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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First off I am very mechanical. I do most of my own work but have no experience with these VW's.

I want to get my daughter her 1st car and she wants a Beetle. Im torn as to what engine to get. Im sure the 2.5L is better than the 2L because its newer. Ive heard the 2L wasn't all that great of an engine. If I could find one in my budget I think the TDI would be a good bet but not sure how expensive they are for maintenance.

So my question is this, I have less than 5,000, she needs an automatic. What would you get your daughter for her 1st car?

Rob
 

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I want to get my daughter her 1st car and she wants a Beetle. Im torn as to what engine to get. Im sure the 2.5L is better than the 2L because its newer. Ive heard the 2L wasn't all that great of an engine. If I could find one in my budget I think the TDI would be a good bet but not sure how expensive they are for maintenance.

So my question is this, I have less than 5,000, she needs an automatic. What would you get your daughter for her 1st car?

Rob
My opinion is any automatic in your price range is problematic. There were several different automatics used in various engine/year combinations, but all have their problems. Not saying there are not thousands of them on the road, but they can and do cause trouble. The repairs run from mildly expensive to more than your budget for the entire car, depending on which one. If it is at all possible, teach her to drive an manual. The 5 & 6 speeds are very reliable.

Having said all that I have a daughter that has driven an ALH (TDI) Golf with the 01M automatic since 2006. Already replaced it once, the second one is still going strong, but they can and do break without warning and they are expensive to repair. If you buy one, I would expect problems with the auto trans at some point.

I can't speak to the gas engines, but the TDI's are very nice engines, especially the ALH engine. If she will be driving long distances, it may be a good choice. They will easily run 300,000 miles or more but you must maintain them. You cannot put off servicing - this goes double for the timing belt - or they will cause nothing but problems. If you are considering a TDI, I would read as much as you can at TDIClub Forums - Powered by vBulletin before you buy.

Whatever you decide, I would hold back some money for general repairs. It's likely in this price range it will need freshening up. If you can do the repairs, I would look around for one that needs some work. You can pick them up for cheap. They may need a couple thousand in repairs, but you know what was done and once you get it sorted out it should be good to go.

I bought a 2000 TDI earlier this year. It needed a ton of work, but now is my wife's daily driver. I wouldn't hesitate to drive it anywhere and the 40+ MPG is nice.
 

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The 2.0 is a very solid engine. I had one in my Beetle (which was my first car). The autos tend to hold up better in them than a TDI (My husband got his '01 Jetta TDI with a dead automatic and it had only 114k on it). And honestly, an auto in the TDI sort of negates the reasoning behind a TDI in my opinion...you can lose 10mpg with an auto coupled with the TDI.

I'd stick with something basic like a 2.0 or 2.5L. I don't know much about the 2.5 but I'm sure others will chime in. I loved my 2.0. It was a great little motor and had plenty of pep. I had a 5-speed manual in mine and that is about the most rock solid combination you'll get in a Beetle. I learned to drive manual on that car and I'm so glad I did. I had my car for 6 1/2 years and didn't have a ton of unexpected expenses and maintenance was very cheap (I had it all through college and had no issues paying for it). But you do have to be on top of maintenance on any of these cars you get. These aren't cars that can be neglected and run trouble-free like a Honda (and we've had a Honda too...was definitely the cheapest to upkeep car we've owned, followed by my Beetle).
 

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I'm not sure about the new beetle 2.5l. The 2012 Beetle 2.5, which I have, received a few mechanical improvements, such as better timing chain followers. As for the 2.0, it is a very good and reliable powerplant. If properly maintained, they'll give you a good run. You just gotta make sure you know the maintenance records, i.e., timing belt/water pump service.

As for the transmission, being that your daughter is 16, now is the best time to teach her to drive a manual. The new beetle 5-speeds are very easy to operate and learn; and for reliability sake, I strongly recommenced a manual over an auto. Since the arrival of the 2012+ Beetle, VW has made vast improvements in their autos with the DSG trans; but that change came about with the 2012+ Beetle. With the new beetle, i'm sure theirs good used ones out there with good auto transmissions. But for a better success rate, i'd go with the manual. Besides, the time invested in teaching your daughter to drive a manual is worth it. For a 16 yr. old, her driving experience should be more on the driving enjoyment and less of the repair aspect.

If you're dead set on an automatic, make sure you let that beetle run for a good 10 minutes to get the transmission good and warmed up before driving. An automatic shows what it truly is when it's good an hot.

All the best and please keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I was tossing around the repair route. There is a 2002 2L auto that needs a waterpump and battery. I was going to do the belt if unknown as its at 98k. The body didn't look bad. They are only asking 1200.
 

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Is the water pump leaking or did it seize? That's going to be the big question. If it seized, it very well could have thrown the timing and caused head damage. Might be worth pulling the head to check it if its unsure what's wrong with the pump.

And always replace the belt if you're doing the pump. The belt has to come off to do the job anyway. Really, just get yourself a full kit. Tensioner, motor mount bolts, coolant, etc.
 
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