2008 Volkswagen Beetlebeige ragtop - Los Angeles, CA10/21/2008
After 5 years in Los Angeles, I decided I wanted a convertible. If you know anything about the convertible market, you know it's pretty limited. If you want something for less than $30k, you're down to about 3 models.
Aesthetically, the bug convertible was the only one that suited me, but I wouldn't have gone for it if it didn't perform well. This is my first European car (after a Toyota and an Oldsmobile), so I was a little wary of handling and suspension. The first car I test drove was base model automatic and was extremely uncomfortable and hard to turn. The SE handles considerably better and over the course of the past year, is a pleasure to drive.
For a small car, I would appreciate better gas mileage, but it consistently gets about the same mpg as my old 4dr alero sedan.
Little things I've noticed:
I was completely ignorant about the kind of exterior maintenance a soft top convertible requires, especially because it's a beige top and I do not have a covered garage situation. I spend a lot of time dry brushing the top and shampooing it. Be forewarned.
I can't seem to find the right adjustment for the steering wheel height. The place where it's most comfortable for driving has the wheel blocking the speedometer reading. Inconvenient, but not a deal breaker.
My one issue with quality is that a rattling in the window started a few months in. It's especially noticeable in highway driving, but is pretty consistent. I will take it in at some point to have it checked out, but have not done so yet.
And finally, while two door cars are notoriously difficult to get in and out of, this isn't terrible. The front seats, rather than just bending forward, lift up and forward, giving considerably more leg room to get out. This is NOT the case with the EOS. A friend of mine has the EOS and it takes much more twisting and turning to get out of it.
The beetle has a truly unique appearance, but other than that it's an average car. I had a beetle with a manual transmission which was really tight, so sometimes jumpy out of first gear (not fun in stop-and-go traffic). The performance was nothing special. And the seating isn't exactly comfortable. Other than that the car's quality is average. After a while minor things go wrong and it can be inconvenient because you have to go to the dealership to get it worked on.
In all honesty the beetle is fun for running around town, but not for a long commute or road trips. Would be great first car for a high school kid; just make sure it's an automatic.
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