Having learned to drive on a 1962 bug, I have a certain affection for the Beetle. This new one does not disappoint and is uber fun to drive. Owing a new Suburban and also a HD bike, I use the Beetle for daily chores and business commuting. At 6'1" and 250lbs, I have plenty of room. I specifically wanted a turbo diesel, manual because a small car should be fun and involve the driver in the experience. Can't complain abut the 44mpg I am getting as well! I also have a grin on my face knowing that it does not meet current EPA requirements!!! Global warm this.
The 2004 5-speed stick shift VW Beetle diesel has gotten me 52.1 mpg, average is 49.0 highest of any car I have owned. And more fun to drive than the 2003 4-speed auto model which never got over 40 mpg.
Don't believe "experts," EPA on fuel economy. The TDI outperforms any other on the highway. My mileage: 52.5 winter, 57.1 summer, at 65 mph. Nobody can touch that, even a 5-pas. hybrid. (Except VW Beetle, Jetta, Golf manual TDIs) I drive 800 miles on one tank, any day of the year, any place. I drove Provo, UT to Fresno, CA and refilled in CA for $25. Eat your heart out, Prius. These TDIs have power. Handling is very smooth. You want something that needs improvement? Okay, the body style is just not as good as the old bug, but not bad for German engineers. (The original people's car was designed by Penin Farina, Italian, the best that ever lived.)
Yes you change oil every 5000 miles, but you have to go to the dealer and buy SPECIAL VW oil?? To do any basic maintenance you need a degree in mechanics?! Even then, you may not be able to reach the fitting or part that you want to service because it is so cramped and difficult. Now after 3 years we have problems: (a) difficulty in starting cold engine in the morning, (b) things fall apart inside the cabin (ashtray, window controls, hand-brake knob, etc.), (c) when you start engine lots of white smoke is delivered by exhaust pipe.
What an amazing, fun little car. I have a TDI diesel, with the Tiptronic transmission, and this is hands down the most fun car I've ever driven. Out of the gate mine has had a few minor hiccups (CD player stopped playing CDs on the fourth day, airbag system isn't working properly [diag. light]), but the dealerships I've dealt with have been quick to repair and cooperative. And, the fuel economy is AMAZING! 400-500 miles on a tank of diesel is "normal" for this car, and with some conservative driving, I've pushed it to nearly 600. A worthy successor to the "Beetle" name.