The Beetle

I have always wanted a beetle as my first car! my dad says they are bad cars because they need special parts and need to be fixed all the time. I really want this car, but I need to find some reviews on this car. If you have a beetle or owned one, please tell me what you thought! Thanks!

An old one or a new one? If an old one forget about it-- they are not safe for a young driver (or anyone, really).

As for a new one, I think you will find most used car ratings (such as those published in Consumer Report’s annual used car guide, which you should be able to get at the library) rate the New Beetle as “less reliable than average” or worse depending on the year and sub-model.

It’s certainly not the worst car out there, and I think your dad’s characterization of it is a little over the top, but the fact is that it is going to cost more to own and run than other cars. If you’re not going to be the one paying those costs, it’s not really fair of you to expect someone else to pay the premium for you to enjoy the “cute” factor.

Just plan on buying one once you’ll be the one buying it and maintaining it. I consider my “first car” to be the first one I bought myself, so you can still have a Beetle for your “first car” by that definition.

Beetles were still made in Mexico until just a few years ago…There are millions of them down here. But bringing one back into the United States is next to impossible. People have been known to do creative things with VIN plates, titles, and U.S registrations, but that’s a risky Cat & Mouse game…NAFTA allows PARTS to move freely across the border…

Assuming you mean the old (air-cooled) Beetle, your dad’s only half right. He forgot to mention they are slow, handle poorly in a cross-wind, and most important, they are very unsafe compared to new cars. No airbags, no crush zones, not a good car these days.

Oops - as McP points out, you’re interested in the New Beetle. It’s OK for a VW, but don’t get a turbo, and stick with a 2001 or newer. Those are ‘average’ or ‘worse than average’ in the Consumer reports ratings. Again, it’s ok for a VW, but VWs tend to be a bit more troublesome than other makes.

As far as I know the standard trick of putting a Mexi-beetle on the floorpan of an old beetle is perfectly legal since it basically amounts to modifying the old beetle.

I’m sure some people manage just to drive them up and register them too-- like those Japanese mini-trucks, just because the feds don’t allow it doesn’t mean a state won’t give you a set of plates.

But, to the OP, even a new-old Beetle is still not even remotely safe.

I have to agree with the previous responses.

If you are referring to the “old” Beetle, you need to be aware that these cars have 1930s technology at their core. In other words, every advance in safety-related chassis design of the ensuing 70 years is missing from the basic design of these cars.

Yes, there were modifications to Dr. Porsche’s original design over the years, but to use an old phrase, “You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear”.

Any small car built during the past 10 years will have better fuel economy, better acceleration, better brakes, better handling, much better reliability, a REAL heater and defroster, and most importantly–crumple zones and a rigid passenger compartment, both of which will provide protection in the event of a collision.

In any collision faster than…let’s say…30 mph, the probability of very serious injuries or death in an “old” Beetle is significant.

Edited to add:
Thank you for noticing that tag, mcparadise.
Okay, so at least she is not looking at “old” Beetles.
As was said, the “new” Beetle is not exactly a paragon of reliability.
But at least it is a safe car, even if it will need more repairs than most other cars.

C’mon, guys, Emily specified “volkswagen new beetle.” Check the tag, and stop telling her about old beetles.

New Beetles are cute, but their reputation for reliability is less than stellar. Your dad may be on to something. Find a copy of Consumer Reports annual auto issue and research this for yourself.

I know there are owners who love their New Beetles. One of them posts here on a regular basis. So they can’t be all bad. The people I know who’ve owned them, however, have had more than their fair share of problems.

Good luck.

If, indeed, you are talking about the new Beetle, your father is way off.

Like most VWs, it isn’t the most reliable car ever made, but it is good enough, and it doesn’t need special parts. The new Beetle is popular enough that parts should be easy to find.

The important question is, are you spending your money or your father’s money?

If you are spending his money, he gets to make the call, and you should move on to a car you both like.

If you are spending your money, get the Beetle. It is unfair to make you pay for a car you don’t really want.

I think the new Beetle is an OK car. A new driver should not have a new car in my opinion, but there are plenty of good used “new” version of the Beetle available. Stay away from the turbo models, they have more power (not good for a new driver) and higher repair costs too.

To keep the costs of owning a VW low you need to avoid the VW dealer and find a good independant mechanic to service the car. There are plenty of parts available from many sources so repairs are reasonable for the most part.

If you have a car to drive you’ll need to show you are responsible since a car can be dangerous. It is also an expense for gas, maintenance, repairs, and insurance so you can be responsible for some of these costs as well.

I think the size, safety features, and performance (of the non turbo version) make a VW Beatle a very good choice for a new driver. The economics and responsibilty issues of running a car are considerable, so you and dad have a few things to discuss.

I owned a VW Bug …this was like 15 yrs ago and back then it was old…I think if I remember correctly is was a very early 70s model maybe, if not older. Anyways…not safe at all and we had to have a welder put floorboards in it (i guess they rust out easily) Mine was a standard, the heater was non existent, and forget any safety features. The only thing going for it at the time was it would drive over anything. It always started (mine did at least) but was not any fun to drive. (it was the second car for six months…guess who drove it?)
I put an ad in the paper for it…vw beetle, body fair …runs okay…and I had a line at the door. Go figure. Sold it for 400 bucks that night and (x) hubby turned around and bought one of those horrendous insert fireplaces that did nothing but blow dust and very little heat. But thats another story. let us know what happens!

The “New Beetle” is little more than a Rabbit with different sheet-metal…

ok so my dad is buying the car but its going to be used…not new! I am probably looking from a 2002 or newer, if I can find a good one. My dad works with tool, so thats why he wants me to find out about this car. He said all the repair shop owners he knows don’t like taking beetles in to fix. I don’t know if he would want to get me one because of the problems. I do know some people who own beetles and they love them! I guess it depends on if my dad and I both like it; I’ll have to test drive it. Thanks for all your comments and help!

Good luck. Make sure the one you buy has a complete maintenance history (by the book) in writing. I imagine one reason shops might not like working on them is the limited room under the hood, they had to squeeze a Golf engine and transmission under that low hood.