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2001 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

2dr Cpe GLS TDI Auto

Starting at | Starting at 34 MPG City - 44 MPG Highway

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  • $18,775 original MSRP
Printable Version

2001 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

Printable Version

2001 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

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2001 Volkswagen New Beetle

Source: New Car Test Drive

Still cute after all these years.

by Mitch McCullough

Base Price (MSRP) $15,900
As Tested (MSRP) $21,532

Volkswagen's New Beetle is no longer that new, having been around for about four years now. With new entrants such as the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Ford Thunderbird, and Mini Cooper stealing headlines, der Beetle no longer basks alone in the retro-fad limelight. Out on the road, in the real world, however, the New Beetle still attracts attention.

More important to people who own one, the Beetle's driving dynamics continue to deliver a spunky driving experience to go along with its spunky-yet-timeless looks. Opt for the 150-horsepower 1.8T turbocharged model, and the Beetle is downright quick.

Model Lineup

Five models are available: GL ($15,900); GLS 2.0L ($16,850); GLS TDI ($17,900); GLS 1.8T ($19,000); GLX ($21,175).

GL and GLS are powered by Volkswagen's 115-horsepower 2.0-liter engine. GLS TDI uses a 90-horsepower 1.9-liter turbocharged diesel engine. The 1.8T comes with a 150-horsepower turbocharged 1.8-liter engine. The 1.8T is available in two trim lines: the GLS 1.8T and the fully loaded GLX.

Walkaround

When it arrived in 1998, the New Beetle rekindled the magic of its legendary namesake and became a ray of sunshine in an all-too-serious car market. The Volkswagen Beetle is among the top 10 best-selling nameplates of all time, ranking right up there with the Ford Model T in terms of number sold. The design of Volkswagen's New Beetle captures the essence of the original Bug.

But Volkswagen calls this car the "New" Beetle to emphasize that it actually has little in common with the old one. (We can't help but wonder, however, how long we're supposed to call it the "New" Beetle: When they redesign will we be referring to how the "old New Beetle" compares with the "new New Beetle"?)

While the original Beetle used an air-cooled engine mounted in back that powered the rear wheels, the New Beetle mounts a water-cooled engine up front that powers the front wheels.

The New Beetle is thoroughly modern. It is built on the same basic platform as the Volkswagen Golf. It's also far safer than the old Bug. Well-engineered crumple zones and other features enhance crash protection. Dual front and side airbags and antilock brakes come standard. A rigid chassis results in a smooth, controlled ride with little noise, vibration or harshness.

Though it harks to the original design, the shape of the New Beetle is thoroughly modern. Chrome bumpers have been replaced with integrated, color-keyed bumpers. Quality is also far batter than the old Bug. Gaps between doors, fenders and other body panels are some of the tightest we've seen.

The original Beetle was an economy car and looked it. The New Beetle is still a good value, but visually it tells a different story. It looks up-market and up-tempo. It comes in a sophisticated palette of colors. Cyber Green, for example, is a pearlescent metallic finish that seems to change colors in different lighting conditions. Big 16-inch tires lend a sporty look. For 2001, optional 17-inch aluminum wheels ($400) are available for GLX models.

Interior Features

Beetle's unique exterior styling is complemented by its unique interior design. A myriad of materials is used to give the Beetle a high-tech look. The upper dash uses coarse, hard materials accented by smoother, softer surfaces elsewhere. Curved, dimpled door handles look ultra-modern. Upper door panels use a matte version of the car's exterior paint. The steering wheel features brushed aluminum spokes and carbon-fiber-looking handgrips. A small bud vase keeps a small flower looking fresh or holds a plastic daisy.

A big speedometer and tiny tachometer are in a circular gauge panel that glows indigo at night. This complements red lighting used for stereo and heating/air conditioning controls to minimize glare at night. It also looks neat. Sleek radio and heater controls are within easy reach and, but can be difficult to decipher and awkward to operate at speed.

