Used 2002 Volkswagen New Beetle Diesel

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2002 Volkswagen New Beetle
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Pros

  • Cute yet classic styling, excellent crash-test scores, affordably priced, turbo models are fun to drive, available six-speed manual and stability control with Turbo S model.

Cons

  • Compromised rear seat/cargo capacity compared to Golf.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

From the base GL to the sporty Turbo S, the New Beetle lineup offers a unique combination of safety, fun, practicality and value.

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 -- especially in Turbo S guise.

Volkswagen's New Beetle debuted at Detroit's 1998 North American International Auto Show 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 original 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 powering the rear wheels. Four engines are available: a 115-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder powerplant, a high-tech turbocharged direct-injection (TDI) diesel engine that gets 48 mpg on the highway and has a driving range of 700 miles, a turbocharged 150-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (1.8T) and the same 1.8-liter turbo on speed spewing 180 horses. You can pair a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic with any of these engines, except the 180-hp 1.8T, which is exclusive to the Turbo S and its six-speed manual gearbox.

Performance is surprisingly good with all New Beetles, but the 1.8T, in either form, really shines when pushed to the limit. 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 comfortable for long trips. The Turbo S model has a slightly stiffer suspension for improved handling -- it's still too soft for all-out performance freaks, but just about right for most drivers.

Side airbags for front passengers are standard in every Beetle, and the car scored well in crash testing. If you opt for the Turbo S, you also get Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP), which uses steering and yaw sensors to determine when your Beetle has deviated from your intended path -- and then incorporates engine power, individual wheel braking and transmission tweaks to get the car back into line.

The base Beetle model, the GL, has the 2.0-liter engine and is equipped with air conditioning with micron air filtration, a six-speaker stereo, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, 16-inch wheels and tires, a remote locking system, antitheft alarm, driver and passenger height adjusters, tilt and telescoping adjustments for the steering wheel, mesh pockets on the doors and a bud vase on the dash. Nice touch.

Stepping up to the GLS allows a choice of the 2.0-liter, the TDI or the 150-hp 1.8T engine. You'll also get one-touch power windows, cruise control, fog lamps and a folding center armrest. Options on the New Beetle in GLS trim include leather upholstery (with heated front seats), a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power glass sunroof, heated windshield washer nozzles, alloy wheels and a premium Monsoon sound system.

GLX models come standard with leather, the Monsoon, rain-sensing wipers and a self-dimming rearview mirror. You can order 17-inch alloy wheels for GLX and GLS 1.8T models. The new Sport model comes standard with the 150-hp 1.8T, a five-speed manual, 17-inch wheels, leather interior and Sport badging. Lastly, the Turbo S model has the aforementioned higher output 1.8T engine and a six-speed manual, along with standard 17s; brushed alloy pedals, steering wheel spokes and interior handles; distinctive turn signals and foglights; a front spoiler; a redesigned rear bumper with Turbo S badging and a rear spoiler that deploys at 45 mph.

All VeeDubs now come with an improved 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, up from 2 years/24,000 miles. In addition, Volkswagen offers a fully transferable limited powertrain warranty that covers 5 years or 60,000 miles.

Pretty groovy, huh?

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2002 Volkswagen New Beetle.

Up In Flames!
diannr, 7/23/2011
Bought our 2002 TDI in December for our daughter. Two weeks later we discovered it had a messed up transmission. Counting on fuel savings over the next 5 years, we spent $3500 to have the transmission rebuilt. There were alot of rattles in the interior but we planned to address those after recovering from the trani. expense. Last weekend the brakes failed while parking, proceeded to smoke from the rear then caught on fire! A total loss for us however the salvage yard is scoring a good engine. Apparently firewalls work from both directions. I would not recommend this car!!
Old Faithful
Stephen H., 9/6/2015
At 243K, still going strong. Needed new transmission at 230K but likely because I overuse the 5th gear at low speed to improve mileage and wore it out. My only complaint is the interior parts. Rear seat fell apart in the first week. Center console fell apart shortly after. Surprisingly rotten and cheap parts on such a worthy vehicle. Diesel needs to be treated with anti-gel for 3 months of Northeast winter and I had a pre-heater installed after the glow-plugs cooked and were too rusted in to replace. This diesel car had real trouble starting below -10F with glow plugs working and below 20F after they died so a heater really protects battery, starter and engine. Check engine light has been on for last 100k miles but that’s just something you deal with in the age of science and technology. That crap never functions right for 1/2 the life of a vehicle. Still my primary commuter as it gets 45 mpg.
Lots of Little Problems
dc, 11/12/2006
Driving the car is fun, but the electrical components are lousy. My local service department is not very good and is very costly. We have had a lot of trouble with it, nothing with the drivetrain, but lots of little electrical problems.
Design flaw & auto trans went out at 50K
Not so good, 8/9/2007
The major design flaw in this car is that your hood will get chipped from flying rocks from normal traffic. Buy a bra on day 1 if you buy this car to avoid the body shop. Also the space for your gas pedal foot is too small for an male adult sized winter boot. Also if you have sun coming from the driver side, the visor is too small to block the light. My automatic tranny went out while under warranty (less than 50K) and would have cost more than twice what my 91 Dodge Dynasty automatic tranny that went out on the car before this one.
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Features & Specs

MPG
29 city / 39 hwy
Seats 4
4-speed automatic
Diesel
90 hp @ 3750 rpm
MPG
35 city / 44 hwy
Seats 4
5-speed manual
Diesel
90 hp @ 3750 rpm
See all Used 2002 Volkswagen New Beetle Diesel features & specs

Safety

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
    Good

More about the 2002 Volkswagen New Beetle
Used 2002 Volkswagen New Beetle Diesel Overview

The Used 2002 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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