I bought a five year old Beetle, and have had nothing but problems. Apparently its normal for these cars to use oil, but the warning light to indicate that oil is low doesnt come on until its too late. I had to have my whole engine replaced as it was so badly damaged by this. VW did not want to know about it, despite the car being just 3 months over the 5 year warranty! The car has also had a squeaking noise under the bonnet and VW have tried to remedy this 3 times, by replacing various(expensive) belts under the bonnet but its still not fixed. Also the Anti-lock braking is very dodgy - comes on randomly, breaking one side of the car and pulling it about - v unsafe. Overall - I would recommend that people stay well away from this car!!
This is one of the most charismatic cars I have ever owned. Yes, the rear accommodation is limited but not everyone buys a car to transport four people everyday.
The driver and front seat passenger have more than enough room in an environment which has real quality.
This car feels so solid and so well built. The handling on French country roads (I am a Brit who lives in France) is very secure with a good feel to the steering. The car is quiet, powerful, comfortable and responsive and most importantly distinctive.
This is the only car I have ever owned which has the same quality feel as the mid-range Mercedes which I used to drive in the UK (thanks to my employers!). Most importantly, under the skin it is a Golf in party clothes, which means easy servicing, relatively low servicing costs after you leave the VW network and wide availability of spare parts. And yes, we do have a sunflower in the vase on the dashboard!!
Would I buy another Beetle - yes, and I hope it will be the cabriolet.
We have a 52 plate car that we have had from new. The car has covered 30k miles, mainly short runs with the odd motorway trip. The car has been 100% reliable, build quality good (typical VW, German), dealer service excellent at typical quality car prices. It is a quiet car round town, but at motorway speeds the 1.6 feels like it needs another gear, acceleration from standing is only ok, but once the car is rolling its not too bad. The economy does suffer at higher speeds. Rear seat accomodation is adequate, but more comfortable for kids and the boot space is tight but better than the Mini (which we considered).I did have an Audi TT for a while, and pottering around town they feel very similar, the beetle feeling a lot more spacious (especially headroom) - but visibility is suprisingly as poor. I had a Golf TDI 02 which was better all round car (space, comfort, performance) but as a second car for my wife to run around in, its fine - she loves it! She will probably keep it to be handed down to my daughter - she's not passed her test yet but has got her eye on it!
I bought new, having previously owned a VW Lupo for six years as well as owning Ford XR, RS & Cosworth, Land Rover 90, MGB, so I have a broad band of experiences over 40 years.
The Beetle came with alloys and rear sensors, it is perfectly Aerodynamic and instantly recognised by all. The build quality is second to none for a people's car - I drove 500 miles in first two weeks finding it quiet (diesel) and very stable with a wonderful quality feel to all the fittings, the sensors discounting any extremities vision problems.
The comfort and reach for the controls is superb, and for security and safety, it has a very good NCAP rating. Fuel consumpion has been 55-60mpg and there's plenty of power for overtaking.
It'll take two adults and some medium size baggage, but a standard split rear seat would help. Longlife service makes ownership costs easier and reselling a TDi Beetle should be a formallity as they hold value and are desirable.
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