2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Cute yet classic styling, lengthy standard equipment list.
- Aged design, so-so power, lack of rear-seat space and cargo room, subpar side-impact crash test results.
The 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle is a cute alternative to more traditional compacts. But unless you're wedded to the Beetle's retro chic, you'll probably want to look elsewhere for a small coupe or convertible.
It's hard to believe that 2008 will be the 11th year on sale for the Volkswagen New Beetle. When the car was originally introduced, Americans went crazy over the retro-themed "Bug" styling and cute flower vase protruding from its dash. Its popularity has waned over the years, however, even as interesting variants like the Turbo and TDI direct-injection diesel models came and went. For 2008, the New Beetle's oh-so-cool veneer has worn thin as it faces strong competition from more modern rivals.
Despite its age, the basic 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle still has a few things going for it. Based on the old VW Golf platform and available as a coupe or convertible, it still elicits smiles from passers-by while delivering solid German engineering, comfortable road manners and a fair amount of room for those up front. All the basics are covered in its standard price, and you can easily upgrade the Beetle's content through trim packages and stand-alone options.
But compared to newer rivals in a very competitive compact segment, the 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle claims no major advantage aside from its bubbly personality. Other small two-door coupes or hatches like the Honda Civic, Saturn Astra or VW's own Rabbit deliver superior utility, amenities and drivability at a similar or lower cost. As a convertible, the New Beetle makes a little more sense, as it likely will appeal to shoppers who value style over performance. But overall, we suggest taking a look at the competition first or even considering a certified-used New Beetle as an alternative.
2008 Volkswagen New Beetle models
The 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle is available as a two-door hatchback coupe or convertible in two trim levels: S and SE. Base S coupe models come with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, heated outside mirrors, power windows and locks, cruise control, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, remote keyless entry, V-Tex leatherette seat trim, satellite radio and a CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input jack. Upgrading to the SE nets you 17-inch alloys, heated front seats and windshield washer nozzles, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a premium audio system and a sunroof. Some of these features can be added to the S trim as options. New Beetle convertibles are similarly equipped, with the exception of a manually operated soft top on S models and a semiautomatic power drop top and wind blocker on SEs. The new Triple White convertible starts with the SEs standard equipment and adds -- you guessed it -- a unique white exterior, as well as a white-and-black interior theme, exclusive headrest badging and satellite radio. All models can be equipped with a trunk-mounted six-disc CD changer.
Performance & mpg
The VW New Beetle is powered by a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine that produces 150 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. Power is transmitted to the front wheels through an easy-shifting standard five-speed manual gearbox on S models. A six-speed automatic with manual shift control is standard on the SE and optional on the S. However the shifting occurs, acceleration is merely adequate. EPA-estimated fuel economy is similarly lackluster for a compact; 2008 EPA estimates for the automatic are 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway.
All New Beetles include antilock disc brakes, stability control, front seat-mounted head/thorax side-impact airbags and active front head restraints. Convertibles also feature a rollover protection system. In government crash testing, the 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle earned four out of five stars for the protection of both front occupants in frontal impacts. Side-impact testing netted a five-star rating for front passengers but only three stars for those in the rear. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the New Beetle a top score of "Good" for frontal-offset crash protection, but a disappointing "Poor" rating for side impacts.
Like other Volkswagens, the 2008 New Beetle is reasonably fun to drive and provides a smooth and comfortable ride, perfect for long trips. The suspension tuning is soft but the steering is direct and sure, making it just about right for most drivers who want to play with their Bug every now and then. The 2.5-liter engine is smooth and delivers adequate if not abundant power in most situations.
The four-passenger New Beetle may be stylish, but it's smaller inside than VW's own Rabbit. An expansive dashboard featuring a huge circular speedometer seems to dominate the cabin space up front, while the car's bubbly body pinches inward tightly against rear occupants. The open convertible is less of a problem in this regard, with a top that's easy to fold and well insulated from outside noise. With its top lowered, the Beetle convertible makes an especially classic and polished statement. Outward visibility is surprisingly poor on both the coupe and closed convertible, however, and both New Beetle styles suffer from tight rear hiproom and a lack of useful cargo space.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver4 / 5Passenger4 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger3 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
- Side Impact TestPoor
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintAcceptable
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
Used 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle Overview
The Used 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle is offered in the following submodels: New Beetle Hatchback, New Beetle Convertible. Available styles include S 2dr Convertible (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S 2dr Convertible (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), Triple White 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.5L 5cyl 6A), Black Tie Edition 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M), SE 2dr Convertible (2.5L 5cyl 6A), SE PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M), Triple White PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), S PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.5L 5cyl 5M), and Black Tie Edition PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A). Pre-owned Volkswagen New Beetle models are available with a 2.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 150 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic, 5-speed manual. The Used 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle?
Price comparisons for Used 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle trim styles:
- The Used 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle S PZEV is priced between $9,451 and$9,451 with odometer readings between 81653 and81653 miles.
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Which used 2008 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) 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2008 New Beetles listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $9,451 and mileage as low as 81653 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 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle.
Can't find a used 2008 Volkswagen New Beetles you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a used Volkswagen New Beetle for sale - 2 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $19,310.
Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 5 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $9,768.
Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen New Beetle for sale - 7 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $17,386.
Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 4 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $22,714.
Should I lease or buy a 2008 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.