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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 1076 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

Great car still amazed at 50 mpg after 250000 mi.

By on Saturday, September 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 250,000

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
9/10

Pros: "50 mpg car still looks new"

Cons: "Could get 60 mpg?"

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

"Aside from 2 or 3 small issues from when car was new that dealer could not take care of, it's been trouble free for 11 years."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

the best and most enjoyable car!

By on Sunday, September 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "blast to drive, everyone smiles when they see it."

Cons: "cup holder only holds soda cans"

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

"with the turbo engine it rocks! and being bright yellow it always seems to bring smiles to anyone who sees it. it has held up awesomely with only a few small problems over the last 13 years. the cup holder is great for soda cans only, the rear hatch is sticky to open sometimes. gas mileage has been very good 25-32mpg. we change the oil every 5k miles with good synthetic and use the dealer when we have issues. the new beetle looks good and if we ever wear this one out we will probably get another one."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Meets Purpose of Driver Car

By on Monday, September 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 68,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Compact, easy to park, Very Quick Car"

Cons: "Gas Milage"

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

"Not one problem with this car, met up to expectations of a small car except for the poor gas milage of 24mpg overall a very comfy car. and dependable very reliable my lowest rating was an 8 I don't understand why anyone on here would even give this car a 6? these cars are very good cars and are driving machines Frontwheel drive makes you feel like part of the road and part of the car."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Looks like new, sits & drives like a sports car

By on Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 59,514

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
10/10

Pros: "Answered above how proud I am of this car."

Cons: "Converibles rattle because of the structure"

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

"I looked for a volks. for six months in the paper. When my car appeared at an RV in town, I immediately went to see it. This 2009 baby blue convertible was adorable, and like new. We got a KBB price, and came home thrilled. I had wanted one forever. It was a perfect plan: I would drive it for 3 years then let my granddaughter have it for 2 years, then give it to my younger granddaughter. One problem: #1 grand girl didn't like it; even said she didn't want me picking her up in it. When I had my contacts replaced with multi-focal glasses, I could not back out the driveway. Visibility was an issue. My husband hated to go in it because it is all black inside and he can't see anything. That is the way with all convertibles-decreased visibility. I truly hate to let this car go, but we bought a Prius yesterday, and I am thrilled, so is my husband, and so is my granddaughter. Last night I called my stylist's wife to see if she wanted to buy my car, which she had loved. Today, my beautician said he would buy it for his wife, who wanted it so much, but he had a new business and was not able to buy anything else."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

fantastic mileage for TDI!!

By on Sunday, August 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 174,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "great mileage for tdi, fun to drive"

Cons: "no good cup holders, air vents not well positioned"

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

"I just drove over 1000 kms and all that was on one tank. It's a much smoother drive compared to the 03 golf tdi. The only thing is the way the car feels on the road, you feel like your driving a wider vehicle than it really is so you will probably keep looking on the sideview mirrors to ensure you in the lane still. It's taking time to get used to that. if u get into an accident most of the time the insurance company will consider it totalled. so drive carefully... I luv the wide front and side windows. You enjoy the drive way more as you see way more!!! very comfortable drive. I would recommend it highly."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

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

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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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