Best Model Years for the VW Beetle

The VW Beetle has been a popular target for collectors and used car buyers over its 81-year production history.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Throughout its 81-year tenure, the
Beetle established itself as one of the most prominent vehicles in automobile history. Today, the Beetle is the target of collectors and used car buyers—depending on its model year, of course.
Seeing a VW Beetle may give you traumatic flashbacks to playing ‘slug bug’ with your friends and siblings. Punches in the arm aside, the Beetle was ranked the fourth most influential car of the 20th century. This reputation stands strong today for collectors and car buyers alike.
car insurance
experts at
are here to analyze some famous VW Beetle models across the three generations. Early models have become targets for car collectors, but modern models serve as an attractive used car choice due to their incredible reliability. Let’s dive in!
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Volkswagen Beetle Type 1 (1938 - 2003)

The Volkswagen Type 1, later to be renamed the Beetle, began production in 1938. By 1972, the model had sold over 15,000,000 vehicles—surpassing the production numbers of the Model T. Its overwhelming success makes it one of the most influential cars of the 20th century, whether you like its style or not!
Let’s open the history books and look at some first-generation models that changed the course of history.


Of course, this success story didn’t happen overnight—most don’t. The vehicle didn’t necessarily start on the right foot. The vehicle’s origins were linked to Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler himself. Hitler not only approved the prototype, but he laid the cornerstone for the Volkswagen factory in 1938. So, how did the VW Beetle shake this reputation?
You can thank the “Think Small” ad campaign that kicked off in 1959 for initiating the American chapter of the VW Beetle’s success story. This rebrand convinced the consumer that a small car could have a big personality–causing an explosion in sales throughout the 1960s.
As a result, many collectors find value in the early 1960’s models that contributed to the vehicle’s initial takeover of the automobile industry.


The 1967 model is critically acclaimed as the most collectible Beetle of all time. Of course, Beetle enthusiasts will debate this, but the logic is sound.
The 1967 model was the last model year with some iconic features including rounded bumpers, a full-metal dashboard, and a 12-volt electric system—not to mention the rare sunroof! Significant design changes came after 1968.
High production brings down the collectible value slightly, but a 1967 model in good condition serves as a nostalgic piece of history that is attractive to collectors.
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Volkswagen New Beetle (1997 - 2011)

Now, these are the models that should give you flashbacks to the “slug bug” game you played with your friends and siblings. Hopefully, the memories aren’t too painful.
All jokes aside, the Volkswagon New Beetle was an incredibly reliable vehicle. You can find some of these second-generation models still running today with upwards of 500,000 miles on them. Of course, this longevity is rare, but
here’s an anecdote
from beetle owner Randy Melvin to back up the claim.
Let’s discuss some model years that have the potential to live up to this hype.


The 2005 model year is the pinnacle of reliability. With low maintenance costs and minimal mechanical problems, you can keep this car running for thousands of miles. 
2005 was also the first year that the Beetle perfected a balance of safety features for a vehicle of its size. As a result, it received “Best Pick” status for frontal-offset crash testing from the IIHS.
Reliability, safety, and style—what more could you ask for? You can find one on the used car marketplace for roughly $1,500 to $3,000.


The 2010 model served as the “final edition” of the New Beetle. As a result, it was the last model to wear the original retro style. The handling and performance met all the expectations that VW Beetle enthusiasts came to expect over the years. 
Being the newest-old model is an advantage in itself. Used models in this unique age group can offer the perfect balance of retro style and (potentially) lower mileage. 
You can find one on the used car marketplace for roughly $3,000 to $5,000.

Bonus: avoid model years 2000, 2004, and 2008

Even though the VW Beetle is notoriously reliable, a couple of model years fell short. Owners of the model years 2000, 2004, and 2008 regularly report a broad range of mechanical issues.
Take this with a grain of salt, though. The vehicle we referenced earlier that recorded over 500,000 miles was a 2000 model. Sometimes, reliability all comes down to
how well you maintain
your vehicle!
MORE: 7 things to look for when buying a used car
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Volkswagen Beetle A5 (2011 - 2019)

The Volkswagen Beetle A5 was the third and final generation of this historical line of vehicles. The revitalized design leaned into the hatchback movement while maintaining the classic style of Type 1. Notable changes included an extended front end, more rear-seat space, and sporty rims.
Considering the A5 was produced in the last decade, there are more opportunities to find a used model with lower mileage counts on the odometer. Here are some models with an excellent reputation to look into.


The first model of the A5 impressed drivers right out of the gate. The new style coupled with incredible reliability made it an appealing vehicle to purchase—not to mention the upgraded, efficient turbo engine!
As a used car, the 2012 model is a unique one to purchase. Opposite the 2010 New Beetle mentioned earlier, the 2012 A5 Beetle is the oldest-new model available, making the modern features of the A5 accessible at the lowest price.
You can find one on the used car marketplace for roughly $11,000 to $20,000.


The 2017 model embodied the goals of the third-generation Beetle. It perfectly married the hatchback structure with the classic VW style. It also offered a variety of performance options, including the 2.0T R-Line (210 hp, 207 lb-ft).
Also, Volkswagon Beetle A5s are known to depreciate upwards of 40% in the first three years on the road. Therefore, this initial steep decline of value can present a unique buying opportunity for a used model. You could get an excellent price for a relatively new car!
Expect to find one on the used car marketplace for roughly $20,000 to $25,000.
Key Takeaway Because of their reliability, low maintenance costs, and affordable price, the second and third-generation Beetles can be great used cars.

Affordable car insurance for your VW Beetle

The insurance you need for your VW Beetle depends on a key factor: are you a collector or an everyday driver? If you own one of the models with historical significance, you’ll want to look into
classic car insurance
as part of your policy. If you drive your Beetle around town daily, you’ll want to own a
full-coverage insurance
Whatever your needs are, the experts at
are here to help! Jerry is the easiest and most effective way to find a customized car insurance policy for you.
After providing you with a comprehensive cross-analysis of the best policies across providers, Jerry will handle the phone calls, paperwork, and renewals so you don’t have to. All that service for your VW Beetle comes free of charge.
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The 1967 model is the most popular among collectors, but the 2017 model is most popular among used-car buyers.
Yes! The Beetle is the technical name, but nobody will correct you for calling it the Bug. The names are interchangeable in conversation.
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