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2008 Volkswagen New Beetle

Overview
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2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Review

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The 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle remains a popular choice among those seeking a less conventional mode of transportation. Touting a shape based on the original Beetle (popularly known as the "Bug"), the New Beetle's easily recognizable shape results in the most lop-sided interior dimensions of any car in its class. While the sloping hatch creates a nearly unusable rear seat, the arching dome roof provides an unbeatable 38 inches of front headroom, making the New Beetle the friend of the tall and very tall. Unfortunately, the roof design also creates some massive blind spots around the windshield pillars. Strict emission standards force the removal of the fuel-miserly TDI diesel engine, leaving the 150-horsepower 2.5-liter gasoline engine as the sole choice.

You'll Like This Car If...

The most significant aspect of the 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle is its familiar and friendly shape but, as a bonus, it is actually quite comfortable as a daily driver as well. Even taller drivers will appreciate the quantity of front-seat headroom.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need on occasion to carry four adult passengers, the New Beetle's rear seats offer very little headroom and the cargo area is tiny. The instrument panel configuration takes some getting used to as it spans the considerable distance between the windshield and the driver and front-seat passenger.

What's Significant About This Car?

The new trim level names are S and SE. Volkswagen has deleted fog lights, leather seating and rain-sensing wipers from all models, but has added a tire pressure monitoring system as standard equipment.

Driving the New Beetle

Driving Impressions Because it's based on the Golf platform, the 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle exhibits most of the same ride and handling attributes of its sister car. The 2.5-liter engine delivers strong...

acceleration and good fuel economy, a noticeable improvement over the previous 2.0-liter engine, but is not as much fun to drive as the old turbocharged models. On the road the Beetle offers an extremely smooth ride and handles well under normal driving conditions. Push it a little harder and its relatively soft suspension and 16-inch all-season tires begin to show their limitations. If you desire better handling, your VW dealer can upgrade the car to optional 17-inch alloy wheels and stiffer springs designed by VW, which will make it more responsive.
Favorite Features

Blue Instrument Lighting
Cornflower blue lighting in the instrument cluster is easy on the eyes both night and day.

Headroom
Because the driver's and passenger seat sit in the very center of the car, the arching roofline and height-adjustable seats create phenomenal headroom, suiting even the tallest occupants.

2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Details
2008 Volkswagen New Beetle photo Interior

In order to create the New Beetle's shape, the windshield and dashboard have been partially extended over the engine compartment, creating a tremendously deep dash and a large blind spot where the front pillar meets the side mirror. The New Beetle's seats are some of the most comfortable we've experienced, with excellent back, side and thigh support for both driver and passenger. The trademark domed exterior shape provides ample front-seat headroom, but somewhat less for rear-seat passengers.

Exterior

The 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle mimics what is probably the best-known automotive shape in the world, the original Beetle. Considering the price, the New Beetle is remarkably detailed and offers excellent crash-test results and projected accident-repair costs.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle includes a 150-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), electronic stabilization program, air conditioning, rear defroster, illuminated remote keyless entry, key-operated open/close feature for power windows and optional sunroof, dual heated power mirrors with built-in turn signals, front side-impact airbags, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power locks, 16-inch alloy wheels and remote hatch release.

Optional Equipment

VW has bundled its most popular items into two packages. The Cold Weather Package adds heated seats and windshield spray nozzles. Package #1 includes the Cold Weather Package plus a premium sound system, leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, 17-inch wheels and a power glass sunroof. It is standard on the SE and optional on the S. Stand-alone items include a trunk-mounted six-disc CD changer, power sunroof (S), iPod connector and SIRIUS Satellite Radio.

Under the Hood

The 2.5-liter 20-valve five-cylinder is a vast improvement over Volkswagen's previous four-cylinder engine, the old eight-valve 2.0-liter. Not only does it bring an additional 35 horsepower to the table, it also provides the kind of low-end torque needed to move the New Beetle with some authority. Though not as quiet or vibration free as similar-size engines from Honda and Toyota, the 2.5 is nevertheless a good match to the New Beetle's size and weight.

2.5-liter in-line 5
150 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (manual), 20/29 (automatic)

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Buying this car?

