Two days in and I like it, it’s perfect for what I wanted. Quick, fun, semi-practical, manual, low miles, pretty affordable, CPO warranty, unique. And now for a not so great photo...

Not long ago I posted both about the turbo beetle, and about narrowing down my choice to two cars, the aforementioned beetle and a Mini Cooper S. I started wavering a little and thinking about getting a 2014 Jetta 1.8t or Sonic or 1.0 ecoboost fiesta, or...

After driving both the Cooper S and the beetle, let me be clear, they really aren’t competitors.

The Mini Cooper drove awesomely, sounded awesome, maintained quite a bit of analog feel. But the one I drove had a seat tear, a rotational noise like a bearing, some brake funkiness, and they wouldn’t come down on the price.

So, I bought the turbo beetle and I like it. First off, its a good driving car - quick, manual, good steering, smallish. Jury is still out on the clutch feel, I was driving in dress shoes mostly so far(haven’t stalled it). But it also was a way better candidate for a daily driver: good sized hatch, comfortable, more spacious. I like its looks, that it’s not everywhere, and the interior, which is simpler than the Cooper but nice.

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Much of what the Cooper S would give me, racecar-ish feel, analog control; someday, the 996 should fulfill. But neither the 996 or Cooper was ever going to give me 15 cubic feet of storage. I threw my bike with the front wheel off with only 1 rear seat down in the back of the beetle today.

The Beetle had some other livability perks too, it’s rear seat is really accessible because the door is long enough and the front seat slides enough to step in easily for my daughter. And it came with a VW 2 year CPO warranty. Finally, it didn’t have a sunroof and manual seat which from a long term ownership perspective, I like. The first point was a particularly prominent reason that I didn’t go look at a Jetta 1.8T, I think my daughter will ride comfortably in back for a few years and have no trouble getting in and out.

So with all the GTI bones hidden underneath, how do prices compare? Well, after a month of looking in my area, for a comparable cost, I would have been looking at a GTI with about +80,000 miles and probably a mkvi car. The cheapest similar mileage GTI without warranty, in two doors, was still $2,500 more than the beetle I bought. So pound for pound it’s a good deal.

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I’ll probably change some things but it’ll be a while. I’m not crazy about the wheels. They look fine, but I’m inclined to look for something in a 17" size. I think it’d look a lot better if it sat about 1.5cm lower. Muffler maybe a possibility, it’s got a little fun noise but could use a bit more. Its no replacement for the 996 but it’ll make a great contrast and daily driver companion.