Volkswagen New Beetle Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.12/5 Average
1,368 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

The Volkswagen New Beetle was the cute car that started the retro-futurist design craze. It was a modernized version of the legendary VW Beetle and struck a chord with consumers who had grown tired of standard conservative car designs and had fond memories of the "Bugs" from their youth.

But that was 1998. As more than a decade passed without a major redesign, the New Beetle started to seem like a retro version of itself. With sales dropping steadily, VW decided to discontinue the New Beetle after the 2010 model year. A redesigned model, just called the Beetle, debuted a year later.

Shopping for a used New Beetle is pretty straightforward. It didn't change much, so you can shop mostly on price and mileage, though paying attention to engine availability through the years will likely be useful.

Most Recent Volkswagen New Beetle
The first-generation Volkswagen New Beetle was produced from 1998-2010. It was initially only offered as a two-door hatchback, and the convertible showed up for 2003.

Although the New Beetle was based on the Golf platform from the late 1990s, it had less interior space than today's Golf (and the '90s Golf for that matter) as well as most other compact hatchbacks. The front seats were roomy, but the same couldn't be said of the back. Trunk space was tight in the hatchback and even tighter in the convertible. The convertible came with a power-folding top as standard.

Models up to 2005 used the GL, GLS and GLX designations to reflect the various trim levels, as well as a standard 115-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual was standard on the Volkswagen New Beetle, with a four-speed automatic usually optional. A 100-hp 1.9-liter turbodiesel was also offered (the TDI trim) until the end of 2006, when it failed to meet new emissions regulations.

Until the last few years of its lengthy life, turbocharged gasoline engines were a big part of the New Beetle's trim lineup. Sold from 1999-2005, the New Beetle 1.8T was powered by a 1.8-liter turbo four-cylinder, which put out 150 hp. From 2002-'04, VW included the Turbo S trim in the coupe lineup. It was equipped with a retuned 180-hp version of the 1.8T turbo engine and a six-speed manual transmission. For 2006 and thereafter, the only gasoline-powered engine available was a 2.5-liter five-cylinder that produced 150 hp and was coupled to either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic.

As the years wore on, Volkswagen added a few features like satellite radio, but changes to the equipment level were light, as the car was pretty well-equipped with items such as air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and in later years, heated seats.

Volkswagen released several special-edition models, though, including limited-edition colors and trim packages. For 2002, VW added a Sport edition, which essentially was a 1.8T with a five-speed manual, 17-inch wheels and a leather interior.

In reviews, we found that the Volkswagen New Beetle excelled at what it was built for -- cruising and being seen in. It was a good choice for young singles or retired folks who only rarely needed a backseat, but other hatchbacks were far more practical. The original base engine was pokey and unrefined, so finding one of the turbocharged units would be a wise idea. The subsequent five-cylinder offered just as much power as the previous turbocharged engines and was more efficient, but wasn't as energetic and sapped some fun out of the Beetle. Those interested in the convertible should be aware that rearview visibility is poor with the top up or down.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 1,368.00
  • It is not your father's VW - 2000 Volkswagen New Beetle
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    I purchased a 1998 Beetle only to have BIG problems with it. By 50,000 miles I had replace 4 headlights, 6 driving lights a brake handle, 5 window switches, 5 inside door handles, 3 radios and a set of brakes and rotors. Then the trouble really started. Two radiator fans, engine fuse box, air conditioner conpresser, computer and more. So, I figured it was just the first year of production, surely they worked out the bugs! NOPE! I got a 2000 Beetle and still had the minor problems plus a new clutch at 30,000 miles.

  • very good - 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle
    By -

    I like it, it is funny looking and works well, plus its all convertible-y- ish

  • Best Fun Value All Around - 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle
    By -

    This bug is amazingly quiet with the top up and has minimal wind turbulence with the top down. Where this car departs from the rest of the herd is its amazingly smooth triptronic 6-speed automatic coupled to the quick/quiet turbo engine. The instrumentation is also one of the best, really like the blue/red lighting and the touch/feel of the controls are just the right size and everything is easily within reach. The editor knocked the car for rear- seat tightness, but who cares. . . my two wire-haired fox terriers love it! Fuel economy is fantastic and I have a heavy foot.

  • One Sweet Bug - 2002 Volkswagen New Beetle
    By -

    I was originally looking at a Jetta GLI, but when I saw that my dealership had the Turbo S, I had to test drive it. All I can say is, SOLD! The quality of this car is top notch. VW went out of their way to make this NB solid. The interior styling is superb and the exterior is agressive. The rear could have used an RSI style wing, though. Still, this car screams "class". Driving it's a blast. The acceleration is astounding. Turn off the ESP, though, and take offs are a scream. No lack of power here. This car makes passing easy. The Turbo S is the best car I've ever owned.

  • Stupid Happy - 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle
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    I finally got my dream car: the VW Beetle. Mine is a 2007. I am in love! It is very cute, and I love to drive it. No problems yet; I am keeping my fingers crossed. Would and do recommend to friends.

  • Still With Personality - 2005 Volkswagen New Beetle
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    IMy initial attraction is the clean J.Mays / Freeman styling, but excellent interior materials and ergonomics make the Beetle better than similarly priced cars. This car has many detail improvements over the similar 2002 New Beetle. Its 6-speed auto transmission is a huge improvement over the old 4-speed design and even 5-speed manual that refused to accept a quick shift. It has excellent brakes and safety aids, both passive and active. Its handling is not particularly responsive, but safe and predictable. This car is able to cruise at high speeds with less wind noise than than in the past because of the 6-speed gearing. It turns approximately 3,000 RPM at 78 MPH. The leatherette looks like real leaather and is more luxurious than cloth. Plus car is style-proof.

  • My Dream Car!!! - 2002 Volkswagen New Beetle
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    I love my bug!!! I have wanted one for years and have enjoyed every second of driving and owning it. The dealership has been great about fixing anything in a short time with no appointments. It is so fun to drive, handles great especially steering into turns. I traded in a minivan so this is a dream to drive.

  • I LOVE MY BUG!!! - 2000 Volkswagen New Beetle
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    I bought my Bug used over a year ago and I just love it. I have had NO mechiancal problems with it. It has a lot more room than I thought it would have. The car is a fun car to drive! I would buy another one in the future I'm having so much fun with this one.

  • Is it a Lemon? - 2003 Volkswagen New Beetle
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    I bought this car used with only 20,000 miles on it. My first car was the old VW, and ever since they came out with the new models I always wanted one. In the 13,000 miles I have put on it in one year, I have taken it to the shop 10 times. The manufacturers warranty has now run out (not due to mileage, but to age) and now I have to use the extended warranty I purchased from Carmax. But they don't know how to fix VW's so I must pay extra to take it to a dealer! (I was never informed of this!) I have had electrical problems with the windows, top problems where it wouldn't go up or come down at times, overheating problems (3 times!), now I am finished! I am trading in this car tomorrow!

  • Fun, Sexy and Sassy - 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle
    By -

    My 2004 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible was my dream car, and it still is. Since the day I bought it I didn't have to do anything but oil changes. Nothing is breaking, everything works just like it's designed to. The only one thing I could compalin about it's the gas mileage.

Volkswagen New Beetle Reviews By Year:
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