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Volkswagen Beetle 2002 Review

It is a triumph of marketing that a car so ill-suited to city living has been adopted by so many.

I can't help feeling we will look back at the era of the four-wheel-drive and cringe. It is a triumph of marketing that a car so ill-suited to city living has been adopted by so many.

Meanwhile, it's easy to imagine that in 30 or 40 years, Volkswagen will be releasing another version of this snappy motor.

It has everything going for it when it comes to zipping around town or – unless you are planning an outback safari – going farther afield. We are led to believe we need more of everything these days – more car, more house, more kitchen appliances than you can fit into a VW.

As the driver of a family station wagon, I was interested to see whether life would be dramatically altered in a two-door. My husband, Chris, whipped the toddler seat into the Beetle in a moment.

From there, it was a cinch installing our 15-month-old daughter, Cecile. The seats slide forward and back via a lever at about waist height on the side of the chair, allowing you to step inside to strap in. Cecile looked pretty happy with the whole thing. With the passenger seat set back to within an inch of her toes, there was plenty of leg room up front, which Chris enjoyed too. One of the first things I noticed was the weight of the doors.

Like the rest of the unit, they are incredibly sturdy, giving you the sense you are driving a car and not a tin relic from your child's toy box.

The seats are comfy, the CD stereo clear as a bell and the rear boot big enough for a stroller or a small family who know less is more when going on holiday. On the futuristic side, the unusually deep dash and blue illuminated instrumentation made me feel like Princess Leia.

It was, however, touches of the old Beetle, like the mounted vase and looped grab handles, that won me over. When I was six months old, in a time before baby capsules, my parents popped me in a bassinet on the back seat of their brand-new Beetle and drove to Queensland.

Dad remembers plugging a jug into the cigarette lighter to warm my bottle along the way. It is interesting to note the new Beetle has two lighter attachments - ``to percolate your coffee and blow-dry your hair at the same time'', a female colleague assured me.

I loved it. If I was single, I'd buy one tomorrow. If my boss agreed to double my salary, I would buy one today. And I'm sure if Cecile could say more than ``ta'', she would be with me all the way.

LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT
Volkswagen Beetle 1600 Automatic
Price: $29,700

Driveability: Smooth, comfortable and good in the hills.
Interior: Grey fabric interior. Blue instrumentation. Height adjustable front seats and seat belts.
Exterior: Great range of colours – ours was Techno Blue. The distinctive rumbling exhaust is missing. You can't have everything.

Pricing Guides

$5,335
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$3,410
Highest Price
$7,260

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
1.6 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $3,410 – 5,280 2002 Volkswagen Beetle 2002 1.6 Pricing and Specs
1.6 Ikon 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $3,850 – 5,610 2002 Volkswagen Beetle 2002 1.6 Ikon Pricing and Specs
2.0 2.0L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $4,290 – 6,270 2002 Volkswagen Beetle 2002 2.0 Pricing and Specs
2.0 Ikon 2.0L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $4,290 – 6,380 2002 Volkswagen Beetle 2002 2.0 Ikon Pricing and Specs