Volkswagen has high fuel-economy hopes for the Beetle. The 2012 model offers a choice of two engines with good highway fuel economy, and a 40-mpg version is in the wings to take on the likes of the Ford Focus and Hyundai Veloster--though it's unclear if it will arrive in time for the 2012 model year.
The base 2012 Beetle comes standard with Volkswagen's five-cylinder engine. To be offered with a manual transmission, it's also coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission, and the combination earns an estimated 22/29 mpg. The EPA ratings aren't yet official: we'll update this page and the Beetle's green score when they're released.
With the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four, fuel economy actually rises. Volkswagen expects the Beetle Turbo will be rated at 22/30 mpg when equipped with the dual-clutch automatic transmission. A manual transmission will be available as well, but estimated gas mileage hasn't been announced.
Finally, there's a turbodiesel Beetle on tap for sometime in 2012. Volkswagen thinks it may be the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever, and pegs its fuel economy at 29/40 mpg when equipped with the dual-clutch automatic. The official EPA ratings haven't been released, though.
In 2015, Volkswagen admitted diesel engines in this model illegally cheated federal tests and polluted beyond allowable limits. As part of unprecedented settlements with federal and state governments, Volkswagen agreed to buyback from owners diesel-equipped models of this vehicle. To determine eligibility for all affected Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi models, Volkswagen set up VWDieselInfo.com for owners. (Owners of affected vehicles can enter their VIN numbers to see if their cars are eligible for buyback.)