• VW estimates fuel economy at 32 mpg city, 41 mpg highway
  • Beetle TDI offered in three trim levels and with choice of manual or automatic transmission
  • Prices start at $23,295

Volkswagen has announced equipment and pricing for an efficient diesel version of the company's latest take on the iconic Beetle. Introduced last year as a 2012 model, the Beetle is offered with a choice of two gasoline-powered engines, the standard 2.5-liter or an optional 2.0-liter turbo engine. Now, for 2013, VW is adding the option of a fuel-efficient TDI engine. Starting at $23,295, the 2013 Beetle TDI is a bit more affordable than the 2012 gasoline-powered Beetle turbo.

The 2.0-liter TDI engine, also available in the Golf, Jetta and Passat, is often praised for its efficiency. VW says the manual-transmission 2013 Beetle TDI will achieve 32 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, although the vehicle has not yet been rated by the EPA. By comparison, the most efficient gasoline-powered Beetle, equipped with the base 2.5-liter and a manual transmission, is EPA-rated at 22/31 mpg highway.

The TDI engine produces less power than either available gasoline engine, but its prodigious 236-lb-ft of torque bests them both. Expect the TDI to provide ample acceleration in the Beetle TDI, with none of the sluggishness characteristic of diesels from decades past.

Three trim levels will be available. The base Beetle TDI is priced starting at $23,295. It includes 17-inch aluminum wheels, keyless entry, push-button start, leatherette seating, Bluetooth, cruise control, eight-speaker audio and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls.

The midrange Beetle TDI with Sunroof adds-you guessed it-a tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof. It also upgrades the radio to a touchscreen unit. With a starting price of $24,895, the premium over the base model is $1,600.

At the top, VW offers the Beetle TDI with Sunroof, Sound and Navigation starting at $26,195. In addition to a navigation system, the top trim level also includes a premium audio system by Fender. Each of these three trim levels is available with either a standard six-speed manual transmission or Volkswagen's sophisticated DSG dual-clutch six-speed automatic. The two-pedal setup raises the price to $27,295.

Diesels have long enjoyed strong popularity in Europe, but American drivers are increasingly warming to their strengths, too. Our driving habits, which include longer distances and more highway driving, are well suited to these clean-burning and efficient engines. And although diesel vehicles and diesel fuel are both typically pricier than gasoline equivalents, fuel sippers like the Beetle TDI can pay off in the long run while providing a satisfying driving experience along the way.

What it means to you: The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI is significantly more efficient than its gasoline-powered counterparts, and pricing falls in the middle of the pack.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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