By KBB.com Editors
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
By Nuctech on Friday, November 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Tiptronic is fun, good seats"
Cons: "unreliable, expensive to maintain, loud interior,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This could be the cutest car ever made, but that is one of the few redeeming values. The electrical system burned up while driving on the highway. It has never had a service at VW for less than $176 dollars. It is nearly impossible to work on at home, and I am fairly handy. The bearings went bad at 95k miles. We have replaced almost every light in the car and you can't buy aftermarket lights because the car operates on a 12v system (very european)."
10 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Ruby on Sunday, November 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Most fun car I have ever had!"
Cons: "The interior picks up road noise."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"As far as personal reaction to the VW Beetle and to this particular vehicle, I love this little car. It is a fun city car to drive, easy to maneuver in traffic, the automatic transmission doesn't wear you out in stop & go traffic, the reduced pick up isn't an issue in town, the color red and the sun roof are lots of fun! For real car buffs, this isn't the car for you. There is road noise, road bumps, not enough engine power, not enough vehicle weight for you, the car probably won't last as long as a BMW or a Lexus (but you aren't paying for one either), it's difficult to get in and out of the back seat, to carry much luggage or groceries. Beetle drivers tend to tootle around town so don't get behind us, we sing loud and stop for flowers to put in our vase!"
4 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Rob on Friday, October 31, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Looks Great"
Cons: "Stays in the shop more than on the road. Beware!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"Bought new. Transmission problems, 4 alternators, coolant leaks, rear windows stopped working, timing belt, pistons, valves, etc... Never, ever, ever buy Volkswagen!!!"
12 people out of 22 found this review helpful
By Thoughts on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is a tiger in a box. I've had it for over six years and it has 43,000 miles. I use it for a multitude of jobs including carrying tools, lumber and furniture. The back hatchback lifts up and the front drivers seat goes forward and I place eight foot pieces of lumber etc. in the car. People are shocked by the headroom and carrying space. It handles the road very well. In fact I don't like the new models because they are not as versatile as this 08. The ONLY thing I don't like is that when "old man winter" comes, and the snow plow, causes the ridge in the road; the snow hits the bottom of the car. My original beetle in 65, was higher off the road, and I never had a problem. With few repairs, I can't speak to the person, who had many repairs. I only know that owners should get an authorized VW repair person or one that specializes in foreign cars to work on the VW. I found that sometimes people used to working on American cars, will keep replacing VW parts, before they find the correct solution. THIS IS A GREAT CAR."
6 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Grayson's Mom on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Everything but cupholders"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I love my car! I'm 5'0" tall and the size of this car is perfect. It's 14 yrs old and has only required minimal mechanical repairs. It's neither fancy nor luxurious, and it doesn't perform like a Mercedes might do. But I don't need anything more than what my Beetle gives me--reliability, comfort, great gas mileage and an easy and pleasant drive. And did I mention reliability? I'll keep my Beetle till she can't go anymore, and then I'll get another one. I like the style of my 2000 but don't like the newer ones. I hope they change it back. As a child of the 1960's, that's the style I love. Hey-why mess with a successful classic? The only negative is the position and size of the cupholders. But I can live with that."
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By VICKY H on Monday, October 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,690overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "CUTE NICE CAR FOR YOUNGER PERSON"
Cons: "DONT CARE FOR THE CONVERTABLE TOP"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"THIS IS A VERY NICE CLEAN CARE HAVE HAD FOR 2-YRS THOUGHT I WOULD LIKE A CONVERTIBLE TOP THIS IS JUST NOT FOR ME AT MY AGE THIS WOULD BE A NICE GOOD RUNNING CAR FOR A YOUNGER ADULT"
6 people out of 11 found this review helpful