2009 Volkswagen New Beetle

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Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    24 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    150-hp, 2.5-liter I-5 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    Front-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    5-speed manual w/OD
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Visual appeal, especially of convertible
  • Ride comfort
  • Steering response
  • Resale value

The Bad

  • Backseat space
  • Cargo space in convertible
  • Once innovative design now somewhat dated

Notable Features of the 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle

  • Retro styling
  • Manual or automatic
  • Coupe or convertible

2009 Volkswagen New Beetle Road Test

Joe Bruzek
Volkswagen's New Beetle is a classic love-it-or-hate-it car. Even though the model has been on the road virtually unchanged for 12 years, people still have strong opinions about the retro-styled Bug. During my week driving a convertible Beetle, some called it "cute" and others laughed and pointed because a dash-mounted flower holder still comes standard. The Beetle hasn't aged gracefully in its 12-year lifetime, which shows mostly on the inside. In its time on the road, compelling alternatives have appeared, including the Mini Cooper convertible and Volkswagen's own Eos retractable-hardtop convertible.

Most small convertibles are sports cars, often with two seats, but the Beetle is a compact ragtop that isn't sporty. Compared with the 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata and 2009 Cooper convertible, this four-seater rides smoothly — the compact equivalent of your grandparents' Ford Crown Victoria.

Those who find the styling charming and reminiscent of the original Beetle may not be turned off by the Beetle's shortcomings. I, on the other hand, didn't find the driving experience satisfying or interior contemporary enough to justify the price tag on this drop-top.

Interior & Cargo
Sitting in the Beetle for the first time is an awkward experience because the windshield is so far forward it makes the Beetle feel like a space pod. The bulbous shape and odd proportions also give the inside an open-air feeling that any claustrophobe could call home.

The Beet...

Volkswagen's New Beetle is a classic love-it-or-hate-it car. Even though the model has been on the road virtually unchanged for 12 years, people still have strong opinions about the retro-styled Bug. During my week driving a convertible Beetle, some called it "cute" and others laughed and pointed because a dash-mounted flower holder still comes standard. The Beetle hasn't aged gracefully in its 12-year lifetime, which shows mostly on the inside. In its time on the road, compelling alternatives have appeared, including the Mini Cooper convertible and Volkswagen's own Eos retractable-hardtop convertible.

Most small convertibles are sports cars, often with two seats, but the Beetle is a compact ragtop that isn't sporty. Compared with the 2009 Mazda MX-5 Miata and 2009 Cooper convertible, this four-seater rides smoothly — the compact equivalent of your grandparents' Ford Crown Victoria.

Those who find the styling charming and reminiscent of the original Beetle may not be turned off by the Beetle's shortcomings. I, on the other hand, didn't find the driving experience satisfying or interior contemporary enough to justify the price tag on this drop-top.

Interior & Cargo
Sitting in the Beetle for the first time is an awkward experience because the windshield is so far forward it makes the Beetle feel like a space pod. The bulbous shape and odd proportions also give the inside an open-air feeling that any claustrophobe could call home.

The Beetle shows its gray hairs on the inside, where the plastic dashboard and cheap-feeling dials and knobs are far from the quality of Volkswagen's modern offerings. New models like the Jetta, Tiguan and Eos have a premium feel compared with their competition, which isn't reflected in the Beetle.

The Beetle's trunk space is average for its size, but it has a tiny opening — though not quite as restricted as the Miata's. We were able to fit two suitcases in the Beetle's trunk, which would be perfect for a weekend getaway for two. Despite the Miata's similar cargo volume, we couldn't fit the same luggage in its trunk.

Top Down
Engaging the fun-in-the-sun mode is easy with the standard power-retractable soft-top. There's only one release latch in the middle of the top, and then a push of a button drops the top. But here's where we run into an issue with the Beetle's ... convertibleness: The soft-top doesn't fold into the trunk. Instead, it folds onto the rear deck, where it obstructs the driver's visibility. If you take one for a test drive, put the top down to see if the blind spot is a deal-breaker for you. Making things worse is an optional wind screen that fits over the rear seats and blocks even more of the view. The top doesn't take up any trunk space because it rests on the outside, but it's unsightly loafing there on the rear deck. A $300 cover for the top puts a bandage on the situation, but it's not perfect.

