2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition essentials: I’ll be back

Our Opinion: We love VW’s Golf around here, and since it’s based on the sixth generation of that car, this latest Beetle can’t be a bad driver, right? Correct: It’s not an objectively bad car.For starters, the interior looks good, especially with the SEL trim. Its offerings include standard stitched leather seats and a few more chrome bits. Driving Golf-ish isn’t a bad way to go through life, and that’s what the Beetle does. Last year, VW goosed the turbo-four’s displacement from 1.8 to 2.0 liters and its 174 hp feels about right. The car is definitely not overpowered, but the 184 lb-ft feels like plenty for scooting the Beetle around drama-free. The engine and gearbox work well together, and sliding the gear selector into manual mode makes the powertrain feel a bit more sporty (sadly there is no manual transmission available), as does keeping the tach north of 3,500 rpm. The brakes are fine, unremarkable.It’s pothole season in Detroit, but the Beetle handles the lousy pavement well, with the suspension and rock-solid chassis shrugging off most of it while keeping body roll in check. In the case of imminent disaster, the Beetle has oodles of driver-assistance goodies including standard blind-spot monitors and rear-traffic alert. Steering is OK in the Volkswagen way, not super sharp but not lazy either. Sound does penetrate the cabin both from the wind and road.Beetle sales have been declining for quite a while, so it’s probably fitting this is the Final Edition. I’m betting it isn’t, though. I don’t think VW will be able to resist the temptation to put a Beetle-esque body on its scalable EV platform. Book it.