I bought the beetle new in 2000. I was looking for a small car with good mileage. The diesel version I drive gets nearly 50 mpg on the highway - love that! Safety was really important to me as I'd be driving my kids around town. The beetle has great safety ratings. What I didn't expect was how fun to drive this car would be. It is solid, hugs the road, and is super aerodynamic (I don't know what the last reviewer experienced but my beetle never even flinches in windy weather). Also, it has a great little sound system with a 6 CD changer - load it up, fill the tank, and your good for 500 miles. 150,000 miles and no major problems with this car.
Fun to drive, cute, great sound system. Plus, when you fold down the back seat you can haul a ton of stuff. We go camping with our beetle and our three dogs!
The cup holders are useless. Some interior pieces aren't as solid as the rest of the car - ex: glove box latch broke early on. The back seat was great when my kids were smaller but has limited head room for anyone over 5'6". The diesel version does need to be in a garage for below zero temps.