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2008 Volkswagen New Beetle

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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 New for 2008

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 1130 Ratings for the 1998 - 2010 models.

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

Great Little Car

By on Friday, June 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 116,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Well built, easy to care for, and runs great."

Cons: "Wish the gas mileage was a little better. 25 mpg"

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

"Volkswagen knows how to build sturdy little cars. This is my third Beetle. Two other ones were the old original Beetle. This one is the first generation New Beetle and I like it better than the newer version."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Mechanics great! Interior quality Thumbs down

By on Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great to drive"

Cons: "Interior dash, doors panels etc - horrible"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"Bought this car new in October of 2001. Only 67K miles as of Jun 2016. It's fun to drive and has great pickup. In terms of getting us where we need to go it has always been reliable. Nothing wrong with the engine, transmission ever. Fabulous sound system. The BIG problem -- the interior is falling apart. The dash, console, interior door panels -- plastic etc started to get sticky in 2010/11 and then it just started to fall apart. Eg. One day I opened the passenger door and the glove compartment fell to the floor. Hubby threw it away. The console lifts away whenever I pull out the cell phone plug. I just shove it back into place. The only way I can close the doors once inside is to grab the mesh pocket at the bottom of the doors because the door panel is cracking in many places including the handles. Crazy! But it's super comfy to sit in. Even my 6'5 hubby fits easily and has driven the car for hours with no problem. We've considered having the interior replaced since it runs like a champ, but we'll probably just let it go for whatever a dealer will give us. I hate to give it such poor overall ratings since it runs great, but my goodness how can a company in the 21st century mess up plastic?? My 1982 Toyota Celica dash and interior fit and finish looked better when I sold it 10 years later -- than this 2001 Beetle does today."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Fun to drive, TDi gets over 40 mpg combined

By on Friday, May 6, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 210,000

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "cute, great MPG, TDi"

Cons: "Elec. wiring is a real headache"

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

"I've heard this car was over $30000 new, that would hurt the value rating. The 4.9 liter TDi's have a problem with buildup inside the intake manifold. The fix is nearly $2000. Wiring problems Love to drive this car everyday."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Best Small Ride for the Tall Ones, it's True Love!

By on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "size, interior/headroom, comfy seats, good on gas"

Cons: "feel on rough road, quirky electronics"

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

2008 VW New Beetle Coupe 2-Door Auto S

"I first drove a New Beetle in 2004 or thereabouts. It was Sunflower Yellow. While I knew I'd never own a yellow car (too conspicuous) I was floored by the solid feeling, all the interior space -- especially the head room, given I'm 6' tall -- and the comfortable "adult" feeling seats. I lived in the city then and only rented cars a handful of times per year, but I always requested that lemony Beetle, for as long as the rental company had it in service. Having been car free for over two decades, I viewed cars as utilitarian (not luxury) tools. The New Beetle fit that bill, with the bonus of a kicky exterior, and the solid feel of a much bigger vehicle. I knew I'd found the car I'd buy if I ever needed to buy one. ~|~ Fast forward a decade plus: I move just far enough into the 'burbs to need a small vehicle. Time for my New Beetle! Only they haven't made them for five years, and I'm not interested in the current squashed remodel (which no longer looks like a Beetle). Imagine my glee when I happened upon a basic, affordable 2008 NB Coupe S with relatively low mileage at a dealer right around the corner -- in dark metallic gray, with leather interior and Monsoon sound system. All the right stuff, nothing else needed, thanks! ~|~ What a DREAM this little vehicle is. Such a pleasure to drive, hugs the road like a big boy, my music sounds great in it, my head doesn't come anywhere near the roof, and it's good on gas even in the city. I've even embraced the flower vase, which I'd previously made fun of. I knocked a point off in a few categories because it tends to drive like a sports car on rough roads -- i.e. you feel the road -- and it exhibits the same signs every VW NB does as it ages (other owners I know agree): odd little electronic quirks. After driving the rental a few times I became familiar with things like over-sensitive tire pressure alerts, and minor fob, lock or trunk quirks. While these don't bother me, they might bother some. I also know men who would never own one. (I'm female. Purportedly, ditching the vase and squashing the top were just some of VW's tactics to attract male buyers.) For me, VW's New Beetle was/is the perfect Point-A-to-Point-B car, and I never want to drive anything else. Don't make me get a new one!"

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

2008 VW New Beetle Coupe 2-Door Auto S

I never want to get rid of this car

By on Friday, April 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 164,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "easy to drive fun watching people punch each other"

Cons: "expensive parts"

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

"I bought a 2003 back in 2010 and I still own it. I love this car beyond words. I have had to change out the window regulators no biggie, battery, and oil not hing else. She still runs great and I would keep her forever but in AZ she has been melting. For some reason the car's plastic inside parts are all crumbling to pieces. I know it is hot here, but do they really have to fall apart like this? My glove box won't close not because the plastic broke, windshield wipers come on but don't turn of because their plastic piece melted, the door handles keep coming off because the plastic that held them together fell apart. And my car seat tore the seat fabric."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great car

By on Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Decent car and fun to drive"

Cons: "plastic interior isn't so great"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"I've had this car now for about 4 years to drive to and from work. It's really great for that and gas mileages is good too. Drives great, turns great, my only wish is they had put more high-end products on the inside of the car (at least as an option). It would be nice if the interior could compete with BMW, Merecedes, etc. ONE major gripe -- light bulbs go out very, very often. Husband is always having to change these out for me."

26 people out of 39 found this review helpful

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