrilled with the transaction.
So, back to the now-available "Final Edition" (wink, wink) Beetle SE. Maybe it's the end-of-an-era thing, but I came away from a week in the 2019 Beetle thinking, "Wow, this is still a great little car."
Perhaps it was the simple buttons and gauges, or the sweet 2.0-liter turbo charged engine, or the throwback Safari- colored exterior paint. More likely, it's a combination of those virtues with a little nostalgia stirred in. When I was a teenager, my friend Joe had a 1960s-era air-cooled Beetle. Compared to the modern, water-cooled Beetle it was a tin can, but lovable nonetheless. They didn't make a movie called "The Love Bug" for nothing. Compared to all the other little cars on the road, which all look like bars of soap, at least the Beetle still has a distinctive personality.
Village Volkswagen of Chattanooga had several 2019 Beetles in digital inventory this week including three Final Edition convertibles.
WHAT IS IT?
The 2019 Beetle 2.0T is the end of the line for Volkswagen's iconic Beetle model — at least until VW reinvents it again. The Final Edition comes in two throwback colors, Safari and Stonewashed Blue. It's available in coupe and convertible models, with convertibles costing several thousand dollars more.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
Our Beetle SE Final Edition tester has an MSRP of $23,940. Base S models start at $20,895.
WHAT WE LIKED
The iconic egg-shaped styling, brisk 174-horsepower engine, cool retro body color, respectable fuel economy (33 mpg highway, 26 mpg city), and reasonable price point. (Really, there aren't many genuinely fun cars like the Beetle in this price range.)
ON OTHER HAND
The Final Edition Beetle is low on electronic safety-tech features, and has only one USB port. When/if it ever comes back, expect it to be bristling with high-tech wizardry. Come on, VW, you simply must build the Lightning Bug. Please!
Maybe it's my memory of Joe's bug straining to reach the speed limit, but the 2019 Beetle feels like a rocket ship by comparison. I was pleased and surprised by the car's ability to shoot up a mountain on my commute home. It's extremely agile and the steering is light.
There are no guarantees this won't be your last chance to buy a new VW Beetle, at least one with a gas engine. Buy one now and you might be ready to trade when/if the Lightning Bug arrives. Which I think we can all agree — it must.
Contact Mark Kennedy at email@example.com or 423-757-6645. Follow him on Twitter @TFPCOLUMNIST. Subscribe to his Facebook updates at www.facebook.com/mkennedycolumnist.