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My daughter would like a new beetle for her first car so it looks like I might frequent this board quite often for advice if that's what she gets. We have a deal with her, we'll match whatever she puts into it. My guess is she'll put in $2,000 - $3,000 so we'll be in the market for a $4-$6k used new beetle.

Any model years or things we should look into or avoid? It will be hardtop and an automatic, other than that, we'll take what we can get. Any model years, trim level, engine choices, etc.

I appreciate any input you can give me.
 

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Welcome and each owner here can give great input. I never had an auto but I've read about issues with early versions. Standard things to look for - good service records and recent timing belt service if its a 2.0 or 1.8


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My daughter would like a new beetle for her first car so it looks like I might frequent this board quite often for advice if that's what she gets. We have a deal with her, we'll match whatever she puts into it. My guess is she'll put in $2,000 - $3,000 so we'll be in the market for a $4-$6k used new beetle.

Any model years or things we should look into or avoid? It will be hardtop and an automatic, other than that, we'll take what we can get. Any model years, trim level, engine choices, etc.

I appreciate any input you can give me.
Whatever you do "DO NOT" I REPEAT!!! DO NOT get a New Beetle with the 01M 4Speed Automatic Transmission. They are doomed to fail and will cost you up to 7000 Dollars to fix or replace.
Personally, I wouldn't recommend a New Beetle for your daughter. They are a tinkerers dream and great if you like to work on cars but they can be a moneypit for someone that has to take the car in for repairs. They are high maintenance and will need more care than lets say a HOnda or a Toyota.
If she does have her mind made up and she does need an Automatic transmission then get a New Beetle years 2006 and up.
Starting in 2006 the New Beetle came equipt with the 2.5 5Cylinder Motor coupled with a 6Speed tiptronic Automatic transmission. This motor is a lot more durable and requires less maintenance compared to the earlier 2.0 regular aspirated and 1.8 Turbocharged engines. It has a timing chain vs. a timing belt which you more than likely will have to replace if you are buying an older then a 2006 New Beetle. Also the 6 Speed Automatic of the 2006+ New Beetle's is built a lot better than the previous versions of the same transmission and of course a Million times better than the notorious and possibly the worst transmission ever built by any car company the 01M 4 Speed Automatic.
So do yourself and your pocketbook a favor DON'T let her buy an older Beetle prior to 2006. Sure they will be attractivly priced but you will pay far more in repairs and upkeep.
So pay a little more at the beginning and save yourself a lot of headaches and money in the long term.
 

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Thanks for the info and insights, the more the better to make an informed decision. I already like what I'm hearing though for input. Keep it coming! :)
 

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Thanks for the info and insights, the more the better to make an informed decision. I already like what I'm hearing though for input. Keep it coming! :)
If you do get a "PRE" 2006 New Beetle teach your daughter to drive a stick. They are about a Million times more reliable than the Crappomatics of that era. A new clutch may cost you $300-$700 bucks but a New Automatic will cost between $5000 and $7000. You do the math ;)

Where are you located?
 

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We are in Orlando, Florida. I'd like to teach her how to drive a stick but she is really against the idea. Based on your advice, I might have to look for a good 2006 or newer, automatic with the 2.5 5 cylinder motor. I'll see how much those cost in our area and let her know if she'll need to put in more $$ if she wants a New Beetle.
 

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If you do get a "PRE" 2006 New Beetle teach your daughter to drive a stick. They are about a Million times more reliable than the Crappomatics of that era. A new clutch may cost you $300-$700 bucks but a New Automatic will cost between $5000 and $7000. You do the math ;)

Where are you located?
ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY AGREE!

The inconvenience factor of your daughter learning to drive a stick, is nothing compared to the aggravation of an pre-'06 auto transmission failing on you. I currently have a 2000 new Beetle sitting in my driveway, with a failed automatic transmission as proof.

take the reins dad, spend some time with your daughter to get her to learn driving an manual transmission car. she might not like the learning Factor initially but she will thank you for years to come.

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I'm pretty sure vw stopped using the 01M in 03 or 04.. i know someone who had an 04 turbo with the 6 speed auto.

For reliable and cheap, your best bet is a 2.0 8v with a 5-speed manual.
I don't understand why everyone is saying the 2.0 is unreliable. It's a pretty bulletproof motor as long as you keep up with the timing belt/water pump service. It's seriously not as hard as people make it out to be... but I've had 8 valve derivatives for the past 10 years.. so I've done plenty of timing belts... lol

The easiest way to tell the difference between the 4 speed and 6 speed automatics is looking at the shift gate itself.

