Used Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback 1999 - 2012 review

Category: Family car

Section: Our recommendations

1999 - 2012 review
Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback (99 - 12)
  • Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback (99 - 12)
  • Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback (99 - 12)
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Our recommendations

Which used Volkswagen Beetle hatchback should I buy?

Originally, the Beetle came with two petrol engines - a 2.0-litre unit with 115bhp and a 1.6 with 102bhp - and a diesel with 90bhp. A 1.8 turbo with 150bhp, a 2.3 V5 with 170bhp and a 1.4 developing just 75bhp joined later. There's also a rapid 3.2-litre V6 RS.

In the real world, the 1.6 is the best all-round choice - running costs won't cripple you, but although it drives well enough, it's not very quick, and better for posing in than thrill-seeking. With that in mind, if you want an automatic gearbox, you have to opt for the 2.0-litre engine.

When you're shopping around, you may come across some left-hand-drive examples, which made it into the UK before 1999, but there's no reason to buy one unless it's dirt-cheap.

Right-hand drive models were officially launched in 2000, and they came with a good level of safety equipment, although the entry model didn't have alloy wheels or air-con. However, if your budget will stretch to it, look for a car from after 2006, when the model was face-lifted and fitted with more goodies.