Sporty/performance car; Built in Mexico
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door hatchback
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $7,200 – $18,200*

2006 Volkswagen New Beetle

2006 Volkswagen New Beetle

2006 Volkswagen New Beetle

2006 Volkswagen New Beetle

  • Cargo room (hatchback)
  • Front-seat comfort
  • Ride
  • Acceleration (low-speed)
  • Cargo room (convertible)
  • Rear-seat comfort

Volkswagen hoped the new powertrain and revised styling would help revive interest in the New Beetle line. Retro design has its drawbacks, and Volkswagen’s five-cylinder engine comes up somewhat short. Even so, New Beetles are entertaining, solidly built, and reasonably practical funmobiles. Convertibles sacrifice some of the hatchback’s passenger and cargo space, but reward with a particularly expansive open-air feel.


A more powerful standard engine and revised styling constituted 2006 updates of note to Volkswagen’s uniquely retro-styled automobile. As before, New Beetles came as two-door hatchbacks or convertibles. Headlamps, taillamps, fascias, and side sills were reworked.

A 150-horsepower 2.5-liter five cylinder was now the standard engine. The 115-horsepower 2.0-liter and 150-hp turbocharged 1.8-liter were dropped. Available only as a hatchback was the TDI model, with a 100-horsepower 1.9-liter turbodiesel. A five-speed manual transmission was standard. Six-speed automatic with a manual shift gate was optional.

Every New Beetle included antilock four-wheel disc brakes and front side airbags, with head and torso protection. An antiskid system and traction control were standard. Standard wheels were 16-inch size; 17s were optional. Audio systems had a jack for connecting digital music players, and satellite radio was available for all models. Also optional were leather upholstery and heated front seats. Larger cupholders went into the redesigned console.

Convertibles had a manual-folding fabric top or optional power top, and included a heated glass rear window. Rollover bars deployed if sensors detected an imminent tipover. OnStar assistance was no longer available.

Although New Beetles roughly competed against the Acura RSX, Mini Cooper, and Scion tC, they had a retro-look all their own, descended from the original Beetles that took America by storm in the 1950s and ’60s.

Yearly Updates

2007 New Beetle
No more diesel-engine Beetles were offered, at least for the time being, due to more stringent emissions standards for 2007. All models now used the 150-horsepower, five-cylinder gasoline engine.
2008 New Beetle
The 2008 Volkswagen New Beetle lineup got new trim-level designations. S and SE trim levels replaced the Base and 2.5 monikers.
2009 New Beetle
Heated front seats were newly standard on the 2009 New Beetle, which was otherwise unchanged.
2010 New Beetle
The 2010 Volkswagen New Beetle lineup gained a pair of special-edition trim levels: Final Edition and Red Rock. They came with 17-inch wheels along with specific paint, interior, and exterior trim. This marked the end of the New Beetle line; the car did not return for the 2011 model year, and was replaced by a redesigned Beetle for 2012.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

New Beetles in 2006 came with gasoline or diesel power. The 2.5-liter five-cylinder gas engine developed 150 horsepower working with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Volkswagen’s 1.9-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder, rated at 100 hp, offered the same transmission choices. No diesel-engine models were offered for 2007.

Turbodiesel dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.9/116
Engine HP 100
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 177
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
6-speed automatic

dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/151
Engine HP 150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 170
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
6-speed automatic

Road Test

Acceleration isn’t a high point. With manual shift, the slow-revving five-cylinder engine needs full throttle to produce the best takeoffs, though it does feel livelier once under way. Essentially, gas-engine performance is similar to that of a like-equipped Jetta. The diesel engine TDI model performs well in most situations, though it feels taxed in highway passing maneuvers.

With the five-cylinder gasoline engine, a manual-shift 2.5 model averaged 21.3 mpg. Far more frugal, a manual-transmission TDI squeezed out 42.1 mpg. Volkswagen recommends regular-grade gasoline for the five-cylinder engine.

Although the New Beetle’s suspension is firm, it comfortably soaks up most bumps, helped by 16-inch tires and the hatchback’s tight, solid structure. Less-rigid convertibles suffer more rough-road jiggle–plus minor body quivers, but no additional impact harshness. Available 17-inch tires turn the ride jittery and harsh on patchy pavement.

Beetles are less agile than an Acura RSX or a Mini Cooper, and their bulky shape can induce crosswind wander at highway speeds. Still, all models corner with grippy predictability, if also fairly marked body lean. Handling is sharper with 17-inch tires. Brakes are strong and confident.

Engine and tire noise score around average. Gruff at full throttle, the turbodiesel also is a bit clattery at idle. Wind noise rises to require raised voices at highway speeds, though automatic-transmission models are geared for lower engine rpm and are thus a tad quieter. Top-up convertibles are noisier than hatchbacks, but not wearing on long drives. Top-down chats are difficult at highway speeds.

