By KBB.com Editors
The 2009 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. Once plentiful engine choices have dwindled to a single source: a 150-horsepower 2.5-liter gasoline engine.
The most significant aspect of the 2009 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 Beetle is reduced to one, well equipped trim level. New features for 2009 include heated seats and washer nozzles, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and a leather handbrake cover.
Driving Impressions Because it's based on the previous-generation Golf platform, the 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle exhibits most of the same ride and handling attributes of the old Golf hatchback. The...2.5-liter engine delivers acceptable acceleration and good fuel economy, but is not as much fun to drive as the old turbocharged models that once populated the lineup. 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 2009 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 2009 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, heated front seats, heated washer nozzles, front side-impact airbags, AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player and an auxiliary input jack, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power locks, 16-inch alloy wheels and remote hatch release.
There are only three options this year: a power sunroof, a six-disc CD changer and the six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission.
The 2.5-liter 20-valve five-cylinder 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 Buffy on Saturday, January 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "one of the greatest small cars out there"
Cons: "regular maintenance, fixes are high"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Learned how to do light bulbs myself($65)if mechanic changes. Have had multiple electrical, window issues-thank goodness for that warranty. Dealerships get really aggravated when you keep bringing it back-they are ones not fixing it correctly to begin with. Fun to drive, comfortable,reliable engine so far, drives great in the snow, and rain. Wanted a manual drive, but none available at the dealership. Automatic is proving to be just fine."
By Doug on Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Diesel torque, very high MPG"
Cons: "High cost of diesel fuel, hard to get good service"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"I wanted the diesel so I bought it. The Beetle is a "cute" little car. That said, with its two-door layout and high roofline it is easy for me - a REALLY big guy - to climb in and out. With the hatchback and fold down rear seat it will hold a LOT of stuff. So it fits my needs really well - by the same token it is not a car for a large family. The TDI took some serious "breaking in" and I did have initial second thoughts. After that rough beginning it has been a great little engine. It routinely returns over 40 MPG (the price of diesel fuel cuts into the benefit of that) with mostly local driving. It has TORQUE which makes it a blast to drive. The downside is this is NOT a common engine and there are not a lot of places to get it competently serviced. If you can do your own service this is a wonderful car, if not you really need access to a top level diesel mechanic. Volkswagen spared no effort to provide this car with every traction/stability aid known to German engineers. It can and does go most everywhere in slippery winter driving conditions. The only limitation is somewhat low ground clearance, but in nine winters I have not had an issue with this. The only reliability issues I have had with the car were two electronics issues. I was able to find a local expert who was able to fix them and total costs were about $200. These require specific maintenance and that is costly. This includes timing belt replacement, oil changes with the right oil, and flushing the brake fluid every two years. Bottom line: fuel costs are low, but the car is not cheap to keep running right and problem free; with all the diesel torque it is fun to drive."
2 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Don on Thursday, January 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great visibility, superfun to drive, easy to park"
Cons: "cargo space, rear seat clearance, cup holders"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I ordered this car new and it was even nicer than I expected. The visibility is impressive, though the sunshades are too small so I keep a hat on the huge dashboard shelf. Great headroom in the front seat, really poor headroom for passengers in the rear seat. While you can fit a good deal when you drop down the rear seats and remove the trunk cover, newer hatchbacks generally have better designed cargo areas. The 2 front cup holders are under the dashboard so you can't have tall cup there are 3 rear cup holders. I'm thinking the engineers didn't get cup holders but had a requirement to put in 5 holders. The car is very short and very wide. Makes for great handling and easy parking except for narrow spaces. The car has been very reliable except a few minor oddities that VW's seem to have with electric systems. It starting to show it's age a bit. Much of the plastic is getting brittle and beginning to break and/or rattle, but it is 15 years old. Have loved this car and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a safe small car."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By Susan on Tuesday, January 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 43,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Turbo! Fun to drive. Really cute and unique"
Cons: "Don't really have any."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This is a limited edition VW Beetle. Yellow and black interior - leather with heated seats. Yellow rims on wheels. One owner. Only 43,000 miles. Very reliable and a great car!"
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)."
34 people out of 51 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!"
9 people out of 20 found this review helpful