Full 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle Review
What's New for 2007
The New Beetle TDI has been discontinued because its diesel-fueled engine didn't meet new 2007 government emission standards. Otherwise, there are no other major changes to the VW Beetle.
It's hard to believe that 2007 will be the 10th year on sale for the Volkswagen New Beetle. It doesn't seem that long ago that the New Beetle was surrounded by bubbly hype and anticipation. America went bonkers over the car's retro-themed, original Beetle-influenced exterior and the flower bud vase on the dash (how cute!). For '07, the bud vase remains, but much of the hip and cool sheen has long since worn off.
Perhaps a little surprisingly, the 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle is still a pretty decent car, especially considering that it's never received a full redesign. It's based on the old VW Golf platform and is available as a two-door coupe or convertible. It's fairly quick thanks to a 2.5-liter, inline five-cylinder engine, has comfortable road manners and is quite roomy for front-seat passengers. Basic amenities all come standard, and you can easily upgrade via a couple of options packages.
But compared to other competing models, all of which are newer in design, the New Beetle has no real advantage other than its nostalgic halo. Other two-door coupes or hatchbacks, such as the Honda Civic or even VW's new Rabbit, provide better utility, driving dynamics and features. For a cute convertible, we prefer the more entertaining-to-drive Mini Cooper. Overall, we'd probably pass on a "new" New Beetle, though getting a certified-used model -- same car, less money -- might be an interesting alternative.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle is available in a two-door hatchback or convertible body style. All models come with 16-inch wheels, air-conditioning, heated outside mirrors, power windows and locks, cruise control, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry and an MP3/CD stereo with an auxiliary input jack. Convertibles have a manually folding top with a glass rear window. As for upgrades, VW offers two main packages. Package #1 includes a sunroof for the hatchback, a power-operated top for the convertible, heated front seats and a premium sound system. Package #2 has the first package's contents plus 17-inch wheels, rain-sensing wipers, leather seating and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Stand-alone options include a trunk-mounted CD changer and satellite radio.
Powertrains and Performance
The New Beetle 2.5 hatch and convertible come with a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Power is put to the front wheels through a standard five-speed manual transmission or an optional six-speed automatic.
Standard on all VW Beetles are four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability control, side airbags for front occupants, full-length head curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Convertibles have a rollover protection system. In NHTSA crash testing, the 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle earned four out of five stars in both frontal-impact categories. Side-impact tests resulted in a five-star rating for front passengers and three stars for rear passengers. The IIHS rates the vehicle with a top score of "Good" for frontal-offset crash protection but issues a "Poor" rating for side-impact protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
Though smaller inside than the Rabbit, the four-passenger VW Beetle compensates with style. It has a table-like dashboard, huge circular speedometer and round air vents. The convertible's top is easy to fold and well insulated from wind and road noise. With its top down, the Bug convertible has a classic but polished appearance. Outward visibility is poor, however, and both models suffer from tight rear seating and a lack of cargo space.
Like other VWs, the 2007 New Beetle is both fun to drive and comfortable for long trips. The suspension tuning is soft, but it's just about right for most drivers who want a little sport from their Bug. The 2.5-liter engine is smooth and powerful at any rpm.