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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 1071 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

great car

By on Thursday, August 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "fun to drive, good MPG, adorable, good quality"

Cons: "expensive repair costs."

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

"I absolutely love my convertible 2003 bug, it is like my baby it has been a great car to learn to drive in as well as make it through my college career. However when it breaks down or has an issue I can only really take it to VW dealerships most other places do not want to touch a volkswagon because of it 1 being foreign and 2 they are apparently a more difficult car to work on so repairs tend to be higher priced than for a normal car. Other than paying for repairs I would absolutely buy this car again and recommend it to anyone."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Great looking and fun car

By on Tuesday, August 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 214,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great price vary safe"

Cons: "would like an mp3 input in the car"

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

"I have a 2006 VW beetle and it has been the best car I have ever owned. If I would have t get anther car I would only buy other beetle. This car looks great. My beetle is red with a tan top. I drive this car every day and there has been nothing wrong with the car. this is the car to buy if you want a safe fun car you should go and buy a beetle"

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Love this car so much bought another like it!

By on Friday, July 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun car"

Cons: "Too much plastic gas mileage not great"

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

"good handling,good acceleration, visibility great in traffic,has power to accelerate quickly (light?)even w/out turbo. Feels open,roomy for small car. Only getting another due to wear and tear of plastic parts that don't last forever becoming difficult and costly to replace. Engine has been great!Gas mileage not great, but you love these or you don't"

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Favorite car ever owned.

By on Saturday, July 19, 2014

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

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "REALLY spacious for both people and cargo, classic"

Cons: "honestly can't think of one."

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

"I have loved my New Beetle since the first day this model was created in 1998. I purchased a diesel, a major added plus in terms of economy, reliability and durability. After compensating for some early design flaws, I enjoyed every minute behind the wheel. Nothing major has ever gone wrong. I am very attached."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

VW Beetle, Dependable car.

By on Thursday, June 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "It is a great car to drive!"

Cons: "The cup holders are not in the best place."

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

"I had my car for 14-years and through all kinds of weather on the east coast; the car has been very dependable. I always have it serviced for time of season and use only high-test gas as it is a Turbo."

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

best vehicle ever my age 70

By on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "glove box jamed"

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

"2000 turbo in pretty good condition and only 66000 miles on it good gas mileage 0 to 60 in 5 minutes new tires and new spare tire. 5 speed manuel in glove box"

3 people out of 5 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

Buying this car?