Used Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback (1999 - 2010) Comfort

Review by David Ross on
Last Updated: 16 Jun 2011
3
The 'new' Beetle was the car that started the retro trend when it was introduced in 1999, two years before the MINI came along. In terms of looks, it's very much in the same vein as the original model with a similarly distinctive rounded profile.
2.5 out of 5

Comfort

While the distinctive styling helps the Beetle stand out, it has a knock on effect on cabin space - particularly in the back. The sloping roof mean's there's not much in the way of head or legroom, although younger children won't have too many problems getting in and out. There's much better space in the front, while low noise levels and a smooth ride make the Beetle relaxing on longer journeys.

Only the noise of the TDI engine can spoil things - it's rarely quiet and especially raucous when revved.

2 out of 5

Practicality

This is another area where the Beetle suffers. The boot is not only small - with 209 litres it has less luggage room than most Polo-sized hatchbacks - but it's also an awkward shape and so carrying larger objects such as pushchairs is tricky, albeit not impossible. Lifting heavy items out can be difficult too. On the plus side, there is reasonable cabin storage with twin cupholders in front of the gear lever.

The narrow door pockets aren't great though and are covered with flimsy netting. Standard on the 1.8T model is a speed-dependant spoiler which rises above 96mph to improve stability - it can also be elevated via a switch at lower speeds.

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How does the boot space compare?

Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback (99-10)
209 litres
150 litres
139 litres
120 litres
3 out of 5

Behind the wheel

While the Beetle may look funky from the outside, the interior is a bit of a let down. It's fairly drab and there's little to catch the attention apart from the unusual dash-mounted vase and body-coloured door tops - although these only stand out if you go for a bright colour. The three-spoke steering wheel is another nice touch, but the rest of it is standard Volkswagen - neatly laid out but not especially exciting.

It also feels a little dated, but build quality is good as is all round visibility, helped by the large glass area.