2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Volkswagen New Beetle

Volkswagen New Beetle Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 5-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 150 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle

  • The 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle is a cute alternative to more traditional compacts. But unless you're wedded to the Beetle's retro chic, you'll probably want to look elsewhere for a small coupe or convertible.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Cute yet classic styling, lengthy standard equipment list.

  • Cons

    Aged design, so-so power, lack of rear-seat space and cargo room, subpar side-impact crash test results.

  • What's New for 2008

    Volkswagen's New Beetle compact carries over into 2008 with just minor changes to trim level names and optional feature lists.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


1 of 2 people found this review helpful

The volkswagen co. not what

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle S 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

Day one from picking up the car from the dealer the handbrake came off when I parked. The car doesn't feel at all like a German car, in fact it feels like it's coming apart. About 2 months later on my way home (45 min. commute) on a very hot Summer day, the underneath engine cover came loose fell off and broke into many pieces. When I took it to the dealer, they accused me of running into something and refused to fix it. The service manager even went through the trouble of fabricating a story that I ran over a parking turtarrier with a piece of rebar sticking out tearing the cover off and again refused. Both their customer service and chairman of the board also refused to help




2008 new beetle yuck!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle S 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

I have owned 6 Beetles in my lifetime and I have loved everyone from my 1968 to my 2005. I recently traded in my 2005 and upgraded to a 2008. What a shock. The appearance and features are all basically the same as all my other New Beetles, however, the gas mileage is another story. I have paid more for gas than I have in payments for this car since I purchased it. It is only averaging 200 miles per tank of gas. I have had it to the dealership for service, and they insist that there is no problem with it. My last full tank of gas I got 193 miles. I am certain that there is a problem with the 2008 Beetle fuel system. I am not happy with the 08 VW. YUCK!!!



Full 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Review

What's New for 2008

Volkswagen's New Beetle compact carries over into 2008 with just minor changes to trim level names and optional feature lists.

Introduction

It's hard to believe that 2008 will be the 11th year on sale for the Volkswagen New Beetle. When the car was originally introduced, Americans went crazy over the retro-themed "Bug" styling and cute flower vase protruding from its dash. Its popularity has waned over the years, however, even as interesting variants like the Turbo and TDI direct-injection diesel models came and went. For 2008, the New Beetle's oh-so-cool veneer has worn thin as it faces strong competition from more modern rivals.

Despite its age, the basic 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle still has a few things going for it. Based on the old VW Golf platform and available as a coupe or convertible, it still elicits smiles from passers-by while delivering solid German engineering, comfortable road manners and a fair amount of room for those up front. All the basics are covered in its standard price, and you can easily upgrade the Beetle's content through trim packages and stand-alone options.

But compared to newer rivals in a very competitive compact segment, the 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle claims no major advantage aside from its bubbly personality. Other small two-door coupes or hatches like the Honda Civic, Saturn Astra or VW's own Rabbit deliver superior utility, amenities and drivability at a similar or lower cost. As a convertible, the New Beetle makes a little more sense, as it likely will appeal to shoppers who value style over performance. But overall, we suggest taking a look at the competition first or even considering a certified-used New Beetle as an alternative.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle is available as a two-door hatchback coupe or convertible in two trim levels: S and SE. Base S coupe models come with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, heated outside mirrors, power windows and locks, cruise control, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, remote keyless entry, V-Tex leatherette seat trim, satellite radio and a CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input jack. Upgrading to the SE nets you 17-inch alloys, heated front seats and windshield washer nozzles, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a premium audio system and a sunroof. Some of these features can be added to the S trim as options. New Beetle convertibles are similarly equipped, with the exception of a manually operated soft top on S models and a semiautomatic power drop top and wind blocker on SEs. The new Triple White convertible starts with the SEs standard equipment and adds -- you guessed it -- a unique white exterior, as well as a white-and-black interior theme, exclusive headrest badging and satellite radio. All models can be equipped with a trunk-mounted six-disc CD changer.

Powertrains and Performance

The VW New Beetle is powered by a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Power is transmitted to the front wheels through an easy-shifting standard five-speed manual gearbox on S models. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is standard on the SE and optional on the S. However the shifting occurs, acceleration is merely adequate. EPA-estimated fuel economy is similarly lackluster for a compact; 2008 EPA estimates for the automatic are 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway.

Safety

All New Beetles include antilock disc brakes, stability control, front seat-mounted head/thorax side-impact airbags and active front head restraints. Convertibles also feature a rollover protection system. In government crash testing, the 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle earned four out of five stars for the protection of both front occupants in frontal impacts. Side-impact testing netted a five-star rating for front passengers but only three stars for those in the rear. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the New Beetle a top score of "Good" for frontal-offset crash protection, but a disappointing "Poor" rating for side impacts.

Interior Design and Special Features

The four-passenger New Beetle may be stylish, but it's smaller inside than VW's own Rabbit. An expansive dashboard featuring a huge circular speedometer seems to dominate the cabin space up front, while the car's bubbly body pinches inward tightly against rear occupants. The open convertible is less of a problem in this regard, with a top that's easy to fold and well insulated from outside noise. With its top lowered, the Beetle convertible makes an especially classic and polished statement. Outward visibility is surprisingly poor on both the coupe and closed convertible, however, and both New Beetle styles suffer from tight rear hiproom and a lack of useful cargo space.

Driving Impressions

Like other Volkswagens, the 2008 New Beetle is reasonably fun to drive and provides a smooth and comfortable ride, perfect for long trips. The suspension tuning is soft but the steering is direct and sure, making it just about right for most drivers who want to play with their Bug every now and then. The 2.5-liter engine is smooth and delivers adequate if not abundant power in most situations.

Talk About The 2008 New Beetle

Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 20
  • cty
/
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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