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Volkswagen Beetle (2005-2011) Buying Guide

Volkswagen Beetle (2005-2011)
Volkswagen Beetle (2005-2011)Volkswagen Beetle (2005-2011)Volkswagen Beetle (2005-2011)Volkswagen Beetle (2005-2011)Volkswagen Beetle (2005-2011)Volkswagen Beetle (2005-2011)Volkswagen Beetle (2005-2011)Volkswagen Beetle (2005-2011)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

When Volkswagen launched its water-cooled Beetle in 1999 it could barely keep up with demand at first. It was easy to see why; here was a car that looked great, featured modern safety systems, was easy to drive and came with some great engines and transmissions. Buyers could choose between hatchback practicality and the style of a cabriolet, both proving popular with style-conscious buyers who wanted to stand out from the crowd. Inevitably the hysteria died down and Volkswagen countered with a refreshed Beetle in 2005, which carried over the original car's running gear in a refreshed bodyshell. The fact that this tweaked Beetle wasn't an all-new model showed that VW got things right with the original car, and much of what applies to that car also applies to this one, so be sure to also check out our guide on the pre-facelift Beetle.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Distinctive looks
Airy cabin
Hatchback practicality
Efficient engines
Low purchase prices
Low running costs
Limited head room in back of hatch
Tiny convertible boot
Underpowered 1.4-litre engine
Key Dates 
06/05A facelifted Beetle brings new bumpers and lights, but the engines and transmissions are carried over unchanged. There's a new entry-level model though, the Luna.
05/08The Sola limited edition is based on the cabriolet and comes with a 1.6-litre petrol engine. There are silver or black paint finishes with a red roof and a red leather interior.
  • On convertibles, the plastic latch that secures the roof to the top of the windscreen can break off.
  • The window winder mechanism can fail, usually with the window in the lowered position so it won't come back up.
  • The ECU that controls the engine is reliant on sensors. This includes a lambda sensor which is prone to failure, leading to erratic running.
  • There are various microswitches in the door locks; their failure stops the electric windows and central locking working, and the electric hood (if fitted).
  • Other electrical failures are common, largely because the wiring can go brittle and break. Check that every single electrical item works.
  • On older cars, rust is starting to creep into some areas such as the door jambs and the rain gutters, while the sills can also corrode.
  • As a modern classic, a lot of these cars now feature modifications or aftermarket parts such as exhausts, stereos and security systems. Check the quality of any changes made; some can be the source of endless problems.

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