New Bee­tle fad

VW’s 2000 Bee­tle has none of the old-time blues, writesGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Used Cars -

IT SEEMS we were on a nos­tal­gia trip when the new mil­len­nium ar­rived. Car­mak­ers un­leashed a raft of born-again mod­els aimed at rekin­dling our pas­sion for the past.

It’s al­ways a risk recre­at­ing a clas­sic. If it works you can look like he­roes, but if the world has moved on and you fail to in­spire a new gen­er­a­tion you can end up on the dole queue.

The most no­table recre­ations of the time were the BMW-built Mini and VW’s new Bee­tle. Nei­ther has set the world on fire; they could both be con­sid­ered cu­riosi­ties rather than mod­ern clas­sics.


WITH a ca­pac­ity of 2.0 litres the Bee­tle’s four-cylin­der en­gine had a sin­gle over­head camshaft, was fu­elin­jected and put out 85kW at 5200 revs and 170Nm at 2400 revs.

It had a five-speed man­ual gear­box or four-speed auto, with power go­ing to the front wheels.

There were power win­dows, power mir­rors, power steer­ing, re­mote cen­tral lock­ing, ad­justable steer­ing col­umn, six-speaker CD sound, fog lamps and floor mats.

A tur­bocharged model was re­leased in 2001 and had ex­tra zip in the form of a 1.8-litre dou­ble over­head camshaft tur­bocharged four-cylin­der en­gine with 110kW and 210Nm.

A more af­ford­able 1.6-litre ver­sion came a year later. It had a sin­gle over­head camshaft four-cylin­der en­gine with 75kW and 148Nm.

The range was com­pleted in 2003 with a Cabrio. It had an 85kW 2.0-litre en­gine.


THE Bee­tle is not a prac­ti­cal car for a fam­ily. It’s aimed at the young and young-at-heart who don’t have to trans­port more than a cou­ple.

The 1.6-litre Bee­tle hatch and its bet­ter-equipped Ikon cousin can be bought for $10,000-$20,000.

To have the 2.0-litre per­for­mance you need to spend $9000-$22,000.

For the 1.8-litre turbo model you’ll need to spend $13,000-$25,000.

Then there’s the open-top fun of the Cabrio, and for that you’ll spend $22,000-$26,000.


THE build qual­ity is good and there are no ma­jor prob­lems. The only ir­ri­ta­tion could come from rapid brake wear. It’s no worse than other Euro­pean cars and comes from the soft pads used for good brak­ing per­for­mance.


CON­FI­DENT han­dling gives the new Bee­tle a huge edge over its old cousin, and the safety pic­ture is im­proved with anti-skid brakes stan­dard, along with elec­tronic brake­force dis­tri­bu­tion.

Dual front airbags, seat­belt pre­ten­sion­ers and seat­belt force lim­iters are a sec­ond line of crash pro­tec­tion.


Look to get 7.0-9.0 litres/100km from the 1.6-litre Bee­tle in nor­mal use, and 8.5-10.0 litres/100km from the larger 2.0-litre model.


CUTE hatch mar­ries the past with the present without any old-time blues.

Bee­tle ma­nia: a mod­ern Volk­swa­gen Bee­tle with leop­ard paint­work and (be­low) a Bee­tle cabrio.

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