This is/was our 2nd VW New Beetle TDI. Both 2003's. I can say that I've been very happy overall with both cars. The only downside is the maintenance expense compared to Toyota's. There has been zero unscheduled maintenance expense with every Toyota I've owned.
BOTH Bugs: FUN to drive! More comfortable (I'm 6'3"). Great road trip car, for my wife and I with plenty of room for luggage with the back seat folded down. GREAT mileage (never less than 43 with everyday driving and up to 55mpg on road trips). We used it as a 2nd car and whoever had to drive the furthest that day.. WANTED the bug. Fun and cheap!
Update: the beetle had great crash safety & performance. We were in an accident where a drunk driver pulled out in front of us & we hit him at nearly 70mph. We both survived.