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'99 VW Beetle

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San Francisco:  I was off to San Francisco to check out the new Beetle this past month, just as I came back to California. I never thought of myself as prejudiced until that day. I was eager - not to like it. After all, the original was my history; I destroyed a gearbox learning to drive in that car. My 1965 Beetle gave me a golden pass to the "Summer of Love".

Pulling up to the dealership, I saw a fleet of 40 New Beetles, all seeming to smile at me. It is hard not to notice the great colors. Red, black, blue, yellow, and a beautiful techy-looking silver.

FIRST SPIN

One minute in solitude with this car brings back a flood of memories, and WOW I must admit, it's really, really cute. The overall emotional feeling from the New Beetle grabs everyone in view. Sitting in the driver's seat, I'm so happy. Everyone who passes me is either smiling or laughing - for a second they forget they are in gridlock traffic. They applaud, as this burst of yellow sunshine zips by with its 115 horsepower, very peppy motor. Not a chance of getting a ticket for going too slow in the wimpy lane in this baby. This one is fun to drive. It would be a great traveling sales rep car!!

Creature comforts the original could only dream of are here, in spades. Lots of room this time around, even if you are 6'6". Cloth upholstery is standard, but the leather is nicer. The front window angles forward over the engine, leaving a dash wide enough to spread out paperwork or a picnic lunch. And, for those late night drives, we have working headlights - something my original Beetle fell short on. Very smart looking inside. The yellow body with black leather interior, being my favorite, has a very German vibe to it, with its black textured rubber and aluminum trim. Plenty of room for luggage in the very large trunk, and the back seat now folds down for even more space.

The new Beetle would be a sure-fire closing tool, because everyone loves it. This bug, however, should not be categorized, as it is really a true "PEOPLE'S" car. Young, old, or middle aged, this is a real lifestyle vehicle. The Beetle factory, being in Mexico, has helped keep the costs down to a very do-able price, ranging from $15,200 - $20,000 out the door. Early examples had been going at a premium, generally loaded with the mags and the power option package, but you can now find a base model if you shop around.

The pros and cons? This new Beetle is fun to drive, has plenty of pep, handles smoothly, and is a great visual statement. Sadly, only 50,000 are due to arrive the first year in North America, so supply is a bit tight. Good news though - orders are being filled very quickly. Mine's already in! One look at the actual bud vase (groovin' on flower power!) that's attached to the dash and I'll make a toast to VW. . .Hey Volkswagen, this buds for you. Peace, Blondra.

Blondra AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  By Blondra AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Column Name:  All Power to the Beetle
Topic:  '99 Volkswagen Beetle
Word Count:  530
Photo Caption:  '99 Volkswagen Beetle
Photo Credits:  Rexx Taylor
Series #:   1999 - 21

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