I am considering purchasing a VW Beetle

Do I need to purchase a brand new VW beetle to get the best for my money in safety, milage, and environmental consciousness?

The 1968 model provides all you are asking for, so buying new is not necessary.

In order to get the most for your money, the best value is usually a used vehicle.

In order to get the most in safety and fuel economy, there are better models out there.

To get the best for your money in terms of environmental consciousness, I would look to Honda’s new Insight model. It will compete directly with the Prius for about $4,000 less.

If the 1968 Beetle is the safest car you can get for your money, then I am the Statue of Liberty.

No. There are many other choices offering a good combination of the things you list.

Would help to know what you’re driving now. Keeping your current car (if it gets decent mpgs) is normally the more ‘environmentally conscious’ thing to do.

As others point out, and Tom and Ray will confirm, the old beetle was a death trap on wheels, but good value for money other wise. It also polluted about 20 TIMES!! as much as a new small car!!!

ANY New Beetle is very poor value for money; nearly all cars today are quite safe, and there are some very good econoboxes, such as the Yaris, and others that cost thousands less then the New Beetle and are as safe or safer.

A good used car is the best value for money. A mid size Detroit car such as the Buick Regal, 4 years old has a lot of life left in it, is safe, and dirt cheap to buy. It’s also MUCH CHEAPER to repair than ANY New Beetle! A used Chevy Cobalt is also very cheap to buy and cheap to repair.

If you are really environmentally conscious, again the New Beetle is poor value; the mileage is awful compared to a Prius(the best), or a small econobox such as the manual Yaris. The New Beetle with a diesel still gets worse miles per gallon than a cheap Japanese or Korean econobox costing many thousands less. Henry Ford II once joked that “people will pay almost anything for an economy car”!

Once you sort out your priorities, we can help you refine your best choice of transportation.

The Beetle had a great impact on American driving priorities. Over the past 30 years, that car has been replaced by the Toyota Corolla as having the biggest influence in driving considering your safety, mileage, the environment and cost in my very humble opinion. What comes close ? It is and has been at or near the top in non hybrid mileage for any non diesel excepting sub compacts and it’s drive train is pilfered for use by other car makers from compacts to sports cars. It stands alone now as one of the most if not the most influential cars of all time in those areas.
It remains the “no brainer” of value in any of it’s forms; Nova, Prism, Vibe, Matrix, Corolla, Scion and Lotus?

dagosa; I agree with your post, but have some difficuly with “Lotus” in your list. Lotus is an expensive and very unreliable sports car, made in England by a division of Proton, the Malaysian National Car Company. Lotus occupies a niche of its own which has nothing to do with safety or environmental correctness.

Do you need a Beetle? For the best in environmentally friendly cars in your price range, you should get an Insight or a slightly used Prius.

Lotus is a race car that happens to be street legal. The base engine is a Toyota 1.8L; moved from the front of the car to behind the cockpit. I think that the drive train is more reliable now than it was when Lotus supplied the engines. OTOH, a Lotus is driven hard, while most Corollas are not. That should cause a lot of problems, too.

If you want a New Beetle, you will get more for your money buying a used one. The newest generation started in 2006. The steep initial depreciation will be done if you buy a 3 year old car. A 2006 will be as safe as a 2009 and much safer than the older generations. It hasn’t changed a lot since it was reintroduced in 1998. But if you like it, buy one and enjoy it. Just realize that there are cars in its segment that are better at everything that the New Beetle. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own one, just know what you are getting into.

I don’t pretend to say the Lotus is an eco car…just mentioned to show the flexibility of the Corolla drive train, hence the {?} at the end of the statement by the “Lotus”.

Agree, the engine is the best part of the Lotus; the rest is thrown together to get the maximum performance at minimum weight. If you have money and don’t use it as a daily driver, it’s a great little car!

i owned a '99 Turbo Beetle for 5 years(weep)and i dumped a lot of money into it that would’ve been better spent on a GTI(hindsight is 20/20 and all that…);but seriously,Beetles are totally form over function~as in they look neat,but you’d be much better off buying a Golf/Rabbit Diesel(45mpg) or a used 1.8 Turbo(30mpg)(the 2.5 litre 5cylinder engine isn’t THAT thrifty with the fuel.)the Beetles are kind of difficult to drive,the doors are really tall and slab-sided(you can’t see to your sides well~run over curbs,etc.)take a look,next time you see a Beetle on the road…almost EVERY ONE is all banged-up on their running boards.there’s a HUGE blind spot from the large A-pillar in the front windshield(i almost got waffled once,guy was coming straight at me,i couldn’t see him because of the A-pillar)you can’t see out of the back very well.and the big thing that i never could get over:the dash is like 3feet deep…you’re sitting in the middle of the vehicle,waaayy back from the windshield,i always felt that was weird

ANY New Beetle is very poor value for money;

I would not say that. There may well be some better values, but frankly the NB is not much difference than any other similar cars.

The New Beetle with a diesel still gets worse miles per gallon than a cheap Japanese or Korean econobox

I can't say what those other econboxs get but I get low 50's in the city and low 60's (MPG) on the road.  (2002 NB TDI 81,000 miles so far)  

 That said, I am sure it is not the best car for all people, but it is not a poor choice for someone that wants what it can deliver.

I love the Elise but it was never intended to be a daily driver. Unless you daily race in closed circuit road races.

It’s engine is a highly modified Corolla engine. The ride compares favorably only to a go-cart, and then only slightly favorably. You could double the seat padding by carrying a folded handkerchief on your pocket. And your pocket will be the only available space large enough to carry a folded handkerchief.

But the mileage is 29 mpg! And acceleration 0-60 is in the 4 second range! Granted, it’s a VERY noisy 4 seconds.

If you’re looking at a New Beetle, I recommend you list your priorities. I own a 2002 New Beetle TDI. Here are my observations:

Every small repair costs big money. Headlight: $70 - $90. If you’re handy, you might be able to replace the headlight yourself but prepare for cursing, annoyance, bleeding knuckles and probably giving in and paying the excessive cost to replace the light. You see, everything on a New Beetle has been engineered to fit into a small space. It seems easy, but in practice it’s not.

Second, every big repair costs big money. A new serpentine belt? Be prepared to spend around $1000. And suddenly, your air conditioner will start pouring out hot air. Cost? About $800 because the shop has to take the entire dash out to replace or repair the cable that regulates the air that comes into the car.

On the positive side, the Beetle has an amazing amount of space for two passengers. Not so much for the poor sucker that has to sit in the back seat. The sound system is good. The heated seats work like a charm. TDI gets pretty good mileage if you don’t buy an automatic and drive at a reasonable (slow) pace. And it’s darn cute!

If you want cute, consider adopting a puppy. If you want reliability and bang for your buck, buy a Toyota.

“A new serpentine belt? Be prepared to spend around $1000.”

I REALLY hope that you meant to say timing belt. While that price is high for a timing belt replacement, if it really costs that much for a serpentine belt replacement, then VW’s design is truly flawed.

If you really were referring to the serpentine belt, then I think that I just found one more reason for not buying a VW.

Linda is certainly right about the headlamps. I believe you can blame that on the “beetle” design making it difficult to get to. It also has made some other accesses more difficult.

Second, every big repair costs big money.

Of course, but then I don’t know of any car that would be different.

Otherwise, with the exception of the serpentine belt cost (that would be about right for a timing belt with a new water pump (I got mine done for about 800) Linda’s comments are right on.