The handling, braking, road feel, engine performance (given regular fuel additives), & get up and go in comfort and safety are superb. Interior materials not so much, especially door panels and handles. Seating is comfortable after one learns to get in and out. For 2 people only unless in a pinch. Excellent mileage, 40 mpg but with higher priced diesel fuel. Repairs & parts at dealers are expensive. Powerful smooth running engine. Needs a new battery every other year or so. RR$, Ph.D.
I found out after the purchase that this TDI engine requires special oil that must meet the VW spec #505.01 which is very hard to find. Also the lower engine plastic guard must be removed every time just to change the oil. The filter is easily accessible. This engine (PD/BEW) has had some trouble with the camshafts. Which is why the special oil. Also the cam belt must be changed according to the schedule or you risk the engine blowing up do to the belt braking. Most other vehicle now use a cam chain instead of the toothed belt. It has plenty of power with the turbo kicking in. Mileage has been 40 - 43.5 mpg
This is the third Beetle I have owned since 1998. The improvements are obvious from the styling to the dropped outside mirrors for better visibility. This car isn't for everyone. It's for fun loving people who like a car that looks like no other, handles great, and performs flawlessly. it fits me to a T and I wouldn't even consider another car on the road today. It is unique.
Personally, I love the heated seats, the satellite radio, CD player, and the self dimming rear view mirror. Lets face it, I just love it.
My biggest gripe about the Beetle was the side mirror position, but VW has improved it considerably.
We scrambled to find a TDI Beetle with package 1 options including sunroof, heated seats, and leatherette interior. My wife drives it about 420 miles a week and is averaging 36-38 mpg in mostly city use. The car got about 42 mpg hwy the one time we had it on the road at 65 mph with A/C on. The 6-speed auto transmission can be shifted manually or fully auto. It shifts smoothly and quietly and the 1.9L turbodiesel spools very efficiently. The ride is a bit stiff, but it is smooth. The seats are a bit of a pain to adjust but the controls work well. Don't expect the luggage room of an SUV, but it is good for groceries and weekenders. We liked it so much we went out and bought a 2004 manual TDI too!
I like the eccentric styling, interior roominess, cabin material quality, fit and features. Its tight turning radius and the ability to go up to 560 miles on a single tank of fuel are great.
It should have more conventional seat control adjustments, an easily removable rear seat to allow extra cargo room, tasteful running board style chrome/rubber applications, the old style twin chrome exhaust tips, and a more unique sounding horn.