2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Hatchback

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Volkswagen New Beetle Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 5-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 150 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/29 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

My second new beetle not

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Vehicle: 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle

I previously owned a 2000 New Beetle 1.8T. That car was GREAT. It gave me very few problems, and it never left me stranded. One of the worse mistakes I have made. I've had lots of stupid problems come up. I bought the car with 68k miles, and all service records. I had no warning and the water pump went out, at 68.5k. Replaced two wheel bearings, the tie rods, the door speaker. I could go on. I have had this car a little over a year. The best part was when the inner axle snapped getting off the highway. I think my car must be a lemon. It is getting harder and harder to justify keeping it. My car looks great, but it doesn't perform half as well as my 2000 did, which had twice the miles.

In love with my beetle

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Vehicle: 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle

Bought this car new from the dealer and it's given me a couple of problems but overall I don't regret the purchase. Its sole appearance makes me happy every time I look at it. I seriously love my car. My only complain is that the parts, oil changes and even the coolant are very expensive. To be objective, I have to mention that entering its 4th year (2011), little things here and there started to break down, for example the interior roof liner is coming loose on the edges, antenna broke when covered the car with an ordinary car cover and one of the windshield washers seems to be clogged. My compressor died this year too ($2000)... and the battery and the headlights but that's to be expected


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Vehicle: 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle

I love my car, especially since its paid off. But in september an ignition coil went out., Then in march 2 more went within 2 weeks of each other. Now less than 4 weeks later another one has just gone out. The only thing saving me from driving this car off a cliff, besides the repairs being covered under warranty, is the fact there is only 1 ignition coil left to go out. And VW wont replace it until it fails. I just hope it doesnt happen late at nite or when im on my way to an interview. I just dont need this aggrevation, but since I dont have a job I cant go trade this in. Hopefully the 5th coil will go out soon and I can stop worrying...

Sadly disappointed

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Vehicle: 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle

Having driven a classic Beetle as a teenager, this car was a major disappointment. Three months after buying the car, the fuel pump relay died leaving me stranded at 10:00 pm. Three years after buying the car, I traded it in for a 2010 Honda Fit. The lights and radio wouldn't work when it was cold. The heater wouldn't work when the car was idling. The driver's headlight had to be replaced due to "faulty wiring". Upon acceleration or deceleration, the car would often hesitate. After a snow storm, snow would often get trapped in the wheel well causing the car to shake at speeds above 40 mph. Living in Nebraska, it's important to have a reliable car.

Great looking, reliable, fun to

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Vehicle: 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle

although personally i think driving is the most boring thing a person can do, i actually enjoy driving my beetle. infact, its my second new beetle- the first one being a 2004 turbo-s.

Not bad at all

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Vehicle: 2007 Volkswagen New Beetle

I bought the car new in 2007 and have enjoyed it ever since. Good performance, but the handling could be a little tighter. MPG is constantly around the 30 mark. I have 40000 miles on it and it has not given me any trouble. There were a couple of squeaks/rattles at the beginning but they have since vanished. I would recommend this car from my personal experience. Happy Motoring.

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.


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.


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


  • 20
  • cty
  • 29
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs