2009 Volkswagen New Beetle Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle was new.


Performance: 7.4

The 2009 New Beetle has a pleasing ride, with an eager engine and responsive steering and brakes. Many reviewers favorably compare the New Beetle's capabilities to another Volkswagen micro-car, the VW Rabbit.

  • "Like other Volkswagens ... New Beetle is reasonably fun to drive and provides a smooth and comfortable ride, perfect for long trips." -- Edmunds
  • "Built on a previous-generation Golf chassis, this ragtop feels Euro firm, but do not expect sports-car responses." -- Car and Driver
  • "Lacks the zoom of a Mazda3, the sassiness and smart handling of a Honda Civic Si. ... It's just an egg of a car, a motorized curio -- interesting, but not compelling." -- The Washington Post

Acceleration and Power

Acceleration is quick with the 2009 New Beetle's five-cylinder engine, which makes 150 horsepower. But some report that the New Beetle's standard five-speed manual transmission holds the car back from its full potential. According to the EPA, the New Beetle coupe should achieve 20/28 mpg city/highway with a manual transmission and 20/29 mpg using an automatic. The convertible should achieve 20/28 mpg with either transmission.

  • "Setting off from traffic lights, it feels quick." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The 2.5-liter engine delivers strong acceleration and good fuel economy, a noticeable improvement over the previous 2.0-liter engine, but is not as much fun to drive as the old turbocharged models." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • With a manual transmission, "the slow-revving 5-cylinder engine needs full throttle for best takeoffs. It feels livelier once under way, however." -- Consumer Guide

Handling and Braking

Test drivers like the New Beetle's flingability. Although its not described as the most limber small car, most reviewers had fun with it on the open road.

  • "Corners with grippy predictability, if also fairly marked body lean. New Beetle's bulky body shape can induce some crosswind wander at highway speeds. Braking is strong and sure." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The suspension tuning is soft but the steering is direct and sure, making it just about right for most drivers who want to play with their Bug every now and then." -- Edmunds
  • "The New Beetle is not as agile as a MINI Cooper, but its steering is fast, handling is good, braking is strong and the ride is firm but compliant." -- MSN
  • "On the road the Beetle offers an extremely smooth ride and handles well under normal driving conditions. Push it a little harder and its relatively soft-suspension and 16-inch all-season tires begin to show their limitations." -- Kelley Blue Book

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