Iconic convertibles seem to be making a comeback, and there is no ragtop more iconic than the VW Beetle. The 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible makes a great looking drop-top and offers the power, safety and comfort that was, obviously, not part of the first-generation Bug. The engine is up front, as are the drive wheels, but with the top retracted the feel from behind the wheel is very much just like old times. Stereotypes aside, the New Beetle convertible is one of the few practical drop tops that can be enjoyed by anyone with a modest budget and a love of fresh air.
YOU'LL LIKE THIS CAR IF...
If you've been shopping for a fun, affordable convertible that won't be mistaken for a weekend rental, the 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible deserves a test drive. It possesses a great safety record, has loads of head room with the top up and displays an impressive list of standard features.
YOU MAY NOT LIKE THIS CAR IF...
Though the New Beetle Convertible does have a rear seat, it's not very big. The long dash places the driver in the middle of the car, a driving position that takes some time to get used to. The car's long-term repair history is a bit spotty, as well.
WHAT'S SIGNIFICANT ABOUT THIS CAR
New standard equipment for 2009 includes the Cold Weather Package, which adds heated seats and washer nozzles, and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Anytime a car's roof is cut away it loses a primary source of rigidity. A convertible manufacturer compensates for this loss by adding bracing to the car's underside and engine compartment, sometimes with results that are less than completely satisfactory. This is not the case with the New Beetle; its body is amazingly stiff, with no detectible flex – even in hard cornering. The ride is somewhat on the soft side, which fits the character of the car to a tee. You'll find the steering and braking response to be first-rate, right in line with other fine-handling VW cars. The 2.5-liter engine delivers acceptable acceleration and good fuel economy, but the loss of the five-speed manual transmission steals some of the fun from the drive.
OUR FAVORITE FEATURES
Blue Instrument Lighting
Attractive Cornflower Blue lighting in the instrument cluster is easy on the eyes both night and day.
Standard Power Soft-Top
The semi-automatic power soft-top can be quickly closed with the push of a button, and then locks into place with a single turn of the center-mounted latching mechanism.
After nearly ten years on the market, the New Beetle Convertible still offers one of the nicest interiors in its class. The seats are some of the most comfortable we've experienced, with excellent back, side and thigh support for both driver and passenger. The New Beetle Convertible's trademark domed shape cuts rear-seat headroom, with the result being an interior that can comfortably accommodate two small persons in the rear seat and two NBA-size adults up front. The New Beetle Convertible is really a year-round car. Its insulated top latches securely to the windshield post via a clever one-handed latching mechanism. Once in place, you'll be amazed at how hushed the interior becomes, even at highway speeds.
The 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible mimics what is probably the best-known car in the world: The original Beetle. When down, the New Beetle Convertible's top rests high upon the rear deck, leaving room for a small trunk. Considering the price, the New Beetle is remarkably detailed and its distinctive shape seems to be a contributing factor to its excellent crash test results and low accident repair cost analyses.
NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT
The 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible includes a 150-horsepower, 2.5-liter engine, six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), electronic stabilization program, air conditioning, rear defroster, illuminated remote keyless entry, key-operated open/close feature for power windows, semi-automatic power top, dual heated power mirrors with built-in turn signals, heated front seats, front side-impact airbags, Active Roll Support pop-up roll-over protection, Premium AM/FM stereo with MP3-compatible CD player and auxiliary audio input jack, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, cruise control, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power locks and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Options are limited to a trunk-mounted six-disc CD changer, a top boot cover and 17-inch wheels.
UNDER THE HOOD
The 2.5-liter 20-valve five-cylinder engine provides the kind of low-end torque needed to move the New Beetle quickly, but it's no rocket engine. Also, fuel economy and smoothness are not as good as similar-size engines from Honda and Nissan.
2.5-liter in-line 5
150 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 (manual), 20/28 (automatic)
The 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle Convertible's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just over $26,500 and with the few options tops out around $28,000. To make your best deal, be sure to check the New Car Blue Book Value price that shows the typical transaction price being paid for the New Beetle. Other convertibles in this price range include the sport Mazda Miata MX-5, the MINI Cooper Convertible and the Pontiac Solstice. The New Beetle Convertible is expected to retain above-average resale values similar to the Pontiac Solstice and Mazda MX-5 Miata, but not quite as high as the MINI Cooper Convertible.