Was: Movie ... German Car ... Boston, Now: Far from Boston

Taka Mizutani t44tqtro at gmail.com
Fri Jun 2 18:18:17 EDT 2006

Your experience differs greatly from mine.

Our New Beetle is a 2001 2.0 automatic GLS, no options. It has been fairly
but the design of the seat airbag harness caused it to rub against either
the seat frame
or the rails, causing a short that has caused much grief and several trips
for service due to
the airbag light.

The engine was replaced at about 40k due to excessive oil consumption- over
1.5quarts in
1000 miles. No oil consumption issues since the replacement- I broke in the
engine fairly hard,
with two 1k intervals using dino oil and then 5k intervals using Castrol
Syntec and Mobil 1 with no
issues with consumption, keeping the revs under 3k and speeds below 70mph
for the first 1k. That
seemed to work well for this car, but the whole thing was a PITA, including
the dealership's promise
to cover a rental car that all of a sudden on the return of the car became
"I never said that." The
dealership also tried to charge additional labor to install the water pump
and timing belt. When I
asked about that, the service writer hung up on me and the service manager
stonewalled me when
I confronted him about this issue about 30min. after I got off the phone
with the service writer.

Also, both door handles have had their rubber coating peel off, the
cupholders in the console have
cracked, there are several rattles, the center armrest doesn't move smoothly
and for some reason,
causes the plastic trim around the hinge to come apart.

The windshield pitted in 7k city miles (no highway at the time), that is

The finish of the car is poor- the paint requires major work to clean up
even in a reasonable interval of
waxing- clay bar, compound, glaze and wax with a buffer or the car looks
like crap.

The air filter is a major PITA to service- you need to remove most of the
intake to get to it.

The cabin filter requires disassembly of the upper dash to replace.

The headlamp bulbs require a lot of disassembly to access.

Overall, the entire design is very poor from a servicing standpoint. The
overall build quality, reliability
and dealership experience has soured us on VW pretty much permanently (and
we've been to seven
VW dealerships for service). The worst part is that getting rid of the car
now with 70k miles on it will
result in approx. $14k of depreciation over 6 years. The car is immaculately
maintained but the car
wears very poorly, unlike the Audis.

Build quality, quality of parts, reliability, service and parts pricing, the
dealership network are all reasons
why I would not consider the VW New Beetle to be a good car, notwithstanding
the design issues. I feel
well-protected, though.

As for good designs, I still think the class-leading minivans have the most
innovative design elements.
They just need to make a Honda Odyssey that can pull 0.90g, slalom at over
65mph on R&T's course,
do 0-60 in under 6s, response of a BMW 5 series and cost under $40k. :-)


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