The 4--speed shift gate will be a straight line:


And the 6-speed shift gate will have the side sport shift:

(also note that the 6-speed picture also shows a pre-06 cupholder center console)
 

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I'm pretty sure vw stopped using the 01M in 03 or 04.. i know someone who had an 04 turbo with the 6 speed auto.

For reliable and cheap, your best bet is a 2.0 8v with a 5-speed manual.
I don't understand why everyone is saying the 2.0 is unreliable. It's a pretty bulletproof motor as long as you keep up with the timing belt/water pump service. It's seriously not as hard as people make it out to be... but I've had 8 valve derivatives for the past 10 years.. so I've done plenty of timing belts... lol

The easiest way to tell the difference between the 4 speed and 6 speed automatics is looking at the shift gate itself.

The 4--speed shift gate will be a straight line:


And the 6-speed shift gate will have the side sport shift:

(also note that the 6-speed picture also shows a pre-06 cupholder center console)
VW started to put the 6 speed Tiptronic in the 03 Convertible models only. Sometime in late 04 they started putting in the 6 Speed Tiptronics in the Regular New Beetle's but I have seen 04's with the dreaded 01M 4 Speed Automatic as well. So it is hit or miss on the 04 models. Those were the early model tiptronics which actually some of them were 5 speeds. Not sure if some of those made it into the Beetle but they were short lived. I am sure the 2.0 Beetle's were fine and probably easier to mess with than the 1.8 Turbos. I actually test drove one when the First New Beetle's hit the showroom floor. That is one reason I didn't buy one then. Lack luster performance especially with that Automatic. The 1.8's are more fun to drive but can be a headache to keep up and fix.
The 2.5's starting in 06 were and are the staple motor for the VW line up. It has a timing chain which requires no real maintenance. Sure in about Zillion Million miles it could get loose but it will never break like the Timing Belt will. So even if not entirely maintenance free it is a lot less headaches than the timing belt models of yesteryear and one less thing a Dad or the daughter have to worry about.
The Automatics of that era are more reliable yet not bulletproof and do require regular scheduled fluid changes.
The 2.5 offers decent performance with not so good fuel economy. But overall if it were my daughter that has her mind set on a Beetle rather than a boring but more reliable Toyota or Honda then I would be sure to get one that won't be sitting in the garage most of it's time. ;)
 

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I agree do not buy a 2001 new beetle because I first hand have had serious issues with the one I had. It caught on fire last spring while I was driving due to a hot loose wire. I swear I put more money in that car then what it was worth. I had a 2003.5 for a seven months and I didn't have any issues with that car at all. But i have heard that the 03 models had several issues. I now have a 2006 and 2008 bug and they have been great to me. Not any issues at all. I'm so glad that I don't have to look at a check engine light anymore. Very irritating to look at! My 01 engine light stayed on for most of the five years I had. Even when I had the work fixed it would come back on a week later. So your daughter should really look into buying a 06 and up. 2006 models are not expensive at all. I paid 9,000 for mine last year. I'm not sure how reliable a 2005 model is.
 

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VW started to put the 6 speed Tiptronic in the 03 Convertible models only. Sometime in late 04 they started putting in the 6 Speed Tiptronics in the Regular New Beetle's but I have seen 04's with the dreaded 01M 4 Speed Automatic as well. So it is hit or miss on the 04 models. Those were the early model tiptronics which actually some of them were 5 speeds. Not sure if some of those made it into the Beetle but they were short lived. I am sure the 2.0 Beetle's were fine and probably easier to mess with than the 1.8 Turbos. I actually test drove one when the First New Beetle's hit the showroom floor. That is one reason I didn't buy one then. Lack luster performance especially with that Automatic. The 1.8's are more fun to drive but can be a headache to keep up and fix.
The 2.5's starting in 06 were and are the staple motor for the VW line up. It has a timing chain which requires no real maintenance. Sure in about Zillion Million miles it could get loose but it will never break like the Timing Belt will. So even if not entirely maintenance free it is a lot less headaches than the timing belt models of yesteryear and one less thing a Dad or the daughter have to worry about.
The Automatics of that era are more reliable yet not bulletproof and do require regular scheduled fluid changes.
The 2.5 offers decent performance with not so good fuel economy. But overall if it were my daughter that has her mind set on a Beetle rather than a boring but more reliable Toyota or Honda then I would be sure to get one that won't be sitting in the garage most of it's time. ;)
It all depends in your frame of reference... A 2.0 is plenty fast for a new driver. When I was going through school, I had my dad's 1980 mercedes non turbo om617 diesel. You had to keep that thing floored to stay at highway speeds.. and i still got speeding tickets in it.

