The Beetle TDI Clean Diesel is a great example of how solid fuel mileage and fun-to-drive qualities aren't mutually exclusive. With a manual transmission, both the convertible and the hardtop Beetle TDI score 28 mpg city and 41 mpg highway for 32 mpg combined. Swapping in the automatic, the hardtop rates 29/39 mpg city/highway for 32 mpg combined, and the Convertible scores 28/37 for 31 mpg combined.
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.)
Those aren't quite hybrid-like figures, but they're still considerably greener than average.
Other Beetle models don't do quite as well. The Beetle R-Line's 210-horsepower output brings its EPA rating down to 23 mpg city and 29 mpg highway for 25 mpg combined. That's still respectable given the pep in the R-Line's step.
The base 2.5-liter engine scores 22/31/25 mpg city/highway/combined with the manual transmission in the Beetle hardtop, and 22/29/25 with the automatic transmission. The 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder model scores 25 mpg city, 33 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined with the six-speed automatic; with the five-speed manual, those figures drop slightly to 24/33/27 mpg.