The used Volkswagen Beetle is making Herbie lovers weak at the knees as this funky fashion statement is available for a rock-bottom price. Motoring.co.uk's used car database reveals five year old examples are listed with 'buy safe' sellers from a temptingly modest £7,500. However, the obligatory Herbie racing stripes cost extra.
Before we delve too deeply into assessing this vehicle it is worth remembering one important point. The Beetle, despite being based on the impressively practical VW Golf, is not a great family car. Its quirky round shape limits interior space and the boot is smaller than a student's bank balance. This vehicle is best viewed as a fashion statement. A bit of fun. Style over substance and heart over head.
The current generation Beetle was introduced in 1999, and used buyers can choose from a wide variety of engines. These include the 1.4-litre 73bhp petrol which takes 14.1 seconds to crawl to 60mph, and the more entertaining 2.3-litre V5. This latter 167bhp variant propels the Beetle to 60mph in 8.4 seconds and is capable of 131mph. Diesel lovers can choose the 1.9-litre 98bhp model which has decent performance and averages 53mpg.
The Beetle's handling is arguably reminiscent of its fluffy image. Unlike the movie where Herbie can be seen heroically corning like a possessed train, the real life vehicle is best treated more gently. There is plenty of traction and a comfortable ride, but these qualities are compromised by too much body roll and lifeless steering. That said, this VW is a competent cruiser and far more entertaining overall than many small cars. But please, whatever you do, don't paint number '53' on the bonnet.