The 2001 Volkswagen Beetle was initially produced as an affordable economy car back in 1938. The unmistakable VW ""Bug"" is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single automobile platform anywhere in the world. Right out of the gate during the early years of the 20th century, Ferdinand Porsche was a kind of automotive-wunderkind, spearheading some of the hottest vehicles of the day. The first ""Type 60"" Beetle rode on a chassis and was basically a stamped steel pan with the 1.0-liter, overhead valve, flat-four engine located in the back making a whopping 23.5 horsepower.
Over the ensuing decades, the legendary Volkswagen Beetle has enjoyed various permutations, without ever losing its signature diminutive, slopped front-end appearance. A full half-century after it was first built in Germany, VW envisioned a new Beetle to celebrate its 50th birthday but with a decidedly modern edge. Built exclusively at its Mexico plant, the 1998 version was an immediate industry sensation, winning over an entire new generation of admirers.
Body Styles: hatchback
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder, 1.9-liter four-cylinder, 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual
Models: Volkswagen Beetle GL, Volkswagen Beetle GLS, Volkswagen Beetle GLS 1.8T, Volkswagen Beetle GLX 1.8T, Volkswagen Beetle GLS TDI
The 2001 Volkswagen Beetle is in its fourth year of the new revamped generation and offers few minor changes. All models get redesigned cup-holders and a trunk entrapment release button, and the GLS 1.8T and GLX enjoy larger exterior mirrors, optional 17-inch alloy wheels, a souped-up Monsoon sound system, and high-intensity discharge headlights. A self-dimming rearview mirror and rain-sensing wipers now come standard on the GLX models.
The 2001 Volkswagen Beetle's trademark shape is still apparent, albeit updated for today’s generation. It's made to look like a sportier, more modernized hatchback that was let loose on the world’s highways, which is overrun with cookie-cutter sedans and coupes. It holds its own, sleek, distinctive style that proves to still be a head-turner. Despite its small size, it's designed to hold-up quite well in accidents.
The 2001 Volkswagen Beetle unique exterior styling spills over into its interior as well, accentuated by lots of swirls along the doors and dash with big fun circular dials. There’s even a small bud vase that keeps a small flower looking fresh and healthy or holds a plastic daisy. Legroom is understandably limited in the back cabin area, which makes it not a great family car. There’s 12 cubic feet of cargo space available at the rear with the split rear seat backs folding down for a tad more room. Some standard amenities include AC, cruise control, AM/FM CD stereo system with at least a half-dozen speakers, and power doors and windows.
Performance & Handling
The 2001 Volkswagen Beetle offer three engines for each model: a 1.8-liter turbocharged gets 150 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque; a 1.9-liter turbo diesel is good for 90 hp and 155 lb-ft of torque; and lastly, a two-liter comes in with 115 hp and 122 lb-ft of torque. Smooth, quiet, clean, and spunky, it packs plenty of momentum under its hood for a fun ride.
The 2001 Volkswagen Beetle comes with standard safety features that include all-wheel anti-lock brakes, dual front-side mounted airbags, child seat anchors, traction control, an anti-theft alarm system, and two front and rear headrests.
EPA Fuel Economy
VW Beetle, 1.8-liter Turbo: 22/28 mpg city/highway
VW Beetle, 1.9-liter Turbo diesel: 35/44 mpg city/highway
VW Beetle, 2.0-liter: 21/28 mpg city/highway
- Unique styling
- Great crash test ratings
- Highly affordable
- Turbo engine delivers quite an enthusiastic ride
- Great fuel economy with the diesel option
You Won't Like
- Back seat's a bit cramped
Still going strong after all these years.
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