I have a 2000 Beetle. I live in WI and this car has been pampered... no winter driving, no salt. Back in 1999 I looked so forward to buying my first Volkswagen. Today, with only 29,000 miles on the car I can express the following disappointments:
1) I have had to replace both window rocker switches;
2) Twice the window has become stuck in the down position requiring work from the dealership;
3) The gas hinge sticks (I have to use a credit card to wedge it open;
4) The back trunk door usually requires 2-3 clicks on the remote to totally release.
Signed, frustrated in Wisconsin.
I own a 2000 Beetle Turbo GLS and am very happy with it. The car has 35,000 miles and is rarely at the dealer. I'm not stupid; I bought a 7 year bumper-bumper warranty and purchased the car at a reputable dealership. These Beetles have a ton of electronics, all of which I enjoy. In reading a lot of the reviews listed here it seems many people blame the car for their bad experiences, not their decision to not protect themselves with an extended warranty or the dealership they did business with. I just added an upgraded ECU to the 1.8T engine. My little red Beetle now has 183hp and 220lb-ft of torque to play with. For the $21,600 I paid for the car I'm overjoyed with what I got.
I have a 2000 New Beetle. It has been back to the dealer one time and that only for the one or two thousand mile checkup. Oil change was supposed to be free and a free wash job. I had to pay for some of the work, but have been afraid to take the car back since and it has 38,000 mile on it now 8/24/05. The check engine light has been on about two years and has created no problem. I would just like to know how to turn it off as it must come on for psychological aggravation. This car was purchase Oct 31, 1999 as is certainly is a pleasure to drive and park. We enjoy it very much, but dread having to take it to the dealer as we know it will be very expensive for them to guess at any of the problems that may not exist. Can we find how to turn off the check engine light.
When I purchased my 2000 "New Beetle" I assumed, being an import car, that it would also require some regular maintenance as well as slightly more expensive repair if required. However, I was also under the impression that Volkswagen was a quality manufacturer, and still held unto some confidence in my purchase.
The car is aesthetically designed. Besides looks, a lot of features lured me to it, such as a very large back window with good visibility, comfortable seating, and compact size. As well as plenty of luxury additions such as fog lights, automatic locks, moon roof, and heated seats among many others usually only found in more expensive vehicles.
It drives stiff and you feel every inch of the road you travel on, but this happens to be something I prefer, others may not.
It does burn oil faster than normal, I was informed of this rather early at least, and simple oil changes more frequently than the average isn't much a problem. I also have to flush the system completely every few months and use higher-grade oil to keep the sludge build-up at a minimum.
At first the price tag seemed like a bargin, but over time I've put more than 3 times the value of the car into constant repairs.
In fact, my car is in the repair shop every month since I've owned it, with repair bills soaring over thousands of dollars. I wouldn't recommend this car for the typical driver. If you're an enthusiast with the money and time to invest in it, it's a wonderful novelty vehicle. For the younger person still trying to pay off college loans like myself, I find it to be a heartache and regret owning it.
Just some of the issues I have had with it:
-The original tires weren't very well designed for icy conditions, and the car tends to slide easily (most likely because of its lesser mass). I had to replace them all fore tires with better treads. I still wouldn't reccomend this car for regions with harsher winters, it doesn't handle very well.
-Battery died twice. Replacing it is a pain, its located in a very difficult area to get to. Also had to replace many elements to find out what was draining the battery so much.
-The Radio console shorted out twice, WV refused to make good on its warranty. The included speakers are of a very low quality with almost no bass sound.
-The hazard switch went, which would disable both my exterior turn signals randomly. There was no way to tell while inside the car that my turn signals were not functioning. Very dangerous.
-My first oil change, the dip stick extension shattered in the employee's hands. It also has leaked oil all over my engine. Poor quality and craftsmanship.
-Another car tapped my bumper at 5mph in a parking space, which left some paint on her own, but cracked mine. Seemed like a typical and simple fix that her insurance was going to cover and I wasn't worried, it was just cosmetic. Her insurance sent me a copy of the bill as proof of payment of my bumper repair, it totalled at $3,000...Ridiculous.
