1999 Volkswagen New Beetle Review


Pros & Cons

  • 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.
List Price Estimate
$934 - $2,152

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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 1998 North American International Auto Show in Detroit 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 baaaad 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 new turbocharged 150-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, a 115-horsepower 2.0-liter four-banger or a high-tech Turbo Direct Injection diesel engine that gets 48 mpg on the highway and has a driving range of 700 miles. With 16-inch wheels and wide tires, 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, and young people or people who are simply young at heart. "The company that loves people" wants drivers. 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 optional 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 a shade less than $16,000. For turbodiesel power or the powerful turbo gas engine, your price will be higher.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 metallic hues. It's Beetle-mania all over again.

1999 Highlights

A high-performance turbo model debuts this year. A small spoiler over the rear window is the only exterior telltale that the Bug next to you has the 150-horsepower 1.8-liter turbocharged inline four from the larger Passat sedan under the hood.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1999 Volkswagen New Beetle.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Follow Up - from May 2006 Review
Well, it's been 14 years. Bought it new in June of '99 because it was the "futuristic looking concept car that you could drive". The silver beetle really took the cake, spurred on with the commercial "Reverse engineered from U.F.O.'s." Now 14 years later, it runs and looks like the day I bought it. I wanted all manual - so I got the GL. It's hauled all kinds of cargo - kayaks, canoes, fish aquariums, metal house roofing, it even tows a small sailboat. Get the factory roof rack. Have it serviced by a knowledgeable dealer every year, and keep up on the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual. No Problems, No Issues, just miles and miles of adventure and fun.
Been 10 great years
I purchased mine back in 03' from a dealership with 35k miles. I just crossed the 110k mark. So far I've had nothing I'd consider a "major" problem. At 90k miles the water pump went out. I also replaced the tensioner and belt. Yesterday it started misfiring bad and learned the coil pack had gone bad. I also replaced the spark plugs and the wires while having that replaced. Aside from that just changing the oil, brake pads, filters...etc. Only needing 2 sub $500 repairs in 10 years of ownership. To me, that's great. Little things have broke though. Switches, trunk latch, knobs. But those are little DIY cheap repairs.
one tough beetle!
At first the beetle looks girly and cheap. girly to some, but cheap only in cosmetics. for the 13 years of it's life it has been ragged out by a teenage girl and my father. Both have been over revved before they change gears. my father changes gears at 9000 or 90000 revolutions (can't remember) and it sends chills up my spine when he goes up hills. Not one transmission replacement to me that is amazing it sits at 195k miles. Rockwell is a great company, only in mechanical. The cosmetics on this car are absolutely cheap and plastic the entire door panel has been torn off. It's true how Volkswagen has been given to the beetle it is truly the people's car.
1999 VW Beetle (2.0 Engine, GLS, Automatic)
Love my buggie!!!!!!!!!! I bought this used with approximately 55,000 miles on it back in 2010. Now my mileage is @ 75,000 and it has held up nicely. My buggie can move when I need it to, stop when I need it too. Suspension is awesome! I can fit into any stall with ease. And i think the quality is top notch (excluding switches, etc.), however, the German glass is top notch, so is the body from rust and the door closes nicely. in fact I really like the way VW makes the doors close, that certain sound it makes! LOL I'm truly a VW believer.

Features & Specs

21 city / 28 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
115 hp @ 5200 rpm
21 city / 28 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
115 hp @ 5200 rpm
22 city / 28 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
22 city / 28 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
See all Used 1999 Volkswagen New Beetle 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 1999 Volkswagen New Beetle

Used 1999 Volkswagen New Beetle Overview

The Used 1999 Volkswagen New Beetle is offered in the following submodels: New Beetle Hatchback, New Beetle Diesel. Available styles include GL 2dr Hatchback, GLS 2dr Hatchback, GLX 1.8T Turbo 2dr Hatchback, GLS 1.8T Turbo 2dr Hatchback, and GLS TDi 2dr Hatchback.

What's a good price on a Used 1999 Volkswagen New Beetle?

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Find a used Volkswagen New Beetle for sale - 7 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $16,512.

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Should I lease or buy a 1999 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