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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.

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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2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
6.9
Out of 10

Based on 1111 Ratings for the 1998 - 2010 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.3/10
    Quality
    7.0/10
  • Reliability
    7.2/10
    Performance
    7.7/10
  • Comfort
    7.6/10
    Styling
    7.9/10

This car has been the best Bug ever!!

By on Monday, June 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "It's a standard"

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

"I have owned this car since 2003, it has been nothing but good minimal very minimal brake downs maybe once every 3 years if that. I bought it with 16k on it and now am looking for a newer one that is an automatic, I am tired of shifting after 11 years or I would keep it because it is still in very good shape and mechanical shape."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Good for a starter

By on Monday, June 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 124,800

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Fun to drive- good gas saver"

Cons: "malfunctions at older age and higher miles"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Bought this car and have loved it some problems but that's expected with the age,cup holder design is annoying but it's better than none,definitely a good used car for teenagers and young adults that don't have kid's,males should steer clear of the newer ones and especially the convertibles unless they like paying a fortune for insurance."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

I will never buy a volkswagon again.

By on Sunday, June 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 288,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Expensive to fix"

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

"This car was a great first car! Until I put a little bit of miles on it. Granted every car has its wear and tear but once something falls apart.. everything falls apart. My gas tank flap wont open now due to an electrical problem which means the trunk, charger jack, and windows do not function properly either. The electrician told me I would be better off buying a new car rather than replacing it because its value isnt worth the repairs. This care is expensive in every aspect."

good gas milage, fun to drive, snappy little car,

By on Thursday, May 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "fun to drlive"

Cons: "expenslive to work on"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"lots of leg room, somewhat hard to get into, especially if you are like me and over weight. gas mileage is good"

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

My new beetle is fun to drive

By on Saturday, May 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "fun to drive, looks real cute top up or down."

Cons: "It's a gas guzzler!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"It's fun to drive but it does cost me--$$$ Cuz it's a guzzler! Everyone makes comments to me about its economy. Little do they realize that it ain't the old beetle bug of yesteryear. Drive it in a fun way, and you'll be a frequent flyer at the gas pump too!"

4 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Do not buy!

By on Monday, April 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 235,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Cup holders, smells like crayons, unreliable"

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

"I have had this car for almost 2 years now and it has to be the most unreliable car I have ever driven. I can name very few things that we have not had to replace on it in the short amount of time that I have owned it. I hate my car and I am incredibly ready for a new one. As a college student, I need something that isn't going to break on my way home and cause and accident but I can not count on this car for that."

15 people out of 28 found this review helpful

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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

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