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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at buying a used Beetle for a fun car. I'm somewhat handy with tools, but not up to rebuilding an engine or anything. (I.e., I can change fluids, fix electrical problems, fix cosmetic issues).

I'm trying to decide between

1) a 1999 manual in good shape, maintained with records, already has timing belt and water pump replaced, will need new tires and battery soon, otherwise in perfect shape with 120K miles. 2.0L. Asking $2500
2) a 2006 automatic. Also in good shape. Some maintenance records. Intermittent issues with drivers electric window and door lock. 80K miles. 2.5L. Asking $6000

Cosmetically both are "perfect". No apparent engine problems. I figure the manual is more reliable in the long run, but it is 17 years old and has more miles on it (but it's only $2500 so if it lasts 2 years I come out ahead most likely). The Automatic is more recent, less rubber rot, etc., and has a timing chain instead of a belt. But that year had the timing chain tensioner problem, so will have to replace parts at 100K probably. And automatic transmissions are more complex, prone to fail with age, and expensive to fix.

Which would you pick and why?

Thanks.

-Dan
 

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As a recent entry into purchasing a NB, I agree with Billymade. Those prices also seem high. I would also advise to have any car you are considering at least scanned for trouble codes prior to purchase. These cars are very good at hiding faults that first show up as a fault code with no CEL. My purchase was a 2004 convertible with the 1.8L and a manual 5 speed. It only has 72K miles. A Beetle with 120K is approaching the time when the second timing belt replacement is due in 20 K miles, depending upon when the first belt was changed.

The Turbo S is amazing to drive and can be had very reasonably. A close second would be the 1.8L turbo with the manual 5 speed. I did drive a couple with the 2.5 and a manual and found them to be pretty peppy too. The issue I had was buying in the years where the timing chain issue was resolved, 2007+, took it out of my price range. At the bottom of my choices were the 2.0 with either transmission. I wanted a manual anyway but automatic beetles seem to be very expensive when they require repairs over 100 K miles. Good luck in your search, there are tons of Beetles out there. If you are searching CL be sure to allow for people who can't spell (ie, Volkswagon vs Volkswagen). I searched under Beetle and bug. I was surprised how many more cars showed up. I also saw some interesting insect collections!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As a recent entry into purchasing a NB, I agree with Billymade. Those prices also seem high. I would also advise to have any car you are considering at least scanned for trouble codes prior to purchase. These cars are very good at hiding faults that first show up as a fault code with no CEL. My purchase was a 2004 convertible with the 1.8L and a manual 5 speed. It only has 72K miles. A Beetle with 120K is approaching the time when the second timing belt replacement is due in 20 K miles, depending upon when the first belt was changed.

The Turbo S is amazing to drive and can be had very reasonably. A close second would be the 1.8L turbo with the manual 5 speed. I did drive a couple with the 2.5 and a manual and found them to be pretty peppy too. The issue I had was buying in the years where the timing chain issue was resolved, 2007+, took it out of my price range. At the bottom of my choices were the 2.0 with either transmission. I wanted a manual anyway but automatic beetles seem to be very expensive when they require repairs over 100 K miles. Good luck in your search, there are tons of Beetles out there. If you are searching CL be sure to allow for people who can't spell (ie, Volkswagon vs Volkswagen). I searched under Beetle and bug. I was surprised how many more cars showed up. I also saw some interesting insect collections!
Great info, thanks! This search of mine started out when I saw a Beetle for sale at the local salvage yard for $4K. I thought "I've always wanted a beetle, I didn't know you could get one so cheap!". But that one sold, so I started looking on CL. I still have the $4-6K price range in mind, which means an older model. But I don't want to buy a "money pit" so maybe I need to rethink or at least be more patient, as you say, and try to score on a Turbo S or something, still in an older model. And there's a 2013 with 40K for sale at the dealers for $11K which is calling to me, but I'm not sure I can justify something that far outside my range...

-Dan

-Dan
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, you're right -- I just tried searching Craigslist for "Beetle" instead of Volkswagen New Beetle, and got a lot more hits! There's a 2008 2.5L "Limited Edition" with 50K miles for $8300, that maybe I could talk down a bit closer to my range. Says it has "GPS and AUX". Anyone know what the "Limited Edition" model added, other than the decal under the rear window? I assume that the timing chain tensioner problem was fixed by 2008, right? (Didn't see any Turbos in my expanded search).

Thanks.

-Dan
 

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Dan, Glad that helped. If you are looking for the most hits on CL it is best to be as general as you can. That is why I search Beetle and then a second search for Bug. That way, you can be the filter. If you have lots of time, you could even search for VW, Volkswagen, and Volkswagon. I think by 2008 the chain tensioner issue was resolved but I'll let more knowledgeable folks answer that definitively. I don't know about option packages. Another thing I found was dealer ads on CL don't often identify correctly if the car has an auto or a manual. You have to check the pictures to be sure. Beetles made after 2010, I know nothing about as they were all way above my price range.

Greg
 
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