2003 Volkswagen Beetle GLS Convertible 2.0 liter GLS from North America


An extremely unreliable and inconvenient car that comes at a high price.


I have had to service the convertible top three times. The rear passenger side convertible flap will not close fully and this causes serious wind noise with the windows down and top up.

One night, I parked my car and went inside to get something, then went back to my car, but the alarm would not work and I could not get into my car. After I unlocked it manually, the car wouldn't start. I had triple A jump the car unsuccessfully. We had to keep the battery hooked up to the jump unit and drive it down the parking garage and onto a flatbed. The car cannot be towed, so they sent for a flatbed and secured it with chains, which scratched up the rear wheel. The dealer said it was a bad battery, not a dead battery. It was replaced.

The center console wouldn't unlock after repeated tries. I finally pulled it and the plastic latch broke. It took several weeks for Volkswagon to get a replacement part.

The 6-CD changer is fickle. On several occasions, it has not worked. It gives me errors like "CD ERROR" on brand new CDs and "CHK Magazin" on random occasions. After several days, it spontaneously starts working. This time, however, it has been three weeks since it last played a CD. I have spent so much time at the dealership that I haven't even gone in to see about this problem.

The tire pressure drops randomly. There are no punctures, but I have to inflate about twice a month on random tires.

The car decides when it wants to start and when it doesn't. About 70 percent of the time, it starts just fine. On especially hot days or days when I just happen to be in a hurry or have friends in the car, it decides not to start. It takes a few attempts and then the ignition turns on.

General Comments:

The wipers are ridiculously loud. Everyone who has been in my car has commented on how loud the wipers are. Consequently, I comment on everyone else's quiet wipers.

The windows rattle over potholes if they are up with the top down.

The engine accelerates very loudly.

I tried to install satellite radio, but there are no places for the antenna to fit on the outside of the car because of its design. the antenna has to hang off of the side of the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th June, 2004

2003 Volkswagen Beetle GL 2.0 from North America


Great look and deal!


Nothing as of yet. With all of these bad comments, I am a little nervous.

When the air conditioner turns on, the idle becomes harder and louder. I need to get that checked out :)

General Comments:

Handles very well.

Good features.

I love the instrument panel!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd June, 2004

20th Mar 2005, 15:03

When you turn the air conditioner on, the compresser creates an extra load on the engine. To compensate for this, the idle speed increases. Your condition is normal.

2003 Volkswagen Beetle GLS Convertible 1.8 from North America


Fun, but probably not going to last


I was pleasantly surprised to see that VW had recalled my model (2003/4 convertible beetle) for the window latches. I KNEW mine seemed to rattle and the auto roll-down feature didn't always work. Unfortunately, my dealer didn't fix the problem. I heard a off-side comment that gave me the impression I was the first customer to request the recall/repair. Seats and floor boards are hard to keep clean and look grimy already. Dashboard is ridiculously long and makes for a strange visual. The visor may as well not be there : I have to place a hand towel and let it hang down on sunny days to keep from being blinded and sunburned (this with the top UP--not great for safety and visibility either). My driver side blinker has been looked at three times : first two times they said nothing was wrong (rapidly blinks 90% of time). Last time they went in and said a bulb had burned out. The next day? Still blinking rapidly. My headlight was also loose (have had the car about three months). The dealer acted as if I did something to it ("Someone has been fooling with this thing."). I saw another 2003 Convertible this morning whose running light on that side (they are always on when the car is on) was burned out. I thought "Uh, oh. I bet that's what's going to happen to mine too." The inside is a little loud and when you hit a bump those darn windows rattle. It's also unbelievable to me that a 2003 car would NOT have a CD player as standard. To get one you have to pay about $800 and install it in the armrest--in a car with already precious little room.

General Comments:

The colors are great (mine is Aquarius Blue and really puts people back to circa 1971!)

The convertible top is easy and has a glass window vs. a plastic one.

The sound system is good.

The tiptronic/automatic transmission is cool for those rare times you actually WANT to shift gears.

You get LOADS of smiles, waves, beeps, people pointing and folks coming up to you at the gas pump wanting to take a peek inside. Nothin' wrong with that!

The back seat is only suitable for small kids and things that wouldn't fit in the trunk.

Speaking of the trunk---mine is great. I never liked the large trunks my other cars had because I'd end up with cracked eggs and soda bottles all over the place. Nice, tight, but big enough for two weeks' worth of grocery bags. I suspect luggage wouldn't be an option though.

Car handles GREAT and is FAST. I find myself going 80 on the highway without even realizing it. Zipping in and out of lanes with no problems and never feeling like I cut anyone off, 'cause it's so small. Parking is easy and no door dings yet!

Would like to see a CD player and seriously tinted glass (or bigger sun visor) as standard equipment.

Windows are a concern in terms of rattle (people stare at the car door when they get in as if to say "What the heck was that?") and I suspect they are the reason for the inside wind noise.

Automatic car seat adjustment wouldn't hurt. This one is the old-fashioned crank-till-ya-cramp style.

You won't feel low in this car---you feel like you are at the same level as everyone else. And you definitely get a lot of fun attention.

Oh, and yes, there is a bud vase (everyone asks) :)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th May, 2004

17th Jun 2005, 11:41

We have an Aquarius Blue 2003 convertible, too, and have had our blinkers on both sides, front and back, looked at THREE times. We have been told that there isn't an electrical problem, but one time the bulbs were fine upon inspection. And the knob on the hand brake has broken off twice. The top has been repaired once, about 6 months after we got it, then totally replaced a year after that. The windows rattle all the time.

I do love my car, and all the comments and smiles, but it is getting a little old to have to call the shop once every few months!