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.
Used New Beetle for SaleSee all for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
Most helpful consumer reviews
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.
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.
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.
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!