2020 Chevrolet Camaro vs. 2019 Volkswagen Beetle

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Camaro (except LS) offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The Beetle doesn't offer a collision warning system.

Both the Camaro and the Beetle have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Chevrolet Camaro Coupe is safer than the Beetle:

Camaro

Beetle

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

POOR

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

91

293

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

1 cm

2 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

21 cm

23 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.9/.9 kN

2.19/1.63 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Warranty

The Camaro comes with free roadside assistance for 5 years 60,000 miles. Chevrolet will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Beetle.

There are almost 5 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Camaro’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Camaro has a standard 700-amp battery. The Beetle’s 380-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the Camaro is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Camaro’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Beetle’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

Engine

The Camaro’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 101 more horsepower (275 vs. 174) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 184) than the Beetle’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Camaro’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 161 more horsepower (335 vs. 174) and 100 lbs.-ft. more torque (284 vs. 184) than the Beetle’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Camaro LT1/SS’ standard 6.2 V8 produces 281 more horsepower (455 vs. 174) and 271 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 184) than the Beetle’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Camaro ZL1’s standard 6.2 supercharged V8 produces 476 more horsepower (650 vs. 174) and 466 lbs.-ft. more torque (650 vs. 184) than the Beetle’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the Chevrolet Camaro V6 is faster than the Volkswagen Beetle (automatics tested):

Camaro

Beetle

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

7.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

12.5 sec

22.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.8 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

104 MPH

86 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Camaro V6/V8 Auto’s fuel efficiency. The Beetle doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Camaro has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Beetle (19 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Camaro has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Beetle doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The Camaro offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Beetle doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

A 10-speed automatic is available on the Chevrolet Camaro, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Beetle.

The Camaro (except 4-cylinder/V6)’s optional launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Beetle doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Camaro’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Beetle:

Camaro LS/LT

Camaro ZL1

Beetle

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

15.35 inches

11.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.4 inches

14.4 inches

10 inches

The Camaro SS’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Beetle are solid, not vented.

The Camaro stops much shorter than the Beetle:

Camaro

Beetle

70 to 0 MPH

140 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Camaro has larger standard tires than the Beetle (245/50R18 vs. 215/55R17). The Camaro ZL1 1LE Coupe’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Beetle (F:305/30R19 & R:325/30R19 vs. 235/45R18).

The Camaro’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Beetle S’ standard 60 series tires. The Camaro SS 1LE/ZL1’s tires have a lower 30 series profile than the Beetle’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Camaro has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Beetle S. The Camaro’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the Beetle.

The Camaro has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Beetle doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the Camaro can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Beetle doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Camaro offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Beetle’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Camaro’s wheelbase is 10.6 inches longer than on the Beetle (110.7 inches vs. 100.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Camaro is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Beetle.

The Camaro ZL1 1LE Coupe handles at 1.18 G’s, while the Beetle Coupe pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Camaro SS Convertible handles at .96 G’s, while the Beetle Convertible pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Camaro Coupe has 7.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Beetle Coupe (93 vs. 85.1). The Camaro Convertible has 3.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Beetle Convertible (85 vs. 81.4).

The Camaro Coupe has 2.6 inches more front legroom and 1.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Beetle Coupe.

The Camaro Convertible has 2.6 inches more front legroom and 7.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Beetle Convertible.

Servicing Ease

The Camaro uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Beetle uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the Camaro is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Beetle. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

The Camaro Auto has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Beetle doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

When two different drivers share the Camaro (except LS/LT1), the optional memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for both. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Beetle doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Camaro (except LS/LT1)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Beetle doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Camaro’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Beetle has neither an oil pressure gauge nor a temperature gauge.

The Camaro offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Beetle doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Camaro’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Beetle has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The Camaro has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Beetle only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Camaro has standard extendable sun visors. The Beetle doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the Camaro with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Beetle’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Camaro offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Beetle offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Camaro (except LS/LT1) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Beetle doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Camaro’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Beetle doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Camaro’s standard steering wheel mounted cruise control is close at hand. The Beetle’s standard cruise control is on an over-crowded turn signal stalk.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Beetle doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

The Camaro will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Camaro will retain 45.92% to 53.69% of its original price after five years, while the Beetle only retains 40.49% to 41.25%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Camaro is less expensive to operate than the Beetle because typical repairs cost much less on the Camaro than the Beetle, including $37 less for a water pump, $182 less for a starter, $54 less for front struts, $166 less for a timing belt/chain and $399 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Camaro second among midsize sporty cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Beetle isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Camaro was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 3 of the last 4 years. The Beetle has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

Motor Trend selected the Camaro as their 2016 Car of the Year. The Beetle was Import Car of the Year in 1999.

The Camaro was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2013. The Beetle hasn’t been picked since 2000.

The Chevrolet Camaro outsold the Volkswagen Beetle by almost four to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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