Compared to that car, a 2.0 automatic is a rocket ship. I should know, I have a 99 Cabrio with the crappy 2.0 with 01M combo and it's stupid fast for what it is.

I'm not saying don't get a 2.5 if you can afford it, it will be much more reliable in the long run. But if it's out of your price range, a manual transmission equipped 2.0 will be the easiest and cheapest to keep maintained.
 

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Awesome stuff, just the type of info I was looking for. Thanks everyone for your input. Feel free to keep adding but consensus seems to be 2006 and newer, 2.5 with a manual transmission if possible, if not, then the 6 speed automatic.
 

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Whatever you do "DO NOT" I REPEAT!!! DO NOT get a New Beetle with the 01M 4Speed Automatic Transmission. They are doomed to fail and will cost you up to 7000 Dollars to fix or replace.
Personally, I wouldn't recommend a New Beetle for your daughter. They are a tinkerers dream and great if you like to work on cars but they can be a moneypit for someone that has to take the car in for repairs. They are high maintenance and will need more care than lets say a HOnda or a Toyota.
If she does have her mind made up and she does need an Automatic transmission then get a New Beetle years 2006 and up.
Starting in 2006 the New Beetle came equipt with the 2.5 5Cylinder Motor coupled with a 6Speed tiptronic Automatic transmission. This motor is a lot more durable and requires less maintenance compared to the earlier 2.0 regular aspirated and 1.8 Turbocharged engines. It has a timing chain vs. a timing belt which you more than likely will have to replace if you are buying an older then a 2006 New Beetle. Also the 6 Speed Automatic of the 2006+ New Beetle's is built a lot better than the previous versions of the same transmission and of course a Million times better than the notorious and possibly the worst transmission ever built by any car company the 01M 4 Speed Automatic.
OK OK OK...do you have to keep rubbing it in??? LOL.

We are in Orlando, Florida. I'd like to teach her how to drive a stick but she is really against the idea.
Welcome to you Orlando. Iggy and I are in Tampa. Good to see another orger in the area. I do hope that you talk her into learning to drive a stick. It is a badge of honor that not many people, much less girls hold anymore. I taught all of my girls to drive stick and they look back now and are grateful that they are one of the few that knows how. Whenever a problem comes up involving a friend's car that happens to be manual, they are happy to say they can take the wheel because they are the only one in the group that can :D

ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY AGREE!

The inconvenience factor of your daughter learning to drive a stick, is nothing compared to the aggravation of an pre-'06 auto transmission failing on you. take the reins dad, spend some time with your daughter to get her to learn driving an manual transmission car. she might not like the learning Factor initially but she will thank you for years to come.

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I agree do not buy a 2001 new beetle because I first hand have had serious issues with the one I had. It caught on fire last spring while I was driving due to a hot loose wire. I swear I put more money in that car then what it was worth.
Iggy is a 2001 and she has so far been quite reliable, even with a transmission that is doomed to self destruct (I will be taking advantage when it does and doing a manual swap-here's hoping I can find a turbo S manual when I do need to swap). It's all in the maintenance. The new beetle is a very high maintenance car. That is why it is better suited to a tinkerer than it is to somebody that will be taking it to a mechanic every time it needs something little (which will be frequent).

I agree with all of the above. The 2006+ model is the way to go for sure and I would have done it if I could have afforded it. The peace of mind of a timing chain alone would have been worth the money if I could have gotten one.
 

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As far as drivetrain is concerned, He's spot on about a pre-'06. You'd be fine with a 2.0 with a manual trans. However keep in mind that a 10-13 year old new beetle will start running into some basic wear& tear issues, especially with some assorted sensors. If you shop around, you should be able to find a well maintained new beetle. Still, you might want to ask if any sensors have been replaced i.e. crank position for starters.

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As far as drivetrain is concerned, He's spot on about a pre-'06. You'd be fine with a 2.0 with a manual trans. However keep in mind that a 10-13 year old new beetle will start running into some basic wear& tear issues, especially with some assorted sensors. If you shop around, you should be able to find a well maintained new beetle. Still, you might want to ask if any sensors have been replaced i.e. crank position for starters.

