2004 Volkswagen New Beetle Review

Pros & Cons

  • Cute yet classic styling, range of engine choices, long list of standard features, good crash test scores.
  • Tight rear-seat accommodations, limited cargo room, high price of Turbo S model.
List Price

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The image car in VW's lineup, the New Beetle offers a unique combination of safety, fun and upscale features for its price range.

2004 Highlights

For 2004, the New Beetle is no longer available in GLX trim. There's an improved TDI engine and restyled 16- and 17-inch wheels. Turbo S models get uniquely styled 17-inch wheels as a late-year addition. New safety features include head curtain airbags and upgraded head restraints. The Monsoon audio system is now standard on the GLS and new GDL headlights are optional. Later in the model year a fixed rear spoiler will replace the power-operated unit and a CD player with MP3 capability will be added. Convertibles get new exterior colors and color combinations. All Beetles get a new fuel cap warning light this year. TDI models can be equipped with a Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), which is a six-speed manual transmission with electronic control of the clutch and gearshifting. It can be operated in full automatic mode, like a traditional automatic, or shifted manually like a Tiptronic.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

The most trouble prone car of them all. Stay away
GLS 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A)
I bought this car from a family member with only 16K miles and it was garage kept. It's a 2.0 convertible with automatic. I can't begin to say how cheaply built this car is and VW should be ashamed of this product. The structure of this car creaks and moans over smooth roads. The driver's door handle (plastic) was cracked and this cracked the entire door panel. Replacements are hard to find and expensive. I got a new door panel and got metal door handles from ebay. The driver's door latch switch broke. This needed an entire latch and the switch lowers the window when opening and closing the door. Without this switch say goodbye to the top. So I did this myself. Then the rear plastics all cracked. Then the flaps to cover the top frame broke and the top wouldn't move so I took them off to fix it. Then the rear window separated from the canvas. I repaired the rear glass to save me the $2500 for a new top. Once I had this fixed, then the rear driver's window regulator broke. I took this to my friend and he fixed it for $300, but then the power top broke. So I disabled the power top and do it by hand since I'm done fixing stuff on this car. So it's fate is destined to be the in junkyard, but for now it's just rolling junk waiting for it's destiny. All of these repairs are on a low mileage, well maintained car. Other driving impressions- it drives like a cheap economy car. Braking is good. Acceleration is below average. Transmission and engine are still working for some reason. Structure is poor as I described above. Interior storage is average. rear seat room is tight. Paint is good. 30MPG highway. I can not recommend this car under any circumstances even if it's given to you for free. It is very poorly over-engineered. Parts quality is very poor. Construction quality is poor with cheap brittle plastic and weak adhesives holding things together. Parts cost is very high and availability is poor as it may need to be shipped from Germany. So nothing here to see-keep looking.
Worst purchase of my entire life
GLS 1.8T 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 4A)
I bought the car because it was cute, got good gas mileage, and I had always wanted one. Well, 3 years later and i've put around $22,000 into the car. First I started replacing minor things like the timing belt and the water pump, then the alternator, then the radiator, then the computer, then the air conditioning, but then i ended up replacing the engine, then the turbo, then the door, then the head gasket, then the transmission(as well as many many other things). This car has left me stranded on SO many occasions. I'm fearful to even drive this death trap. Please save yourself the heart ache, do NOT buy an older model beetle. The only reason I have held on so long is because my grandfather keeps paying to get it fixed, but this is not an inexpensive quick fix car. It will NEVER end.
Poor Quality
Stay away - engineering and quality are very poor. I bought the car new for my daugher for a graduation present. With just over 50K miles we have had to rebuild the transmission and replace the cytelitic converter. Also had numorous annoying but slightly less major problems. My daughter had to stop usign the convertible top several years ago. The darn thing is too complicated and something breaks about every third time it was used. The scary thing is that every we encountered a problem I look on the VW forums and found that many other owners are experiencing the same problem.
Worst Mistake Of My Life
Within three days of buying a 2004 Beetle convertible from a used dealer for $8,600 (incl CA sales tax and dealer fees), it became obvious the tranny had issues. (88K miles on the car.) Less than 2 months later, I've replaced the transmission, and axle, the triptronic...to the tune of $6500. I'm not into this car 15K and every week, something new (engine valve) keeps popping up. The dealer had to have known--the car didn't "know" what gear it was in the first time I took it on the highway. It only made it the 5 miles home after purchase uneventful. I've now maxed out my credit cards and even w/ the new tranny, the car is STILL shifting choppily!


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
    Rollover4 / 5
    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
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle

Used 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle Overview

The Used 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle is offered in the following submodels: New Beetle Hatchback, New Beetle Convertible, New Beetle Diesel. Available styles include GLS 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 4A), GL 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 4A), Turbo S 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6M), GL 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), GLS 1.8T 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 4A), GLS TDI 2dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6A), GLS 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), GLS TDI 2dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M), GL TDI 2dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 6A), GL TDI 2dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M), GLS 1.8T 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), GLS 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), GLS 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 5M), GLS 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), GL 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A), GLS 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 6A), and GL 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle?

Price comparisons for Used 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle trim styles:

  • The Used 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle GLS is priced between $2,999 and$4,490 with odometer readings between 136418 and159111 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2004 Volkswagen New Beetles are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2004 New Beetles listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $2,999 and mileage as low as 136418 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle.

Can't find a used 2004 Volkswagen New Beetles you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen New Beetle for sale - 7 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $9,826.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 12 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $23,039.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen New Beetle for sale - 2 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $9,297.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 5 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $10,911.

Should I lease or buy a 2004 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