Problems With the New VW Beetle

Written by chris stevenson
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Problems With the New VW Beetle
The Volkswagen has come a long way since its inception, but some say not far enough. (yellow car image by JoLin from

The Volkswagen Beetle has been kind of a retro-tradition with American car buyers, and the design and manufacture of the beetle saw a reemergence in 1998. Known for its cute qualities among consumers, the Volkswagen Beetle has endured to become part of the American driving scene. Many have been taken with its compact and traditional features. Yet all has not been roses with the new Beetle, as seen through the eyes of many reviewers, because it has its drawbacks and inconveniences.

Fuel Economy

It would be reasonable to assume that a small compact car with the dimensions of the Volkswagen Beetle would get somewhere over 30 miles per gallon for highway driving. Most of the new compact cars do deliver these figures. According to U.S News & World Report, the new Beetle scores at the very low end of the scale, almost the lowest at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. In comparison, the Smart Fortwo gets 33 miles per gallon in the city and 41 miles per gallon on the highway. Even the Mini Cooper, which costs about the same as the Beetle, boasts better gas mileage, with 26 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway.

Sticker Price

With a base sticker price starting at around $18,000 in September 2010, the Volkswagen Beetle stands on the high side of the price fence for a compact car. The Smart Fortwo, which only has two seats and does not have much of an improvement over the Beetle's seating capacity, starts at a $12,000 base price, about $6,000 less. Even the Mini Cooper, with its cute appeal and flare, costs about the same as the Beetle but offers more cargo space.

Trunk Cargo Space

Compared with the Honda Fit, the Beetle falls way short on overall capacity, having about half of the Honda Fit's trunk space. The Beetle's trunk space resembles more of a cubbyhole than a full-size storage compartment. With only 5 cubic feet of space in the convertible version and not much more in the sedan, the new Beetle would be hard-pressed to carry the belongings of four passengers to any destination, let alone proper luggage for two passengers.

Rear Seating Space

Although the rear space remains small for the sedan model, it has been reduced even more with the Beetle's convertible version, which has seven fewer inches of body width room compared to that of the sedan model, according to Car and Driver. Larger passengers would not be a good fit in the new Beetle's rear seating arrangement, since leg room has been reduced. The seat back to seat ratio is very square or at a sharp angle, offering little or no body posture recline.

Performance and Acceleration

Despite performance additions to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the horsepower rating still remains a tepid 115. The five-cylinder design has 170 horsepower. With the addition of the six-speed automatic transmission, and with the Beetle's weight of 3,194 pounds, the speed response remains slow. To reach 60 mph, it takes the new Beetle 12.4 seconds to get there, says Car and Driver. High speed passing on the highway could be a problem.


The new Beetle convertible has a problem with rear visibility with the top up or down, which can be attributed to its sloped shape. The rear passenger seat does not come with a middle seat belt, offering no cinching device for a child's car seat.

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