2006 New Beetle New Car Test Drive
The Volkswagen New Beetle isn't that new anymore, but still smart and stylish. And because it's a Volkswagen, it's refined. Der Beetle combines German engineering and performance with exceptional fit and finish, and it represents a good value. As in other retromobiles, however, driver and passengers must make some concessions for style. Interior ergonomics are not as good those in a more traditional car, like a Golf, nor is there a lot of trunk space.
But the Beetle is charming. It comes in an assortment of bright, happy colors, including Tornado Red, brighter than last year's red. Its exterior and interior design details are fun and creative. On the road, the Beetle is smooth and sophisticated and handles well.
The convertible adds to the fun with its ability to drop the top. It feels tight. Volkswagen engineered a solid chassis with none of the cowl shake common on most convertibles.
The Beetle is considered a safe car. It earned top scores in the federal government's crash tests and comes with Volkswagen's excellent safety features. Just don't expect to see people looking, smiling and waving at you every time you come around a corner as much as they did when the New Beetle first hit the streets. After all, the Beetle is once again a familiar face in America.
The 2005 Volkswagen New Beetle is available as a coupe or convertible. And it comes with an assortment of gasoline- and diesel-fueled four-cylinder engines. For 2005, the coupe is offered in GL ($16,570), GLS ($18,770), GLS 1.8T ($20,940), and GLS TDI-PD ($20,010). The Turbo S model is discontinued. The convertible is offered in GL ($21,290), GLS ($18,770), and GLS 1.8T ($20,940).
The standard engine in the GL and GLS coupes and convertibles is a 2.0-liter inline-4 rated at 115 horsepower. GLS 1.8T is powered by a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder rated 150 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard on all models. For 2005, all models offer an optional six-speed automatic with Tiptronic.
For 2005, Volkswagen introduces a new diesel engine available only in the GLS TDI-PD coupe. The advanced 1.9-liter turbo-diesel uses high-pressure injection technology to produce 100 horsepower and run quieter than the current unit. Volkswagen anticipates a highway fuel economy rating of 46 mpg. A five-speed manual comes standard. An all-new six-speed automatic with the amazing twin-clutch DSG and Tiptronic is optional ($21,085).
All Beetles are well equipped. The base GL models come with air conditioning with an integrated pollen filter; a six-speaker AM/FM/cassette stereo (10-speaker on convertibles) plus for 2005 standard MP3 Player connection and a 3-month subscription to either Sirius or XM satellite radio services; central locking with keyless remote; anti-theft system; four-wheel disc brakes with ABS; tilt/telescoping steering column; clear-lens halogen projector headlamps with Daytime Running Lights; heated power exterior mirrors; cruise control; power windows; and 205/55 all-season tires on 16-inch steel wheels plus a full-size spare. Leatherette upholstery is available as a no-cost option on coupes, and is standard on the convertible. Options include CD changer prep, satellite radio service, OnStar telematics. Safety is enhanced with optional electronic stability control (ESP).
GLS adds front halogen fog lamps, 16-inch aluminum wheels with anti-theft wheel locks, power sunroof, eight-speaker AM/FM/cassette Monsoon audio system, pinch protection for the electric windows, the ability to open or close the sunroof using the driver's door keylock, and a center armrest with storage box. The option list includes leather-trimmed seating surfaces; heated front seats; a three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel; leather-wrapped shift knob and handbrake grip; heated windshield washer nozzles; satellite radio and Xenon HID headlamps.
GLS 1.8T and GLS TDI-PD models are virtually identical in standard equipment with a few exceptions. The 1.8T includes a speed-activated spoiler at the top of the rear window and an electronic locking differential (EDL) and ASR (anti-slip regulation). The TDI-PD gets Engine Braking Assist standard, while all models can be ordered with Electronic Stabilization Program (includes ASR and EDL) as an option. Seventeen-inch aluminum wheels with 225/45 all-season tires are optional only on the 1.8T, and the 6-speed automatic with DSG and Tiptronic is available only with the TDI-PD.
The convertible is available with a manual or semi-automatic cloth-lined top that features three layers to ensure excellent insulation and appearance. Volkswagen's standard Automatic Rollover Supports deploy automatically behind the rear seats to provide added protection in the unlikely event of a rollover, whether the convertible top is up or down. The system works in conjunction with the New Beetle's active head restraints.
Safety equipment on all New Beetles includes driver and front passenger dual-stage frontal airbags, side-impact airbags mounted in the seatbacks, a safety-belt pretensioning and load-limiting system, and LATCH rear-seat tether anchorage points for securing a child safety seat. The side-impact airbags are designed to protect the driver's and front-seat passenger&.