Top Up
Unlike most convertibles, the Beetle retains the same classic profile as its hardtop version — look at the 2010 Ford Mustang convertible and you won't see the coupe's classic fastback lines.

Driving with the top up is enjoyable thanks to the very high-quality cloth top. It resists a considerable amount of wind and road noise, and it's a much more premium-feeling material than anything else in the Beetle.

Pricing & Features
Starting at $25,990, the convertible comes in one well-equipped trim level and a slightly more expensive Blush Edition. Standard equipment on the Beetle includes an automatic transmission, imitation leather upholstery, front-seat heaters, power windows and locks, and a 10-speaker stereo with satellite radio and an MP3 jack. On chilly evenings — bordering on top-up weather — the heated seats make driving with the top down completely doable.

For an extra $1,000, the Blush Edition adds a unique exterior color, a red-colored top and real leather seats instead of the regular leatherette.

You won't find a navigation system or optional engines or transmissions here. One of the only options on the Beetle are 17-inch wheels. The standard set is $450, but our tester was equipped with the sport set for $1,350. If you must have a navigation system or sportier performance, you'll have to look elsewhere. A convertible like the Cooper starts at $23,900 with a manual transmission and offers a turbocharged S variant for $26,800. The Cooper also has multiple optional features for maximum customization. The Eos also offers more options, including navigation, but it starts at $31,615.

Acceleration & Handling
The Beetle exhibited a fair amount of body roll in corners, and the steering is light, sacrificing road feel for driving ease. There's only one engine and transmission combo in the convertible: a 150-horsepower, 2.5-liter five-cylinder mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine works well in the Beetle, and it never felt short on power; Volkswagen says 60 mph comes up in 9.1 seconds. The engine is loud, though, and not a good kind of loud; it sounds thrashy and unrefined.

EPA gas mileage estimates are unimpressive for a compact car, at 20/28 mpg city/highway. The Cooper convertible with an automatic transmission is rated at a much higher 25/34 mpg. The manual Mini's mileage blows the Beetle away, at 28/36 mpg. Because the Beetle isn't a powerful sports car, that gas mileage can't be easily justified.

Safety
The Beetle convertible hasn't been tested by our preferred crash-test organization, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and the hardtop Beetle's crash tests don't apply to the ragtop. (Structural differences make convertibles perform differently in a crash, but because they typically aren't high-volume models, few droptops are tested.) Standard safety equipment includes an electronic stability system, antilock brakes, and frontal and side-impact airbags. For a complete list of the Beetle's safety features, click here.

Beetle in the Market
The New Beetle is still unmistakable even more than a decade after it was introduced. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer a whole lot besides its uniqueness. Gas mileage isn't that great, the interior lacks the premium feel of other Volkswagens, and as a whole it's a little rough around the edges.

For similar money, a Mini Cooper convertible has a nicer interior and modern options, plus great gas mileage. In today's competitive market, even the 2010 Ford Mustang has an impressive interior nowadays; the V-6 Mustang convertible starts at $25,995 for a manual car. If you plunk down a little more, you can get Volkswagen's Eos with a retractable hardtop — a perfect example of a year-round modern convertible. It's even been crash-tested, and it performed very well.

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2009 New Beetle Video

Cars.com's Joe Bruzek takes a look at the 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible. It competes with the Mini Cooper and Saturn Astra.

Latest 2009 New Beetle Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.5)
Value For The Money
(4.3)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Cute fun car

by Huey from Oklahoma City, OK on July 12, 2018

The New Beetle is surprisingly quick for a small 5 cylinder car. The AC is very cold, and it has all the features one would want. It handles easily and is fun to drive. The 5 speed standard adds a lot ... Read full review

(5.0)

Thank you!

by Caitlinlancit from Tampa, fl on February 15, 2018

This was a perfect match for what I need. The 2009 beetle was incredibly reasonably priced and is in great condition. I'm very happy! Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle currently has 1 recall

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle 2.5L

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
poor
Driver Torso
poor
Overall Side
poor
Rear Passenger Head Protection
acceptable
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
marginal
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The New Beetle received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker