My 2002 VW New Beetle GLS TDi finally self-destructed yesterday. The odometer was at 99,000+ miles. I had hoped to turn over 100k, but fell a little short. I was actually on my way to a dealership to look at these Kias because the VW has been giving me a lot of problems lately. Then it died on the side of the road six miles from the Kia dealer. I was expected at the dealership and had to call them for a tow. Not a position of power when negotiating. Whatever.
In any case, it seems like a nice little car. I know it's kind of a starter car for kids a third my age, but it's comfortable, compact, gets good mileage and has a very long warranty. I'm happy.
I got the cheap model with the base 2 liter engine and an automatic tranny. Nothing else optional on the car. That little engine "only" puts out 156 horsepower. There's an optional 2.4 liter that puts out 173, but I liked the extra mpg of the smaller engine (as well as the cheaper sticker price of the car). Anyway, it's a 2700-pound car. I remember in 1981 I bought a Chevy Citation X-11 because Chevy was putting a 2.8 liter V6 H.O. LH7 engine in them with a cowl induction hood ("H.O. 660"). It put out a whole 135 horsepower and could pull that little 3000-pound Citation from 0-60 mph in under 9 seconds which was as fast as the '81 Turbo Trans Am. Well, this base Kia with an automatic does 0-60 mph in under 9 seconds and people call it pokey. The 2.4 liter does 0-60 in 7.5 seconds and people call it pokey, too. Even though that's as fast as a 1980 Corvette with an L-82 350.
I mean, it's cool that six-banger Toyotas are putting out 270 horses, but who drives like that? My VW only had a hundred horses and I barely ever really put my foot into it. I actually try to pay attention to what's going on so I won't have to put my foot on the floor. Once in a while I'd be merging or something and I'd mash into it, but I seldom ever needed more go-go than it had. Of course, I'm not a kid anymore. People give me a lot of ribbing about being seen driving slow on the highway while singing along with the stereo.
Anyway, it seems groovy. It's comfortable. The electronics are cool. The audio system sounds fairly decent (and that's lucky because it has odd-sized speakers...dunno where I'd find a replacement for a 5.8" speaker). It doesn't rattle (yet). Has 205/55R16 (nitrogen-filled) tires on 16x7 aluminum wheels and 4-wheel disc brakes. Has all the safety toys; ABS, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Brake Assist System, a Traction Control System, tire pressure monitors, active headrests, side-curtain airbags, etc. If I could have bought something like this in 1980 I'd have been in awe. Now it's nuthin' fancy.
I had this car less than a month before vandals smacked it with something heavy and left a nice big dent in the roof above the driver's door. Gotta love it.