Pre-loved: Volkswagen New Beetle 2000-2016

2002 Beetle Ikon
The New Beetle arrived in 2000.


From the late 1950s and well into the ‘70s the original “dak-dak” VW Beetle was a much-loved car that sold in large numbers.

But it eventually become hopelessly out of date when compared with competitors and sales plummeted and it was taken off the market.

When Volkswagen’s New Beetle arrived in Australia in 2000 many past owners of the original model VW looked at it with loving eyes and fond memories.

Then they learned that it had a water-cooled front engine that drove the front wheels and stayed away in droves.

New Beetle began as a three-door hatchback, the back seat isn’t all that large and the shape of the rear end cuts luggage space.

A cabriolet version was launched in 2003.

Its roof is a soft-top that folds down in a somewhat bulky lump.

Somehow this doesn’t matter in a retro car but check out the big loss of rear vision during your pre-purchase test drive and you might not be so keen.

A minor facelift was introduced in late 2005, with new trim and revised bumpers being the biggest visual change.

In the first New Beetle all but the shortest of drivers will find themselves sitting closer to the back windscreen than the front one.

There’s a huge dashtop between you and the windscreen. So, the A-pillars can confuse the view out because you sometimes have to move your head to see out of it.

A new New Beetle arrived in Australia in March 2013.

It is longer and wider than the gen-one, but a little lower.

There’s more room in the back seats of the gen-two, but it’s still not exactly spacious.

Style-wise, the 2013 New Beetle is considered to be less feminine than the original model.

The stylists tell us there are elements of the American hotrod in the shape.

If you use a fair bit of imagination you might just see that…

There are major changes inside the 2013 New Beetle.

There’s no longer the feeling you’re sitting in the back of the car and peering over a vast expanse of dashtop through a small windscreen.

A variety of four-cylinder, in-line petrol and diesel engines are offered in the original New Beetle.

The petrol units have capacities of 1.6, 1.8 or 2.0 litres, the diesel is offered as a 1.9 and 2.0-litre.

The 1.8 is turbocharged and is used in the Beetle Turbo. 

Performance from the 1.6 may be marginal for some tastes, the 2.0 is generally regarded as being a lot better. 

The Beetle Turbo has decent performance but isn’t really as sporty as it may appear.

Because of its added weight the cabriolet uses only the 2.0-litre engine.

The 2013 gen-two Beetle has the quirky 1.4-litre Twincharger petrol, meaning that it has supercharger and turbocharger to provide strong torque.

It runs beside a six-speed manual or seven-speed double-clutch automated manual gearbox.

A car like the New Beetle just cries out to be optioned up in special editions and the marketing guys haven’t disappointed.

Examples are: Beetle Ikon, sold from 2002 until 2005; Beetle Miami (a hatchback, not the convertible the name suggests) from 2004; and the Beetle Sunshine, 2001 only. 

An interesting model is the Black-Orange, with paints in those colours, introduced in 2011.

A Beetle Fender, named for the guitar, arrived in 2013.

Though the New Beetle has only sold in comparatively small numbers, it’s backed by one of the world’s largest car makers and many of its parts are borrowed directly from the Golf.

This means spare parts and servicing are probably available in many areas of Australia, not just major cities. 

Body panels are likely to be the only holdup if you need them a long way from a major population centre.

Spare parts are about average in price for an imported mid-range car.

You can do a fair bit of routine servicing of a New Beetle yourself.

The under-bonnet area is reasonably accessible and the layout relatively simple.

Leave all the safety items to the professionals, please.

Insurance charges are higher than average, though not to a silly level. Some companies may charge more for a Turbo.

Sales of the New Beetle were never strong and it was quietly pulled out of the Australian market late in 2016.

Some may not have been sold new till 2017, but resale value will go by the build date — not the first-sold date.

2003 Beetle Cabriolet 1
2003 Beetle Cabriolet



The original New Beetles are getting on in years.

While many have been treated like babies others may have had a hard life and be near the end of their days.

A professional inspection should be considered a must.

Interiors of Volkswagens generally stand up well, but some that haven’t been garaged may suffer from drying out of dashboard tops, even cracking. Repairs can be expensive.

Check the interior of a New Beetle cabriolet carefully in case it has been caught in the rain with its top down.

The engines should start quickly (even the turbo-diesel, as it has fast-acting glow plugs). 

Listen for a rattling noise from the engine noises when the oil hasn’t built up to its full pressure. These could indicate major problems.

Look for smoke from the exhaust when the engine is worked hard, particularly on long uphill slogs. 

Make sure a manual gearbox doesn’t baulk or crunch on fast downchanges.

The clutch pedal should be reasonably light, even during these quick downchanges. 

Check that conventional automatic transmissions are positive in their shifts and don’t take too long to go into Drive or Reverse from Park or Neutral.

VW had long standing problems with its DSG automated manuals.

Test that it works correctly, particularly at very-slow speeds.

If you have any doubts get an expert on the DSG check it out.

Feel and look for uneven tyre wear, particularly on the front wheels.

Be aware that some sellers may swap tyres around to try and hide the wear.

2005 Beetle hard top and cabriolet
2005 Beetle hard top and cabriolet.



Budget on paying from $2000 to $5000 for a pre-2010 Volkswagen New Beetle; $5000 to $8000 for a 2013 New Beetle; $8000 to $10,000 for a 2017 model; $10,000 to $15,000 for a 2016 model; and $13,000 to $19,000 for a 2017 Classic.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 1
2013 Beetle hard top and cabriolet.



Take a friend with you when shopping for a used car.

That way they can keep the chattering sales person at bay while you check out the car without interruptions.

Used car prices have generally increased during the period of new car stock shortages.

Start looking at adverts for used vehicles several months before you intend buying.

That way you can get a feel for the price being asked and whether they are rising and falling, as dealers need to clear stock due to overcrowding.

Keep an eye on adverts for new cars that say there are specials on particular models.

This can lead to a lot of traded-ins taking up too much space in yards and they will be discounted to get rid of them.

Keep an eye open for ads of unpopular cars, as there can vary greatly in price.

Owners struggling to find a buyers may be forced to grit their teeth and drop their asking price.

If checking a used car at a dealership look at other cars on the lot. 

This can provide an insight into the quality of the vehicles in which the dealer specialises.

If buying privately ask for proof of ownership and make sure the insurance covers you for taking a test drive.

Take a slow walk around any car you’re considering, looking for obvious defects.

It amuses us how many people dive into tiny details, only to discover later a major ding somewhere on the other side of the car.

Ideally any road test of a car you’re getting serious about should be done with the engine stone cold. Early morning is best.

If you’re serious about buying a vehicle, tell the seller you would like to take it for a good long test drive.

If they insist on coming that’s understandable, but try to avoid them “selling” the car to you.

Put bluntly, ask them to shut up,

In their later years, cars with a reputation for being long lived and trouble free sometimes attract buyers who have no intention of ever servicing them.

The next owner may suffer as a result.

2014 Beetle R Line
2014 Beetle R-Line.



To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at:



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