Watching “Herbie Fully Loaded” in a Beetle Turbo Final Edition a memorable way to say goodbye to the iconic Bug
by Glenn Oyoung
VW invited LA Car to come out to Hollywood to bid farewell to its iconic Beetle at a pop-up drive-in and I jumped at the chance to take part in history. What better way to say goodbye to the bug than watching “Herbie” in a Final Edition Beetle? VW was cool enough to extend the invitation to my young daughters so Dad’s Date Night turned into an educational opportunity for me to teach my girls about the Beetle, Herbie (the talking car thing really hooked them), and drive-ins.
After three generations and seventy years in production, the Beetle just didn’t have the numbers apparently to justify the resources needed. We have closely covered the rise of the SUV, CUV, compact crossover (or as I like to refer to it “call-it-anything-just-don’t-call-it-a-sedan”) category and sub-categories so it comes as no surprise that the demand for the funky coupe has waned. But the Beetle isn’t just some model that came and went – this is a car with history. VW’s PR team did it right and gave the Beetle the sendoff that it deserves, while also introducing us to the future of the brand.
Sitting inside the Final Edition Beetle, one cannot help but wonder why the Beetle couldn’t survive our CUV-addiction. It’s bigger inside than I remember, and that’s with two little girls, their puffy jackets, and their candy bags (thanks again, VW). Final Edition Beetles come in two trims — SE and SEL. We scored the more upscale SEL model which features diamond-stitched leather seating surface which I am a sucker for. Both trims feature three-color ambient lighting, a 6.3-inch touchscreen display, and the classic kaeferfach glovebox or “Beetle bin.”
With EPA-estimated fuel economy of 29 mpg combined and starting prices in the mid-20’s for the coupe, it’s tempting to claim a piece of history. Speaking of which, there was an assortment of historical Beetles on display, including a rare 1949 Hebmüller Type 14A Beetle Cabriolet.
Other cars were on display including Golfs and Jettas, but what really got my attention was the I.D. Buzz Cargo van. VW’s first-ever electric van was at the LA Auto Show and it is a real looker up close and personal. First shown as a concept in 2017 in Detroit, the I.D. Buzz Cargo is closer to production level and highlights the commercial viability of the van to take on the elusive “last-mile” delivery challenge that we face in a world dominated by Amazon Prime. The I.D. Buzz is slated to go into production in 2022.
It’s only fitting that VW would bid farewell to an icon while ushering in a new era of electric vehicles. Will the Beetle be back? We think so, in electric running gear. A Beetle with instant torque and endless energy? That sounds like a car Herbie would like to hang out with sometime in the very near future.
For more information on the Final Edition Beetle, visit VW.com.