2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
6.9
Out of 10

Based on 1047 Ratings for the 1998 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.2/10
    Quality
    7.0/10
  • Reliability
    7.2/10
    Performance
    7.7/10
  • Comfort
    7.6/10
    Styling
    7.9/10

FAST

By on Saturday, April 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Cute, gas saver, FAST, lights in console awesome"

Cons: "dash lights that won't turn off."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I just bought this car a month ago. On the test drive I was impressed. The performance of this car with a turbo is awesome. The car is in good shape inside and out. The only thing I'm not so sure about is if I'm going to like all these idiot lights. There are so many to worry me. It is a very fun car to drive. The bug was my choice this time for gas reasons and yes, good on gas it is."

Awesome car - truly fun to zoom, zoom

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Zoom, zoom, zoom -- for real! It's SO fun."

Cons: "Low steering wheel (even w/tilt); gremlins in elec"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Electrical gremlins aside, I adore my car. I love to drive it. It makes me smile to see it sitting in a parking lot - sunny yellow with flower power hippy magnets all over it. What's not to love? Those electrical gremlins... My check engine light comes on for no reason. I've grown used to it over 14 years. I get an electronic beep - sometimes - when I remove my key from the ignition. The service manager says it's impossible for that to happen - even after he heard it himself. Whatever. I get good gas mileage - 25+ city/31+ highway - unless I put in low octane gasoline. I have the 5 speed turbo and am prone to winding it up occasionally (out of the sheer joy of driving) even if it's not the most fuel efficient. VW service is not inexpensive, and the warranty period is short. The name of a good indie mechanic is almost a requirement if you really want to ENJOY your car and not be a slave to its needs."

BEST CAR... and for sure the most fun!

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Zippy; Fun; Great on Gas; Comfortable seats"

Cons: "repairs COST unless you find a good indie mechanic"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"O.K. Let me start by confessing that YES, I do have an electrical gremlin that trips my "check engine" sensor for no reason whatsoever... I have learned to live with it, and I get it checked at EVERY service visit "just in case". In 14 years, I have had ONE necessary repair indicated. I have taken my Bug on epic road trips - thousands of miles with family (including small kid). I have driven it all around town. I consistently get 25 mpg in town, and nearly always top 30 mpg on the highway (if there's no 50 mph headwind). My last trip heading home on I-40, I got 36 mpg with a 40 mph tailwind. YAY! My yellow bug - heavily decorated with flower power magnets and stickers all over -- is the 5-speed manual with turbo and all the "toys" - power everything, air cond., heated seats, adjustable intermittent wipers, etc. Still, the turbo on the 1.8L engine is the fun part - really! This car ZOOMS. There is nothing finer than being able to blow the doors off the bullies in their pickup trucks on the mountain highways. They roar up, tailgate, and just cannot seem to accept that a VW Beetle actually can go 80+ mph uphill. When I maintain speed & so pull away and leave them lagging on every hill, they get even more belligerent about catching up and passing on the downhill -- where the cops lurk - "car"-ma??! My '74 Super Beetle would do this, too, but only after my brother and I put a Porsche flat 6 in it (following an exciting day on the turnpike with blown heads and an engine fire...). My best friend's husband has a 2000 Beetle that just turned over 250,000 miles. He's thinking about a new one, but then he says "why?" His runs just fine!"

BEST CAR... and for sure the most fun!

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Zippy; Fun; Great on Gas; Comfortable seats"

