My familyís obsession with the New Beetle started about two years ago when my husband and I were still dating. Over the years we have amassed a collection of New Beetles (Matchbox size) that is over fifty strong. Finally we decided to go take a look at buying a real live one for ourselves. I always thought they were kind of cute, but not until I got behind the wheel did I discover how addicting this car truly is. Once you get passed the idea that you are driving a toy, the New Beetle is the perfect traveling car.
In buying a car, Beetle or not, my family had two big concerns. The first is that we travel - a lot. And most of our traveling is done spur of the moment. We wake up one Saturday morning, get in the car, and boom! Seven hours later we end up in San Francisco. Without a good, economical car we could not indulge our spontaneous nature. It gets costly renting cars from Enterprise the way we used to.
Second, my husband is tall. Six foot eight, to be exact. We needed a car - not a van or SUV - that accommodated his height while driving. We literally sat in close to thirty cars, everything from Saturns to Lexuses, and the Beetle was by far one of the best. It has the greatest amount of headroom in a compact car.
The seats offer quite a bit of options for safety and comfort. They adjust by incremental amounts, both up and down as well as back and forward. The seats are also molded for comfort. My husband can sit comfortably and drive without being too close to the ceiling of the car and without his legs falling asleep. Of course, with him in the car it becomes a three seater, but thatís something that cannot be helped either way. The seats also pull far forward, making it easy to load everything from large boxes to small children in the back seat.
The seat belts in the forward seats adjust up and down to suit the passenger. The seat belts in the back seat lock for child safety. There is also an anchor for the car seat in the back to secure a car seat in place.
The compact size of the car is great as there is almost no where you canít park it. Itís the perfect size for driving around in a large city. The interior of the car is deceptively roomy, as the car looks tiny from the outside. The trunk is spacious with a spare tire and road hazard kit hidden underneath. The back seats fold down to offer more room.
Both the front and rear windshields are massive, nearly wrap around, offering a clear view of the road with few obstacles to look around. The standard sound system that comes with the car is amazing; one of the best I have ever seen standard in a car. Being a person who travels long distances a lot and who has rented many cars, the sound system is a very important feature.
The New Beetle gets incredible gas mileage, which is important since I drive quite a distance every day to transport my husband to and from work. I am not sure of the specific numbers, but I do know we traveled roundtrip from San Diego to Tahoe on two tanks of gas.
This car is also amazingly safe. Our Beetle has been through two accidents. The first accident, the car was driven over a cement island at 70 miles an hour. The entire underside of the car was ripped apart, but the passenger was completely unharmed. A week in the shop, and it was as good as new. The second time my husband was rear ended by a woman driving about 40 miles an hour. Her car was almost completely totaled front end wise. However, our bug managed a scuff and the tail light popped out.
Of course, even with the most wonderful cars, there are a few cons. First and far most, the Beetle is a bit expensive. I donít mean the cost off the lot, which for us, second hand, was around $16,000. Maintenance wise, this is not a cheap car for two reasons. One, when dealing with an import car, you want to be sure that if something does happen to it, you take it to someone licensed to fix VWís. Simple maintenance, such as oil changes or changing a light bulb that on other cars can be done in your own garage at home require the service of a mechanic. These things are just more difficult on the Beetle.
The second reason why the Beetle can be expensive is because it is the kind of car that is so unique, youíll want to accessorize it. Bras, special lights, spoilers, wings, guards - they all add up. Almost every Beetle on the road takes on a special personality via the owner. Even when you tell yourself youíre not the kind of person who will go crazy spiffing up your bug, inevitably it will happen.
The check engine light on the car goes on more than necessary. I know this is a bigger problem, for some reason, in cars assembled in Mexico. There are hundreds of sensors all over the car to detect every problem from a faulty transmission to the gas cap not being on correctly. Any of these reasons, serious or not, will trigger the check engine light. Either way it will cost anywhere from $75 to $135 to find out what exactly is wrong.
Interior wise, my only complaint is that the cup holders are a bit small. The rear cup holder can hold a decent sized cup or bottle, but the three up front underneath the dashboard console are only really big enough to accommodate a can of cola. Also, our car did not come standard with an arm rest, and having one installed will probably cost around $100.
The car is also low to the ground. No matter how careful you drive it, you will still end up scraping the front bottom of the car on almost every driveway you enter, and believe me, itís a horrible sound.
My husband and I love this car. It is our second baby, gets as much love, and costs just as much. Itís light weight and tremendous power offer lots of versatility, also making it an easy car to speed in. It comes in a rainbow of colors, with a myriad of options, and outside of being safe and comfortable, itís just plain fun!
Amount Paid (US$):
1999Model and Options:
GLS, Automatic, Power Everything