Monday, October 1, 2007

2008 Volkswagen Beetle Review

With its distinctive, even iconic, shape, the 2008 Volkswagen Beetle, like its predecessors, is instantly recognizable. This year's model, offered in two trims and a convertible version, retains many of the features from last year's edition, while sporting new names for the trim levels. Instead of the base and 2.5L designations, we now have the S and SE.

All versions of the 2008 Beetle have the same power train configuration: a front-mounted 2.5 liter, 150 horsepower, 5- cylinder engine that provides 170 pounds/feet of torque, mated to the standard five-speed manual transmission, though there is an optional six-speed automatic transmission that comes with the Porsche-developed "Tiptronic" quasi-manual shifting functionality, as well. All Beetles are front-wheel drive.

Aside from the obvious feature, the convertible's soft top, both versions of the 2008 Volkswagen Beetle have essentially the same exterior features. The dome-shaped roof is one of them, of course, but other details include turn signals integrated into the side mirrors, and a power sunroof is available as an option on the SE. Based on the same platform used for the Volkswagen Golf, the Beetle's standard wheels are 16-inch alloy, with 17-inch wheels available on the SE.

Inside the 2008 Volkswagen Beetle, there is seating for four passengers, though head- and legroom are both limited in the back seat. A technical hatchback, the rear seat-back folds down for additional storage space. Height-adjustable front seats (bucket style), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, and air conditioning are all standard, as is the AM/FM Radio/CD player combination that includes an auxiliary jack for MP3 play back.

The seats of the 2008 Beetle are upholstered in a faux leather material referred to as "V-Tex," and there is a special Cold Weather package that includes heating not just for the front seats, but also the windshield washer nozzles. Actual leather upholstery is no longer an option on any version of the New Beetle.

Rounding out the features of the 2008 Volkswagen Beetle is a safety package that includes daytime running lights, anti-lock disc brakes, tire pressure monitoring technology, and side-impact airbags.

The base model of the 2008 Beetle has a starting MSRP of $17,365.

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