I haven't regretted for an instant buying this little guy. Other than some warranty work for an airbag issue, which was dealt with painlessly on my part (including a loaner car for the month we were without his services), he has handled beautifully and been trouble free!
IMy initial attraction is the clean J.Mays / Freeman styling, but excellent interior materials and ergonomics make the Beetle better than similarly priced cars. This car has many detail improvements over the similar 2002 New Beetle. Its 6-speed auto transmission is a huge improvement over the old 4-speed design and even 5-speed manual that refused to accept a quick shift. It has excellent brakes and safety aids, both passive and active. Its handling is not particularly responsive, but safe and predictable. This car is able to cruise at high speeds with less wind noise than than in the past because of the 6-speed gearing. It turns approximately 3,000 RPM at 78 MPH. The leatherette looks like real leaather and is more luxurious than cloth. Plus car is style-proof.
The looks, ease of ingress/egress, quality of interior, 6-speed auto transmission, ergonomics, good brakes, and getting great tire mileage on Michelins.
It is susceptible to sidewinds. The engine is an old fashioned design and rather industrial in character. Its fuel consumption is higher than its competition's. It needs more power and torque, this has been addressed with the 2006 model. The base GL model in my 2005 has no standard center armrest.
My first car was a 1957 Beetle and when fuel prices began to rise, I sold my Honda Passport and purchased my 2005 Beetle. I love it, we live in a mountainous region and with four adults in the car, all I have to do is switch my Tiptronic transmission from auto to manual, shift into 5th and I scoot right up the mountains without skipping a beat. It hugs the road and is so much fun to drive, I feel like a teenager again! My 74 year old Father loves to drive it as well and is looking at getting one for my Mom! We are considering another one for my husband, so I can keep him out of mine :) He was surprised at the pep when he drove it for the first time.
I love the rims and wheels, awesome sound system, height adjustable seats (my husband is 6'2" and slides right in and out), sunroof, and flipdown back seat (my Boxer loves to go for rides).
Give it easier cupholder access for front seats, a deeper glove compartment, allow the front seat to recline completely, and use a lever instead of the knob. Also, hooks and nets in the hatch for holding groceries and bags in place would be nice.
I thought this would be a fun, cool car and I hate it!! I can't wait to get out of my lease. It's cute...and that's about it. Every perk about the car is cosmetic. It looks nice. That's about the only thing I like about it. The cup holders are small...only can use one. The engine is small--NO power. I had an 8 yr old ask me, "Bugs are slow, huh?" b/c there is no power. I should have got the turbo engine...I might have been a little more satisfied.