Cons: "repairs COST unless you find a good indie mechanic"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"O.K. Let me start by confessing that YES, I do have an electrical gremlin that trips my "check engine" sensor for no reason whatsoever... I have learned to live with it, and I get it checked at EVERY service visit "just in case". In 14 years, I have had ONE necessary repair indicated. I have taken my Bug on epic road trips - thousands of miles with family (including small kid). I have driven it all around town. I consistently get 25 mpg in town, and nearly always top 30 mpg on the highway (if there's no 50 mph headwind). My last trip heading home on I-40, I got 36 mpg with a 40 mph tailwind. YAY! My yellow bug - heavily decorated with flower power magnets and stickers all over -- is the 5-speed manual with turbo and all the "toys" - power everything, air cond., heated seats, adjustable intermittent wipers, etc. Still, the turbo on the 1.8L engine is the fun part - really! This car ZOOMS. There is nothing finer than being able to blow the doors off the bullies in their pickup trucks on the mountain highways. They roar up, tailgate, and just cannot seem to accept that a VW Beetle actually can go 80+ mph uphill. When I maintain speed & so pull away and leave them lagging on every hill, they get even more belligerent about catching up and passing on the downhill -- where the cops lurk - "car"-ma??! My '74 Super Beetle would do this, too, but only after my brother and I put a Porsche flat 6 in it (following an exciting day on the turnpike with blown heads and an engine fire...). My best friend's husband has a 2000 Beetle that just turned over 250,000 miles. He's thinking about a new one, but then he says "why?" His runs just fine!"

BEST CAR... and for sure the most fun!

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Zippy; Fun; Great on Gas; Comfortable seats"

Cons: "repairs COST unless you find a good indie mechanic"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"O.K. Let me start by confessing that YES, I do have an electrical gremlin that trips my "check engine" sensor for no reason whatsoever... I have learned to live with it, and I get it checked at EVERY service visit "just in case". In 14 years, I have had ONE necessary repair indicated. I have taken my Bug on epic road trips - thousands of miles with family (including small kid). I have driven it all around town. I consistently get 25 mpg in town, and nearly always top 30 mpg on the highway (if there's no 50 mph headwind). My last trip heading home on I-40, I got 36 mpg with a 40 mph tailwind. YAY! My yellow bug - heavily decorated with flower power magnets and stickers all over -- is the 5-speed manual with turbo and all the "toys" - power everything, air cond., heated seats, adjustable intermittent wipers, etc. Still, the turbo on the 1.8L engine is the fun part - really! This car ZOOMS. There is nothing finer than being able to blow the doors off the bullies in their pickup trucks on the mountain highways. They roar up, tailgate, and just cannot seem to accept that a VW Beetle actually can go 80+ mph uphill. When I maintain speed & so pull away and leave them lagging on every hill, they get even more belligerent about catching up and passing on the downhill -- where the cops lurk - "car"-ma??! My '74 Super Beetle would do this, too, but only after my brother and I put a Porsche flat 6 in it (following an exciting day on the turnpike with blown heads and an engine fire...). My best friend's husband has a 2000 Beetle that just turned over 250,000 miles. He's thinking about a new one, but then he says "why?" His runs just fine!"

BEST CAR... and for sure the most fun!

By on Friday, April 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Zippy; Fun; Great on Gas; Comfortable seats"

Cons: "repairs COST unless you find a good indie mechanic"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"O.K. Let me start by confessing that YES, I do have an electrical gremlin that trips my "check engine" sensor for no reason whatsoever... I have learned to live with it, and I get it checked at EVERY service visit "just in case". In 14 years, I have had ONE necessary repair indicated. I have taken my Bug on epic road trips - thousands of miles with family (including small kid). I have driven it all around town. I consistently get 25 mpg in town, and nearly always top 30 mpg on the highway (if there's no 50 mph headwind). My last trip heading home on I-40, I got 36 mpg with a 40 mph tailwind. YAY! My yellow bug - heavily decorated with flower power magnets and stickers all over -- is the 5-speed manual with turbo and all the "toys" - power everything, air cond., heated seats, adjustable intermittent wipers, etc. Still, the turbo on the 1.8L engine is the fun part - really! This car ZOOMS. There is nothing finer than being able to blow the doors off the bullies in their pickup trucks on the mountain highways. They roar up, tailgate, and just cannot seem to accept that a VW Beetle actually can go 80+ mph uphill. When I maintain speed & so pull away and leave them lagging on every hill, they get even more belligerent about catching up and passing on the downhill -- where the cops lurk - "car"-ma??! My '74 Super Beetle would do this, too, but only after my brother and I put a Porsche flat 6 in it (following an exciting day on the turnpike with blown heads and an engine fire...). My best friend's husband has a 2000 Beetle that just turned over 250,000 miles. He's thinking about a new one, but then he says "why?" His runs just fine!"

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?