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I agree with all that's been posted. We all love our NBs and VWs and we show it with the smiles we wear as we drive them here and there!


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i agree with DO NOT GET A 01M!
mine has the 01M, i replaced all of the solenoids and wire harness, it is working good right now, i caught it before any damage was done but you never know what happened with previous owners, anything 03 and up is ok with an automatic.
i don't think there is a bad engine for the NB so it doesn't matter which one it has.
make sure that you do the timing belt, tensioner and waterpump if there is no documentation to show when it was done.
 

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It all depends in your frame of reference... A 2.0 is plenty fast for a new driver. When I was going through school, I had my dad's 1980 mercedes non turbo om617 diesel. You had to keep that thing floored to stay at highway speeds.. and i still got speeding tickets in it.

Compared to that car, a 2.0 automatic is a rocket ship. I should know, I have a 99 Cabrio with the crappy 2.0 with 01M combo and it's stupid fast for what it is.

I'm not saying don't get a 2.5 if you can afford it, it will be much more reliable in the long run. But if it's out of your price range, a manual transmission equipped 2.0 will be the easiest and cheapest to keep maintained.
Agreed 100%

My first car was a 2.0 with the 5-speed. It was plenty peppy. I could have certainly gotten into trouble with it if I wanted to :p It was a solid little car for sure. I had it for 6 1/2 years, it got me through all of college, both undergrad and grad school. That said, I could do some of my own work, and what work I couldn't do, I had a very good mechanic. I didn't have much that needed to be done to it other than standard maintenance, but I kept up on all of that stuff very well.

I would echo others. Either a 2.0 5-speed, or a 2.5L if you have to have an auto. But I would get her to learn a manual. Its an invaluable skill to have. And its so much fun once you learn. And she'll be more aware of the car...and one more thing to do to keep her hands off of a cell phone or other distraction. My parents bought me my car without my knowledge so I had no choice but to learn. And I couldn't be happier.

But keep in mind that VWs are not Hondas. They need to be kept up with maintenance, no ifs ands or buts about it. If you are looking for something cheap and easy, a VW isn't it. I love them, we have 3 VWs at home now. But we do our own work for the most part. We had a Honda for 4 years too...as boring as it was, it was really nice having a car we didn't have to put much into.
 

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Wow. The hate for the 01m. I bought N00ber back in May. I didn't research too much when i bought him. He has the 01m transmission. He has 125k on him and he shifts great for a 10 year old car. Not saying it will fail (knock on wood), but i have had a couple Chryslers with transmissions in them where people said they were crap, and i didn't have any problems.
I am a poor fast food employee and i worry bout the eventual maintenance but i wouldn't give N00ber up for the world, unless that world is a convertible, or a limited edition beetle... :cool:

That said, the cars are like teenagers. Needy, and attention craving. But i wouldn't have it another way.

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Well Now..

Der Stuka was an 02 with an 01M in him. He ran strong when I traded him. I heard all the horror stories about the 01M and was preparing to have a transmission transplant one day in the future. I had heard it would be $2k-$3.5K to have a 5 speed put in.

When we were in Kokomo Indiana we met a VW NB owner with a 2000 TDI with an 01M who just turned over 300,000 miles on the same tranny. True he was super anal about his fluids and doing the routine maintenance, but 300K on any tranny is a sexy thing. That's when I pretty much stopped worrying about the tranny until I would actually need to.

The folks who bought Der Stuka had the car checked by a euro savvy mechanic who knows transmissions and he gave them the thumbs up. Maybe I was lucky, Maybe it was the TDI. Michelle had a TDI with a 01M tranny crap out on her as well. Cup also lost an 01M transmission recently.

A 10 year old car is a crap shoot anyway. I hope all the care and maintenance we put into Der Stuka pays off for his new owners. We spent more on him in repairs then we did buying him in the first place. Now that all the major issues were addressed he should be good for a long time.

I would save a few bucks more and get a later model NB with a stick in it for your daughter. The timing belt issue is a pain in the butt. I'd also try to find a 2.5 to avoid it.

Just my one cent worth

Chuckie
 

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Teach your daughter to drive properly and get a manual, end of.

Better gas mileage, more control, more fun and easier to fix (if it breaks).
 
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