This was a must have for my wife. At first I wasn't sure if we needed this car with its reputation for questionable reliability, but after owning it now for a few months and 4,000 miles or so, I like it. Especially the 42 mpg highway 38 mpg overall. There seems to be very little middle ground with the New Bettles, if you like it enough to buy it, then you most likely love your Beetle. We asked all the Beetle owners we could find prior to purchasing ours, even those who had quite a few tedious under warranty repair issues, and they still loved their New Beetle and were looking a the newer models to replace their 4 or 5 year old Beetles. So far ours has been excellent and trouble free.
The fuel economy at 42 mpg highway and 38 mpg overall (mostly highway) is great. My wife loves everything about this car. I'm 6'-0" tall and weight 300 lbs and it is remarkably comfortable for me to drive or ride in. The Auto/Manual tiptronic transmission is neat but slightly over- rated.
The lower running board area takes a lot of abuse from the road/under side it has a rough protective/damage forgiving coating. The upper half is standard paint fininsh and is quite easy to drag your shoe across and make scratches. Perhaps coating the entire running board would improve this problem.