2003 Volkswagen New Beetle
Power150 @ 5,800 rpm
Transmission5-spd man w/OD
MPG24 City / 31 HWY
Blue Book® Price (Fair)$2,050 - $2,750
Warranty48 months/50,000 miles
J.D. Power Rating
2003 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 1.8T 2dr Hatchback OverviewWhen it arrived in 1998, Volkswagen's New Beetle rekindled the magic of its legendary namesake and became a ray of sunshine in an all-too-serious car market.At that time, we asked: Where's the convertible? We've been asking that question every year since.Finally, it's here.
The question now becomes: Did they wait too long? Volkswagen's New Beetle is no longer that new, having been around for about six years now.With the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Ford Thunderbird, Mini Cooper and other retrospective designs stealing headlines, the Beetle no longer basks in the retro-fad limelight.
Beetle remains a stylish car, however.And because it's a Volkswagen, the Beetle is a refined car.It combines German engineering and performance with exceptional fit and finish, and it represents a good value.Like other retro-mobiles, however, driver and passengers must make some concessions for style.Interior ergonomics are not as good those in a more traditional car, such as the Golf.Nor is there a lot of trunk space.
Drop the top and all these concerns are blown away, of course.The New Beetle convertible is good fun.It's also tight.Volkswagen has engineered a winning chassis with none of the cowl shake common on most convertibles.New for 2003, Beetle convertibles are offered with a choice of trim and 2.0-liter or 1.8-liter turbo engines.Introduced for 2002, the Beetle Turbo S is fun, too, though its fun is best measured with a stopwatch.
The standard Beetle is still cool, too.It comes in an assortment of bright, fun colors.Its exterior and interior design details are fun and creative.On the road, the Beetle is smooth and sophisticated and handles well.It's considered a safe car.Beetle earned top scores in the federal governments crash tests and comes with Volkswagen's excellent safety features.Just don't expect to see people looking, smiling and waving at you every time you come around a corner as much as they did when the New Beetle first hit the streets.After all, Beetle is now a familiar face in America.
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