Volkswagen's New Beetle gets a facelift for the 2006 model year. The changes take place both in exterior and interior design. According to VW, the car also has a new standard engine developed "specifically to meet the style and expectations of the North American driver."
Much loved but ill suited to modern safety and environmental regulations, the Volkswagen Beetle departed the U.S. market in 1980. But while it was gone, it was not forgotten. In 1998, VW introduced the New Beetle, which put the Bug's classic round styling cues on the front-engine, front-drive Golf-based platform (original Beetles had rear-mounted and air-cooled engines). For 2006, the New Beetle gets is first facelift, with revised bumpers, lights, sharper wheel arches, and an oval-shaped fuel door. VW says the design is more dynamic and lends a "slightly more aggressive and masculine appearance" to the car.
The New Beetle features a surprisingly roomy and versatile interior. Standard equipment includes height-adjustable front seats, a tilt and telescoping steering column, power exterior mirrors, and a CD/MP3 audio system. A sunroof and heated leather seats are on the option list. Standard safety equipment includes front and side air bags and electronic stability technology. The New Beetle is available in hardtop and convertible versions.
The 1.9L, diesel-fueled TDI engine carries over, but gasoline-powered New Beetles get a new 2.5L inline four-cylinder powerplant that is, according to VW, engineered specifically for American driving styles. The new engine generates 150 hp and 170 lb.-ft. of torque, which should improve off-the-line acceleration. VW says the 0-60 mph sprint can be achieved in 8.4 seconds, yet the engine is rated at 22 mpg in town and 31 on the highway. The diesel's figures are 37 and 44, respectively. Manual or automatic transmissions are available on all models.
The New Beetle competes in the Compact Conventional segment, where affordability, fuel economy, sporty performance, and personalization options and accessories can be important factors in the buying decision. Currently, 20 models compete for buyers' attention in this segment.
The segment comprises nearly 15 percent of all light-vehicle sales in the U.S., according to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report.SM For calendar year 2005, the sales leaders in this segment were the Honda Civic (308,415 units sold), Toyota Corolla (244,032), Chevrolet Cobalt (212,667), and Ford Focus (184,825). Together, they accounted for nearly 44 percent of the sales in this segment. VW has three models in the segment: the New Beetle, the Golf hatchback, and the Jetta sedan. Volkswagen sold 36,339 New Beetles in 2005.
|2.5 (M5)||5 speed manual||$17,180||150-hp / 2.5L 5-cyl||22/31|
|TDI (EOP 48/06) (M5)||5 speed manual||$18,900||100-hp / 1.9L 4-cyl||37/44|