-Various hoses, belts, and joints of the car and engine break spontaneously. About one thing will ware out every month. Unless you're willing to tear apart the plastic cover decorating the engine, its difficult to diagnose anything yourself.
-The air conditioner died only after one year.
-There is almost always air coming through the car, which besides being uncomfortably cold also tends to build a foul oder. All filters are new, all vents closed, the car is cleaned internally every which way possible, and yet no one can figure out the source or cause of the pungent breeze. Its like a Seinfeld episode I once saw.
-The axel had to be replaced after 3 years.
-The boots have been replaced twice for leaking.
-The transmission died.
-The car overheats and stalls for no apparent reason, my repair shop cannot find the issue for this even after about 10 different parts being replaced.
The dashboard lacks a true temperature gauge, instead it has an icon light that simply turns color when it hits some magic number of degrees. Therefore, it's a fair bit too late to react when it finally does set off the alarm. On other occasions the alarm would set off without the engine even being warm yet, or not detect a temperature at all.
-The paint, especially around the handles, is peeling. Paint job discolors and scratches easily.
The car is only 5 years old, and has been repainted twice, and still it begins to degrade.
-The headlights/tail lights burn out every few months. They can be replaced easilly by oneself, but it shouldn't occur that often in the first place.
-In one repair, the airbags were accidently disconnected, the dashboard never indicated this. The mistake was only discovered several months later when a similar repair was done. I'm not wildly confident they work at all, or at least the sensors. In yet another repair, we found out one of my seatbelts weren't properly anchored and would have ripped free had there been a sudden force.
-The heated seats' elements have burned out 3 times, only being used on a moderate temperature.
-The brakes needed to be replaced only after 3 years.
-The gear shaft's lighting goes out sometimes, which in the dark you cannot tell which gear you just adjusted into. Luckily, there is also a digital gauge on the dashboard, but its still annoying and mildly dangerous.
-The brake switch sensor breaks every year. This makes the car get stuck into "park". I've been stuck in drive-through's and had to be towed out with a special truck, extremely embarrassing and scary.
I was told that this is an extremely common problem, but VW wouldn't recall the part nor warranty it for breaking so frequently. I'm constantly getting stranded places from this issue, and repairs only seem temporary.
-The car will sometimes stall out for a moment when reaching high-speeds on the highway, also extremely dangerous.
-The clock and radio sometimes reset themselves with no notable cause. I don't typically use either, but it might be an annoyance for other drivers.
-The driver side key hole, one almost has to jump on the key to make it turn, despite being lubricated to the point its almost dripping. The remote isn't so well made either, and falls apart habitually or plainly doesn't function.
-The rear hatch doesn't open as intended. It will lock again if you do not open it within 3 seconds from pushing the remote button, or interior one. Which means, opening the truck is a 2 person task.
-On occasion the vehicle will not start.
-Interior isn't well made, quite a bit of pieces and parts have just fallen off (seat belt caps for an example), buttons worn, dysfunctional or falling off completely, fabric tearing or otherwise deteriorating, the moon roof's seal isn't that tight and sometimes leaks. The dashboard is gauged, scratched, and beaten from all the replacements on the console.
Minor interior issues:
-fabric picks up dirt, pet fur, etc like flypaper. Very hard to keep clean.
-The large dashboard collects dust and is fairly unusable.
-The built-in beverage holders can maybe hold a Dixie cup, but forget anything else.
-Not enough creative storage use for everyday items.
-side impact airbags built into the seat means you cannot use any seat covers. Although I appreciate the safety feature, I wish they had picked a cleaner fabric to use to make up for this.
At first I thought I might have picked up a lemon, but the more I speak to other owners of not just the new beetle, but other VW cars, the more I find out that its just not a reliable brand.
I wish I could trade or sell this one off, but its just not safe, and currently is nothing more than a lawn ornament. It's a shame really, the beetle truly is a "cute" car, but it's a failing investment.
My advice is to steer clear of it, that is if you can get your drive shift out of "park."