Most controls are user-friendly, but the tiny tachometer is hard to read and audio controls are too small for some drivers. The tilt/telescoping steering wheel is helpful, but the driver’s shift hand can easily collide with the dashboard just ahead. Stylish cabin decor is high quality throughout. Poor side-window sealing had one test convertible whistling in the wind. A second suffered detached roof-liner pieces and a cracked roof-release latch.

Comfortable front seats have simple pump-handle height adjusters, but tedious handwheels for reclining the backrest. Expect fine legroom, plus towering head clearance even for six-footers. Windshield posts and door mirrors can obstruct vision in turns, and the view over the vast dashtop differs from most cars. The convertible top limits lane-change vision when up, and blocks some view aft when down. Rear legroom virtually vanishes with front seats more than halfway back, while headroom is nonexistent for those over five-foot-six. Narrowing in the back, the cabin is snug even for two preteens. Entry/exit is not that easy, either–yet best in class by virtue of wide doors and front seats that tip up and forward.

Cargo space is satisfactory in the hatchback. Roof slope limits space beneath the hatch, but rear seats fold nearly flat to open up good room. The convertible’s separate trunk is quite small in size and opening, but usefully shaped. Cabin storage for small items is skimpy.


Model Tested: Volkswagen New Beetle 2.5 hatchback w/manual

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 5
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 6
Quietness - 5


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 7
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
Cargo Room - 7


Value - 5

Total: 54


2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.8 161.1 67.9 59.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
5.0 14.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.7 37.2 39.4 31.5
2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.7 161.1 67.9 59.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
27.1 14.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.2 36.7 39.4 33.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2006 New Beetle 2-door hatchback


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 4
Front Passenger Injury - 4

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 3


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Cold-starting problems
Description: The engine may crank, but not start when ambient temperature is below 40 degrees F unless the instrument cluster has been replaced. (2006)
Engine misfire
Description: Engine may misfire and the check engine light may illuminate due to moisture getting into the coil-over-plug ignition coils unless improved COP units have been installed. (2005-07)
Heater core
Description: Heater output may be insufficient at idle if the cooling system is not properly bled. (2006)
Oil pump
Description: The oil fill cap comes apart if the engine beauty cover is not removed carefully. (2005-07)
Audio system
Description: The auxiliary input jack for MP3 players falls out due to user pushing too hard. (2006-08)
Audio system
Description: The auxiliary input jack for MP3 players falls out due to user pushing too hard. (2006-08)
Transmission noise
Description: The transmission may make a humming sound when turning the car at low speeds requiring the oil to be replaced with an improved oil. (2006)
Description: Rear side windows may quit working on convertibles due to failure of the regulator cable guide.(2003-07)
Description: Rear side windows may quit working on convertibles due to failure of the regulator cable guide. (2003-07)
Description: The instrument lights may flicker when the wipers are running due to a shared electrical ground that must be separated. (2007-08)
Description: The instrument lights may flicker when the wipers are running due to a shared electrical ground that must be separated. (2007-08)
Transmission problems
Description: Transmission may not shift out of park due to damaged wiring. (2006-07)
Transmission problems
Description: Transmission may not shift out of park due to damaged wiring. (2006-07)

Recall History

2001-07 Volkswagen New Beetle sedans and convertibles
Description: A brake light switch may malfunction if it was installed incorrectly. The brake lights could become inoperative, or remain on. Dealers will install the newly designed brake light switch free of charge.
2006 w/2.5-liter engine and 17-inch wheels
Description: Tire information label may list incorrect front tire size, but inflation pressure shown is correct.
Description: Brake light switch may have been incorrectly installed and could malfunction, causing brake lights to become inoperative or remain on.
2006-2010 New Beetle and New Beetle Convertible vehicles equipped with 2.5L engines.
Description: The Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, and Rabbit vehicles may have a small plastic tab located on the windshield washer fluid reservoir that may chafe against an underhood fuel supply line. The New Beetle and the New Beetle convertible vehicles may have a fastening clamp on a hydraulic hose of the power steering system that may be located in an improper position which could cause chafing against an underhood fuel supply line. If chafing occurs, there is the potential for a fuel leak to develop. Fuel leakage, in the presence of an ignition source, could result in a fire. Dealers will inspect and if necessary replace the underhood fuel line. Additionally, depending on the vehicle model, dealers will either remove the plastic tab from the windshield washer fluid reservoir, or inspect the position of the fastening clamp and adjust the related fastening clamp into the correct position.
2008 New Beetle Special Edition Triple White Sedan
Description: An incorrect adhesive may have been used to attach the roof spoiler to the rear glass of the vehicle.
The spoiler could become loose or fall from the vehicle without warning, even though initially the spoiler may feel secure. Dealers will replace the roof spoiler.
2010 New Beetle and New Beetle Convertible manufactured from September 1, 2010 through September 22, 2010
Description: The vehicles do not meet with the barrier-test crash-protection requirements that went into effect on September 1, 2010, and therefore may not offer the protection attendant to those requirements. Dealers will offer to replace their vehicle with a comparable vehicle that was produced prior to September 1, 2010.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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