This is a very chick car with lots of safety equipment and a defined performance. This car although small has a big attitude and road noise can barely be heard. The feul consumption is high and retail price quite low.
What was VW thinking with the body shape? The boot is tiny and the back seats only useful for carrying Snow White's associates. This is the first car where the only method of loading shopping is to open the boot and then reach over the parcel shelf to place items in the back seat! Even once the back seats are flat (their permanent state due the hopeless leg/head room) unless you are planning on carrying a large wedge shaped object there is still very little space.
Life in the front is a bit better but the dire driving position and the fact that there is no possibility of seeing any corner of the car while manoeuvring don't help. The steering wheel is very low set and does not adjust high enough and due to large gaps between the stops on the seat adjustment it is impossible to get a good driving position. Visibility in this car is bad as you are sitting in the middle of a large dome with only the top 1/3 glazed. The poor interior space is not helped by the fact that the beetle’s dash and steering wheel are covered with a substance that is marginally lest tactile than a McDonald’s carton! Even the flower vase is dysfunctional - at least if it was glass it would make a useful ashtray.
I note that some reviewers talk favourably about the ride, handling and speed of the Beetle. Compared to the best front wheel drive cars (Renaultsport Clio, Mk5 Golf GTI) this car is at best mediocre, however this is a vast improvement over the car’s performance in almost any other area.
Looks are personal taste but mine still looks superb in techno blue 5 years after buying it. Pearlescent paint looks superb still. Looks popular with the ladies...
Lot of character in an era of MPVs and MPV-looking hatches. Fast enough for most driving situations (surprises many other drivers with its pace!), fun to drive (most noticeable when you drive more-ordinary hire cars like Astra/Megane types..), comfortable motorway cruiser, and quite practical - lots of space with seats down. I carry my bike in the back regularly. Only faults in 60000 miles have been indicator failure at 50000 and coolant leak at 57000. Back seats not good if you're 5'7" tall or more. Leather seats in black looks superb and last, aging well. Still drives like day one. No squeaks either as you'd expect from a VW.. VW dealers very ordinary, and expensive. Servicing not cheap (around £3-400 each time). 30mpg (driven moderately hard) Will probably keep it for life, maybe as as second car later in life - thought I'd have changed car by now, but since it doesn't do anything wrong and has timeless looks (unlike Golfs/A3s..)why should I?
I've had my 1.6 since new and it's now over four years old and has covered over 60,000 miles. After the initial teething problems (all sorted eventually by the dealer), it settled down into an extremely reliable and fun car to own and drive. Other Beetle owners flash and wave and nobody else except MGB owners seem to do the same. It's like being in an exclusive club.
The quality of finish and equipment is very good. Mine had all sorts of options fitted, so it has more than enough creature comforts. I'm not sure the 1.6 offers as much value as other models.
Fuel economy I find disappointing. On average, over the four years, it has done 360 miles on a full tank. Servicing costs are high. A recent 60,000-mile service and cambelt change came to £500 and a failed electric window (caused by a broken nylon bush worth 10p) came to nearly £600 before I negotiated.
All in all, I'd recommend a Beetle. It's quirky, individual and fun. Don't expect to get much in the boot and don't think rear seat passengers will be grinning as much as you are, but for a second car or indeed a car for a single person like me, I can't think of much that would beat it. I'd also shop around for servicing especially if buying used.
There's a lively online owners' community, too.
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