After seven years of daily use, I am still very happy with my Beetle. Other New Beetles have had reliability problems, but I have had no problems with the engine or transmission. I have had minor problems with the window switches breaking, but the replacements seem to have held up. This is a much better engine than the 2.0L gas, and it gives far better economy. The downside is whenever we go somewhere I always have to drive!
The engine is the best thing about this car. It gets great fuel economy and has great torque. I can pass almost everything on the long uphills, especially at high altitude. Everyone who drives it is impressed with the power. The styling never changes, which is good.
Cons: Many impractical features due to the design, I wish it had bought a Golf instead. For instance, car does not have a rectangular trunk - cannot carry golf bag. Also, the rear seat headroom is not good. The front pillars interfere with visibility. Finally, it badly needs extensions for the sun visors.
I love my Beetle. It is fun to drive...like driving a big go cart. I have had to have the transmission replaced and a new starter. That is all that has been replaced and it has almost 91,000 miles on it. If it had better gas mileage that would be good. It is a great little car. I will definitely buy another...only it will be a manual with a sunroof or convertible.
I have a 1999 (2/24/99) GLS bug with 200,000 miles on it, and I drive the heck out of it. I drive it fast, hard, and occaisionally offroad. (get the sport springs). I'm very hard on the things I own, and the fact my Bug is still with me is a testament to it's inital design and early warranty recalls (window switches and a couple sensors back around year 2) - all the "bells and whisles" worriers can forget about it for their next car - and get auto door locks and windows already! All of my issues have stemmed from things thrown at my car on the freeway (rocks, ladders, etc) and as long as you keep up with the maintaince, shocks, and a failed engine sensor every year, you're good.
I love the good cabin room, design, dhape, front seats, handling (after sport springs), fit of build, overall engineering of the car and individual pieces. It is better than any US car I've ever sat in / drove (and yeah, I've owned 'em).
Improve the engine access, make it easier to remove the front clip? automatic transmission fluid level and filler cap please! no 100$ trips to the dealership so they can use a water bottle and a hose to add fluid - I can do that! My car currently leaks fluid from oil and ATF fluid the dealership can't find it (boo!)
I bought this car brand new in 1999, and I still own it. All in all, itís a great car, and has never let me down. I got the GL version in order to avoid too many electrical motors and gadgets that could break down in the future and cause costly repairs. I also wanted hand-cranked windows. So far, the only thing that has failed is electirc-operated gas cap cover. I havenít fixed it, because itís easy to open the gas cover manually. Itís a great car to drive - turns corners on a dime and feels stable at higher speeds. As for the looks, this car looks awesome. It looks like something that flew out of a science-fiction movie.
Great Retro-Futuristic looks. Amazing utility for one person with the roof rack. Decent gas mileage. Fun to drive. Sheds rain and mositure well. Can carry a kayak or canoe well due to it's symmetrical side profile. Crash safety.
Some cheap plasic parts in high-use areas (why?) Front cup holder makes a better spare change holder, wierd set up of glove compartment interior (every time you open, stuff falls out) Too much automation for every-day easy use things (door locks, fuel cap, trunk)
This is my 4th Beetle and my favorite thing about the new Beetle is that the heater works. Here's a list of things that no longer work in the car; drivers side window no longer goes up and down, tape player stopped working, antenna fell off, passenger side window motor had to be replaced (as well as driver's side, but still doesn't work because the button broke off), side view mirror button broke off, trunk doesn't latch, hood latch occasionally doesn't work, locking gas door no longer locks, A/C no longer operating. This is unbelievable considering I am the only driver of this vehicle and am no kid. Also, most importantly its oil consumption worrisome at best.
Reliability and it has a heater!
Lay off the "bells & whistles" until improvements are made.