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In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Beetle hatchback (2011-2019) - Reliability & safety

Proven mechanical underpinnings and a five star safety rating mean the Volkswagen Beetle poses no major concerns here

Carbuyer Rating

2.8 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.1 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Reliability & safety Rating

3.0 out of 5

While the Volkswagen Beetle may look completely different to anything else in Volkswagen’s range, it’s resolutely sensible underneath. All the engines are tried and tested, while an impressive Euro NCAP safety rating adds further peace of mind.

Volkswagen Beetle reliability

Sharing parts and mechanical underpinnings between cars is relatively common, and the Beetle is essentially a Mk6 VW Golf underneath. One of the advantages this brings is the knowledge that the Golf’s thorough engineering is carried straight over to the Beetle.

While the Beetle sells in too few numbers to have featured in our Driver Power customer satisfaction surveys, looking at how the previous-generation Golf fared in our 2015 poll gives a reasonable indication of what you can expect. Those proven mechanicals helped the Mk6 Golf come 83rd out of 200 cars for build quality, though its 189th place finish for reliability is less encouraging and contributed to it placing 129th overall. In fairness, though, the Mk6 Golf had been replaced three years previously by this stage, so it’s not as dire a result as it might first appear.

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Volkswagen as a whole has had a slightly rocky time of it recently, with a 24th place finish out of 32 carmakers in our 2016 Driver Power poll being somewhat disappointing. Reliability was something of a concern for the brand, though build quality was highly praised.

Safety

Something that can be said to be unequivocally impressive is the level of crash protection offered by the Beetle, as it scored the full five stars when Euro NCAP assessed it back in 2011. A 92% adult occupant rating is a very strong result, as is a 90% child occupant score. An 86% safety assistance result is also good – even if this is an area that’s become more stringently assessed since the Beetle’s 2011 evaluation.

While the Beetle doesn’t feature some of the latest safety systems like autonomous emergency braking, mandatory kit like electronic stability control, ISOFIX child seat anchors and a tyre pressure warning system obviously feature. You also get a clutch of airbags and something called post-collision braking; this applies the brakes after an accident, and reduces the amount the Beetle can be shunted down the road by any impact.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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