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Goin' [VW] Buggy

So, I have a chance to get a really good deal on a new 2010 VW Beetle Convertible. I’ve always wanted a New Beetle and now that they are being redesigned, it’s now or never. The issue is, I’m having hard time finding a good review of the car. A lot of what I’m finding is about the comfort, the space in the cabin, the features. I can figure all that out in a test drive. I’m very concerned with reliability as I think VW’s have a bad rap. I’m getting conflicting information from people. Consumer Reports hasn’t rated a Beetle in years. So, what do you guys think out there in Public Radio land? Is the Beetle a fun, but foolish purchase? Am I going to be wishing that I swatted it in a few years or is it a good buy?

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If you’re very concerned with reliability then this would be low on your list. CR’s repair history for the two New Beetles (hardtop and convertible) are ‘average’ three times, ‘worse than average’ four times, and ‘much worse than average’ four times. Not very promising.

I am the happy owner of a 99 new beetle (well its my wifes but I do all the maint/repair). It now has 183,000 ish miles on it. It starts and runs fine. It also is very comfy. No squeeks or rattles. The leather still looks great, the seat heaters and sunroof still work fine, and overall its been a great car. Gas mileage is really not its strong suite (unless you get the diesel). I got it for the wife becase of the 6 airbags and I love VW’s. Problem areas have been the door window regulators can fail if used in icy situations (as do many cars) at around 130,000 I needed to replace the o2 sensor and cat converter. The alternator died at around 170,000 or so. The starter is starting to get noisey and I will be replacing it soon along with the ball joints and tie rod ends and strut mounts as they are starting to show excessive wear. Overall it aged well and is going to be given to my daughter this spring. The wife allready got an 07 mustang as a replacement. Oh the paint and bofy have held up well but It has some help when my wife hit a large something on the road and insurance paid for a new front bumper and hood. Oh yea the headlights were replaced with chinese ones as they started to look real bad and were kinda getting dim even with new bulbs. The tail lights ditto as they started to fill with water. These were replaced 2 years ago.

Dont care what anyone says I love the car and Im sure it will hit 300,000 in our family if the daughter doesnt total it :slight_smile:

I have not found any really good studies of automobile reliability.  One of the best is Consumer Reports, but it also fails in the same way as other studies I have seen,

Any really good study will be based on a random sampling.  The Consumer Reports study, like almost all others, try the best they can to find a random sample.  However every one I have seen fails.  Consumer Reports are based on Consumer Reports readers.  That is not a truly random sampling. I would guess their sample includes people who are more concerned about how expensive a car may be to own than most drivers who might be more concerned about how it looks.  

Way back in the dark ages when I was studying this kind of thing, We looked at a famous study of street lights. We all know that street lights help to prevent crime. A study that GE (a maker of street lights) provided results showing a significant reduction in crime where there were street lamps compared to those without street lamps.

In the study, as I recall it was in NY state, they chose an area and put new lights in every other street, and recorded crimes reported.  At the end of the test period as you might expect the areas with the lights experienced a large reduction and they used this study to help sell new street lamps.  However someone did a further study.  They looked at overall crime in the study area.  Over all there was no significant difference in the study area.  While crime was reduced in the areas with more lights, the crime in the non-light areas when up,  In total there was very little change.  

I would suspect that there is a real difference and that VW in general has more problems than other cars, but I suspect it is far less than the numbers would suggest, since I would bet that the CR readers were more likely to complain.  

 Since 1970, I have owned three VW's including my current 2002 VW diesel New Beetle and all of them were IMO good cars.   

 Anytime you get people into a study, it makes things hard to quantify. 

Good Luck

Who is going to be driving the car–you or Consumer Reports? There should be some warranty with the 2010 Beetle. Once in a while, one ought to own a vehicle because it is fun to drive. I’m certain that the VW Beetle isn’t in the Renault Dauphine or Yugo category.

“I would bet that the CR readers were more likely to complain”

Wouldn’t that be true across all the brands?

While the CU survey isn’t truly random and it’s readers aren’t unbiased the relative ratings of different brands is still useful.