Used 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle Hatchback

1998 Volkswagen New Beetle
List price range
1998 Volkswagen New Beetle


  • It's cute. It's quirky. It's retro. It's an image car we can all afford.


  • It's a fancy-schmancy Golf, which means it's not the same as the original. Good or bad? You decide.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

The New Beetle is a bundle of contradictions. It's a blast from the past and a gateway to the 21st century. It's small but it's safe. It's pretty but it can also be pretty powerful.

Volkswagen's New Beetle debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past January to classic 60s tunes and daisies dotting the dashboards. As a Volkswagen executive said, "It's the birth of a legend, a love affair continued, a dream come true."

The VW folks dubbed it a car that makes people smile. We certainly did. Mixing design elements from the old Beetle of the flower power era with modern technology and luxuries, the Concept 1 design study that was presented at the same show in 1994 has become a reality. A groovy, cool, or phat one, depending on your age.

The trademark Beetle body shape is immediately recognizable, though it shares no parts with the old Beetle. It's both larger (161.1 inches in length and 96.3 cubic feet inside) and more powerful than its predecessor, and the engine is no longer in the back. The car is available with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder 115-horsepower engine or a high-tech Turbo Direct Injection diesel engine that gets 48 mpg on the highway and has a driving range of 700 miles. Later in the production cycle, a 1.8-liter 150 horsepower turbocharged engine will also be available. With 16-inch wheels, modified front and rear axles and front-wheel drive, cruising in the New Beetle "may remind you of the first time you drove the go-cart around the track," said a company official.

This car is not just for nostalgic Baby Boomers, according to Volkswagen. Its appeal crosses all lines of age, race and class. Its target audience is men, women, young people or people who are simply young at heart. Drivers are wanted by "the company that loves people." And essentially, they want you, whoever you are.

The safety system features energy-absorbing crush zones, pretensioning safety belts, daytime running lights, dual airbags and side airbags for front-seat passengers. Other cool standard features include four beverage holders, a remote locking system, anti-theft alarm, a passenger assist handle above the glove compartment, driver and passenger height adjusters, mesh pockets on the doors, and a bud vase on the dash. Nice touch.

Volkswagen says you'll want to hug this car when you see it; we say you'll have to have it. Especially after we tell you how much (or how little) it will cost you. The base price for the New Beetle with a 2.0-liter engine is only $15,200. For turbodiesel power, your price will bump up to $16,475.

The icing on the cake for this ultra-happy automobile is the array of fun, cheerful colors that are available: red, yellow, white and black in non-metallic finish, and silver, bright blue, (lime) green and dark blue in the metallic options. You'll be able to purchase the car in March if you live in the United States Exports to Europe will begin in the fall. Volkswagen executives predict that 50,000 Beetles will be sold this year in North America. It will be Beetle-mania all over again.

1998 Highlights

Volkswagen revives a legend using retro styling touches wrapped around Golf underpinnings.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

It's worth the few flaws!!
I bought this car last year with 100,000 miles on it, and throughout the additional 16,000 miles i've driven, the problems have been minor, few, and far between. I felt confident buying it with so many miles already on it because Volkswagen engines seem to be bulletproof. Initially when idling, the engine would have a tendency to overheat in the Florida summers but having a mechanic for a father and adjusting the cooling system there haven't been any problems since. The transmission is a little rough during acceleration and deceleration, but it's 14 years old. I rear ended a pickup once pretty hard and the truck suffered a lot worse than the Beetle! Very safe, love this car.
3rd owner 98 beetle TDI
If you can buy one used these days, do it. I got mine for under 3k and it has 180k miles on it. I got it because I found it at such a great price and VW mechanic owned. I never expected I'd ever like owning a new beetle and just saw it as a cheap, clean car that gets incredible gas Mileage. Being 6'2" I usually would never have bought a car this small but I do have a good 6 inches of headroom between the top of my head and the headliner. It's not fast, but it's quick. The torque is a lot for that little bug and it really does get around. Overall I'm very happy with my second hand purchase and maybe I just got a good one by the looks of the mixed reviews here.
My very 1st Car !!!
This car is a great 1st car . I'm in love with my Red Buggy! Having to refill the gas tank can be kind of hectic but it's a very cute and enough room for me and my friends to ride in comfortably. It's not for a group of 5 at all, I love the long dashboard and how I can adjust the seat just right so I can get comfortable. My car is 18 years old my parents bought it through a friend and when we got it , it barely worked now it runs as good as any car on the road today just needs tint and a paint job and she'll be back to good.
Don't Do It!
I bought a 1998 Beetle, 5 speed manual transmission from my neighbor. They saw me coming! The car now has 112,000 miles on it and the control module, catalytic converter and ignition module all went out. It is going to cost me more to fix it than its worth. Don't bother with VW. The glove box and trunk release are broken. The clear coat has peeled off. Regretting spending $3K on this car. My Honda has 200,000 miles on it and runs like a top!!
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Features & Specs

34 city / 43 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
90 hp @ 4000 rpm
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
115 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle Hatchback features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle
Used 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle Hatchback Overview

The Used 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle Hatchback is offered in the following styles: 2dr Hatchback, and TDi 2dr Hatchback.

What's a good price on a Used 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle Hatchback?

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Can't find a used 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle New Beetle Hatchback you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen New Beetle for sale - 9 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $14,231.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 6 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $10,060.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen New Beetle for sale - 9 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $16,826.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 9 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $21,757.

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Should I lease or buy a 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen New Beetle lease specials