We liked the techno look and found the interior materials to be quite acceptable in quality. It takes a little adjustment to get used to the seating position and general ergonomics. Volkswagen uses a unique set of seat adjustments that use a small jack-like handle to adjust height and an awkward knob to adjust the rake, but they work well once you've grown accustomed to them. It's similar to the way the seats work in all Volkswagens.

The outside mirrors are mounted well forward of the driver, which is actually a better position than that of many other cars which mount them too close to the driver. A huge dash area looms ahead of the driver, who cannot see the hood or anything else but road in front of the windshield. (This big dash area is no doubt part of the New Beetle's excellent crumple-zone design.) Beefy front A-pillars (the post between the windshield and side window) impede vision in tight corners. The sweeping roofline creates tremendous front-seat headroom, though it cramps people in back. In the old Beetle, the windshield was right in front of your face. Now the windshield is steeply raked and has been moved several feet forward.

Dual 12-volt power outlets and several cup holders make living with the New Beetle convenient. The glove box looks impressive, but its massive door belies the tiny, awkwardly shaped compartment. One-touch power windows are useful. But the rear windows do not open; so rear-seat passengers might feel a little claustrophobic on summer days.

The trunk is small, but the rear seats can be folded down to carry more cargo.

Our GLS 1.8T came with the optional leather seating surfaces. The seats are comfortable and attractive. The flat design of the seat bottom makes it easy to get in and out of the seats, but they don't provide sufficient side bolstering for driving quickly on winding country roads.

Driving Impressions

As mentioned, it takes a little time to grow accustomed to the Beetle's unique seating ergonomics. At first the deep dashboard makes you feel like you're driving the car from the back seat. Once adjusted, we were able to drive this car quite hard in corners. The tall roofline and a fair amount of body roll contribute to a tippy feeling. But quick and accurate steering response, combined with good grip from the tires and suspension, keep the car firmly in contact with the road. The Beetle feels quite stable in high-speed sweeping turns. It's smooth and stable under hard braking, though it doesn't stop as quickly as the Golf and other cars in its class. Handling among the different Beetle models is quite similar as the suspension is tuned to provide the same driving characteristics.

The difference lies chiefly in the engines. The standard 115-horsepower engine offers good response and should be perfectly suitable for most drivers. Others have reported they like the TDI diesel engine. Volkswagen builds some of the best small diesel engines in the world and this one is smooth, quiet and clean. It is slightly rougher in texture than the standard gas engine, which some people like because they say it reminds them a bit of the original Bug.

Those who enjoy the driving experience itself will appreciate the new 1.8-liter turbocharged engine. It lacks some response at the bottom of the rpm range, but once the revs are up it provides good acceleration performance. Step on the gas and the car begins to build momentum, then there's a whoosh of power. The Beetle 1.8T can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 7.5 seconds, a quite respectable performance.

By comparison, torque from the base 2.0-liter engine comes on at relatively low revs and makes the car feel quite sprightly around town. You won't leave a trail of rubber taking off from a stoplight, but it will keep up with many of the cars in its class.

We prefer the 5-speed manual to the optional 4-speed automatic. That's the way the original Bugs were equipped and shifting gears is part of the driving fun. The automatic works well enough, but it makes the car slower off the line. Overall, the Beetle feels tight and responsive. The ride is smooth and sporty with out undue noise from the road or engine compartment.

Final Word

Volkswagen's New Beetle 1.8T is fun to drive. Its mild manners make for a joyful ride around town. And, of course, its unique styling makes a statement. Driving enthusiasts should find the New Beetle a fun alternative to sport coupes and small sports sedans.

The standard New Beetle, meanwhile, offers a trendy, reliable fun machine that retails for less than $16,000. We'll leave choosing the color up to you, but we like green, blue and yellow Beetles.

© New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2001 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Side Air Bag Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Fog Lamps Std
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Std
Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

2001 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Miles

Months

Volkswagen Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

2 years / 24,000 miles from the purchase date comprehensive limited warranty including the balance of the 4 year/50,000 mile original limited powertrain & corrosion warranty.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 6 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 112-Point Inspection
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 2 Year 24-Hour Roadside Assistance
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes, at no cost to buyer
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2001 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

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