Last week I rented a 2002 Voklswagen Beetle while the Jeep was getting some work done. (My Chrysler Service Contract covered the maintenance and also $30 of the $35 VW rental.)
I was impressed by the amount of room in the Beetle. I even had some people in the back seat. Excellent utilization of passenger space. On the other hand, I thought there was a lot of wasted space on the dash. It seems there could be some use put to that expansive bit of plastic.
Speaking of plastic, I was surprised to see the body-colour moulding on the tops of the doors. Traditionally (i.e., in the olden days before the 1980s) these were metal stampings. I was a little disappointed to find that they were plastic, but I understand the ecomomics and weight saving of using non-metal materials. I did find them attractive.
Accelleration was good (certainly better than old-style Beetles I’ve riden in), but would have been better with a standard transmission. (Heh. Just try to rent a car with anything but an automatic! ) Handling was also excellent. Not as good as my old Porsche 911SC, but much better than my Cherokee.
Before I bought the Cherokee I considered a VW Jetta. I’ve always liked its cavernous trunk. But when I started noticing Jettas on the road, it seemed they didn’t age very well. They just seemed a bit “run down”. This is probably a function of the way the owners treat them (which begs the question, “Do people who buy Jettas take poorer care of their cars than people who buy other marques?”). I’ve owned two German cars: A 1977 1/2 Porsche 924 and a 1979 Porsche 911SC. Even though most people hate the supposed-to-be-VW-but-might-have-been-an-Audi-but-became-a-Porsche 924, I rather liked it. It was much more “solid” than my MGBs. It handled better and was faster. The 911 was just an absolute blast! But as I’ve said in other threads, I needed more space. I miss that car sometimes. The thing I noticed about both Porsches was that they tended to have expensive problems as they aged. Little things would go wrong, especially with switches and levers. Other German cars I’ve ridden in, Mercedes and BMWs, also seemed to develop problems with their interior controls. My personal experiences with various problems, plus the run-down Jettas I saw on the road made me choose another vehicle.
This thread (26 pages as I write this :eek: ) mentions some maintenance issues that were escalated to the filing of a lawsuit against the customer by the dealer. It got me wondering about the durability of the VW line. So…
Post-air-cooled Volkswagen drivers, what are your impressions of the Volkswagen product? If I were to buy a new Beetle, what kind of problems should I expect. Do you think quality is high, low, or somewhere in between? I firmly believe that Honda and Toyota make higher-quality vehicles that are more durable. Is my belief correct? Would you recommend a Volkswagen to your friends or family? Over a Toyota or Honda? If so, why? If you have problems with your VW, do you blame the design? Maintenance? Something else? Do you need to make apollogies for the design/maintenance issues? (e.g., “Well, you have to understand that German engineering is…” or “I’m sure these things happen to all cars…”)