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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 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 1123 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

Solid, economical, and fun to drive

By on Sunday, November 15, 2015

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

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "economical and fun to drive"

Cons: "quality lacking in a few areas"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I am trading this car in because it has 175,000 miles on it and looks beat. It is a TDI and the motor still runs like when it was new. The last three years it has been a daily commuter of 72 freeway miles round trip. In that time it has never broken down. Oil changes, battery, and tires is all it has needed. It consistently gets 38-39 mpg in the summer with air on, and 40-41 mpg in the winter without the air. I have always said that it is the most fun you can have driving a 100 hp car, lots of torque. The only negatives ares the quality of the interior wasn't the greatest and the headlights and running lights seemed to go out with more frequency than any other car I have owned."

14 people out of 22 found this review helpful

This is the best vehicle I have ever owned

By on Friday, October 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 330,000

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
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"PRO: I am 65, I have and had numerous automobiles, but my 2002 VW Beetle is the best vehicle I have ever owned. I bought it new for cash in 2002, soon to be 14 years ago, and it is still as reliable and efficient , over 45 mpg, as it was new. I change oil (synthetic) every 10,000 miles and have never had to add a quart of oil between oil changes. I drive from Florida to Ohio on a monthly basis, without regards to the mileage of over 330,000 currently, because it is extremely reliable. It is comfortable and handles well in all weather and road conditions. Parts service life is extraordinary, e.g. tires (90k+), manual trans clutch(300k), brakes (175k+), a/c compressor (278K), injection pump (rebuilt at 310k) so the "down" time has been minimal and the operating costs are low. My goal is to reach 500,00 miles on my Beetle. CON: I do most of the maintenance, so the condensed engine compartment makes it challenging to change the alternator (100k)"

24 people out of 26 found this review helpful

This was my dream car

By on Wednesday, October 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,279

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: "Peppy and no blind spots"

Cons: "I wish I didn't have to give it up"

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

"It's a wonderful and peppy car. It's very spacious, and there are literally no blind spots. Very easy to drive (if you can drive manual) and a great turning ratios."

9 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Runs like a Honda

By on Monday, September 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000

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
10/10

Pros: "gas milage, roomy, dependable, VW"

Cons: "Repair cost and some mechanices will turn you away"

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

"Love this car. Bought it back in '08. It has a lot of space for driver and passenger however not a lot of room in the back seat, they hit there head on the roof. Back seats fold down completely flat and has enough space to sleep two. I have traveled from coast to coast as well as Florida Keys to Canada while in college! starts everytime! Repairs run a little higher depending on were you go. (do your research and two or more quotes)Never had to do a major repair even after putting over 160k on it. A few things are missing and don't work but does not keep my car from starting. Its heavier and cuts through the snow with no problem. Paint job did not hold and the bottom is rusted (northern car). Body is heavy and well built so it doesn't fall apart as easy. I have so many stories about it going up against poles, ditches, guard rail, hail, sand storm and newer ford focus with rolling away with scrapes and dents."

12 people out of 14 found this review helpful

I love it

By on Saturday, September 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I bought my car used from a previous owner. It had around 45,000, 5 years ago. Now it has 83,500. Needed little repair. The mechanic is specialized in VW and Audi. I love its size, driving it in snow is no problem. It is solid and heavy. Easy to maneuver. Just scared the the timing belt might break at a sudden. Otherwise, I pray it will stay with me years. Repair is not cheap."

2 people out of 7 found this review helpful

This is a poorly engineered auto.

By on Saturday, September 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,500

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "None"

Cons: "Read my Review."

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

"I've owned VW's for over 50 years with good satisfaction but this model year, 2004, is a the exception. I've had to spesnd excessive money on items that seldom fail at 30,000 miles. Example: Had to replace both of the rear window internal mechanisms; Overall poor mileage - 60% freeway & 40 % city driving results 16.7 to 17.2 MPG; Raising the top requires excessive strength. Pulling down and turning the release handle requires a very strong person. Same in closing the top. The top does not fold into a compartment but sits on top of the rear body. The transmission required major repairs around $1,800.00 at 22,000 miles that was fortunately still under warranty. Had to replace the engine cover that covers the bottom of the engines at $1,500.00! Replaced Air Bag Sensor under warranty and now the the icon for it is displayed along with "Check engine" is now displayed! It never ends. Consumer Reports a couple years ago in an issue that dealt mostly with auto evaluations, listed the 2004 & 2005 under the heading of "The Worst of the Worst." Hope this is of some value to future VW buyers for these model years."

13 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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