Used 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle Diesel

2001 Volkswagen New Beetle
List price range


  • Cute yet classic styling, excellent crash-test scores, affordably priced, turbo model is fun to drive.


  • Compromised rear seat/cargo capacity compared to Golf, could use a stiffer suspension.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The New Beetle offers a unique combination of safety, fun, practicality and value. There's no denying it: It's Beetle-mania all over again.

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 trademark Beetle body shape is immediately recognizable, though it shares no parts with the old Beetle. It's both larger, with 96.3 cubic feet inside, and more powerful than its predecessor, and the motor is no longer in the back. Three engines are available: a 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.

Performance is surprisingly good on all New Beetles, but the 1.8T really shines when pushed to the limit. With 156 foot-pounds of torque available between 2,200 and 4,200 rpm, the New Beetle 1.8T never feels underpowered or overworked. Fun comes both from watching people stare and wave at you and from blasting down the highways or up a canyon road. Steering is responsive, and the little car takes corners without too much fuss, making it easy to rack up speeding tickets, if you're not careful. Like most VWs, the New Beetle is fun to drive, but we'd love to see the company add a stiffer suspension option to go along with the peppy 1.8T engine.

The safety system features energy-absorbing crush zones, pre-tensioning safety belts, daytime running lights, dual airbags, optional side airbags for front-seat passengers and excellent bumper crash-test scores. Other 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.

For 2001, the New Beetle gets redesigned cupholders, larger exterior mirrors and a trunk release entrapment button. GLX models now come standard with a Monsoon sound system, rain-sensing wipers and a self-dimming rearview mirror. Optional high-intensity discharge headlights are available on GLS- and GLX-trimmed New Beetles, as are new 17-inch alloy wheels.

The New Beetle offers a unique combination of safety, fun, practicality and value. There's no denying it: It's Beetle-mania all over again.

2001 Highlights

Optional 17-inch alloy wheels can be ordered on GLS 1.8T and GLX models. Exterior mirrors are larger, high-intensity discharge headlights and a Monsoon sound system are available, and all New Beetles benefit from redesigned cupholders and a trunk entrapment release button. Rain-sensing wipers and a self-dimming rearview mirror now come on GLX models.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle.

Still gets a big smile
Andi S., 3/4/2002
We've had the car for about 18 mos, a little over 22k miles. Not a single bug (no pun intended) with it in all these miles. Fuel economy is outstanding at 45 mpg overall (as low as 39mpg in NYC traffic, 52mpg highway). I can fit adults in the back seat for short trips (like taking client to lunch last week). Great fun to drive, and definitely does NOT fit the profile of the traditional diesel. If you've never driven one, you should try one out.
My Bug
kay burges, 3/31/2015
327,000. Miles running strong yes you definiately have to stay on top of maintaining your bug just like anything you own and when in need of replacing something inside that has broken , ebay is your best option if your a do it yourself person but overall I love my bug 49 mpg on this economy it's the bomb diddley
Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance
johnnygeneric, 5/9/2015
I've enjoyed the heck out of this car. I would not hesitate to buy a new one. In fact, we are becoming a VW family. We bought my wife a 2015 Passat. It would have been a Beetle but the Passat was rated as very quiet, which was her #1 criteria. But, having said that, if you don't maintain the car, it will fail you. The 2001 model has lots of misgivings. Stay on top of the maintenance and fix things when they break. And you will be happy with the car.
2001 VW Beetle GLS TDI
Green Bean, 7/23/2002
Great little car. Gas mileage is unbelievable! 45+ MPG!
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Features & Specs

29 city / 40 hwy
Seats 4
4-speed automatic
90 hp @ 3750 rpm
35 city / 44 hwy
Seats 4
5-speed manual
90 hp @ 3750 rpm
See all Used 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle Diesel 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 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle
Used 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle Diesel Overview

The Used 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle Diesel is offered in the following styles: GLS TDI 2dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 4A), and GLS TDI 2dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M).

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