2002 vehicle is hardly representive of brand (which didn’t bankrupt). Transmission from that time was STA, later Aisin. While Aisin was better, it is nothing to brag about.The 2002 Beetle I just picked up for my daughter to drive has sworn me off of European cars. I had to do a pile of work to get it safe for her to drive, and give me peace it would not leave her stranded.
The interior is junk. This car has lived in the Midwest it's whole life, so Southern sun isn't an issue. It's just cheap junk that cracks easily, and formed a gooey, sticky mess. it smells like melting crayons in side. Don't get me started on the junk headliner.
The wiring is brittle....even worse than my 95 Wrangler that lived out West in the heat most of it's life.
Working on it was better than I thought, but there are hoses and plastic parts all over that are in the way. There is an air injection system that broke that is $1500....thankfully glue and zip ties fixed that.
The use of cheap foam for the blend doors in the HVAC is one of the dumbest designs I have ever seen.
A special scanner was needed specifically for the car.
I started life as a MOPAR guy, moved into Nissan and Toyota, and my preference goes to the Japanese cars now. They are a dream to work on, during the rare instance they need repair, and just hold up to the salt much better than any American car I've owned ever has. Before anyone brings up the CVT's in the Nissan, my son is driving my old Rouge with the original trans at 129000 miles, whereas this Bug (106,000 miles) is most likely going to need transmission work in a year or so (bad 2-3 shift and doesn't like to move immediately after putting it in drive). I'm just holding off to see if my daughter wrecks/totals it first......she is a good driver, but a brand new one.
My youngest son's GTI is darn fun to drive though.....he plans on getting rid of it soon knowing that it will have many issues, and it's in a sweet spot for selling.
unlike in my Toyota that has failed brake booster, it ain’t gonna happen on VW, even one 13 years older.