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Volkswagen Cabrio



  • If I were not a single father then it would have been a tough choice between the Cabrio and the Miata.

    I wanted creature comforts and the Miata just didn't have much in that area.

    If you want performance then put in the higher octane gas and you will get it. I promise you all that I have no affiliation with Cheveron but I had played around with octane boosters and for $3 bucks I got a lot of spunk. So if I use the higher octane gas on a road trip the throttle gets away from me. I had deduced that the Techron (sp?) gave me the best throttle response. Then I heard from the local VW guy that this fuel (by name) was recommended by VW for use in their cars. OK enough but if you want spunk use that gas.

    So, even with my past excess oil use I would buy this car again. By the way, I haven't had that issue for a long time now and I am at @24,000 plus miles. I like my car because of the creature comforts that it has. If I wanted a cheap muscle car then the Mustang was my next choice. Between that one and the Miata they have good power to weight ratios. Could you imagine anything bigger than a 2.0 in a Cabrio? I would be getting bad gas milage and tickets. I would rather buy a cheap gas and then the "good stuff" when I wanted to travel.

    After my 24,000 mile service I filled up with regular cheap gas and I didn't have to fill up until 385 miles and I still had 2 gallons to go at fill up. These cars are supposed to have a 13 gallon tank right? That wast the best milage that I ever got! So they must have done something during the tune up to get me that savings. I'll let you know as soon as I know.

    Later Cabbers!
  • Hey Mike,
    That's great gas mileage. The tank is 13.7 gallons, which means you got about 32 miles per gallon! You even beat the optimistic EPA estimates: (City Manual Transmission 24, Automatic Transmission 22
    Highway Manual Transmission 31,Automatic Transmission 28). I have been tracking my mileage since I bought my Cabrio last October. (I have a 2001 GL w/ manual transmission). My average over 13819 miles, 66 fills, is 26.7 MPG. Best was 30.9, and worse was 21.2

    As far as a good power to weight ratio, I have to disagree. My cabbie is 115 HP/2825LBS=.040 power to weight ratio
    A Ford Escort is 110/2470=.045
    To put things into perspective, a Porsche Carrera is 300HP/2900LBS=.103 (Did I mention the $50,000 price difference between the Porsche and the Cabrio?)

    So why is a Cabrio such fun to drive? I think it's the combination of road feel, handling, and having the maximum torque coming on at 2600 RPM. This puts those 115 ponies into action much sooner than a lot of other cars. Of course once the top is down, in my mind, I become Bob Wollek in a Lola Porsche 38!

    Keep on cabbin'
  • ragtop3ragtop3 Posts: 11
    I need to clarify that my comments regarding the Cabrio’s poor engine performance are in respect to the automatic transmission. I didn’t note a night and day difference with the 5 speed but certainly there was more pickup throughout the gears. I need to share the vehicles’ work duty with my wife who isn’t too fond of manual transmissions, a few too many years of stop and go traffic will due that to a person. Also, I had to replace the clutch on my ‘87 GTI after only 65,000 miles which seemed premature, IF i were to purchase a manual what’s the likely lifespan for a VW clutch?

    I’m interested in trying Mike’s octane booster idea (problem is I don’t own the vehicle). Maybe it would give the automatic some life. Last week when I test drove the ‘01 Cabrio the engine was cold, specifically 30 degrees cold, and there was absolutely no power when driving off the lot. I’ve never experienced such a lack of power before. After ten minutes or so I either adjusted to the ‘low octane’ power or it warmed up properly and drove with the power I’ve come to expect. Besides an annoying rattle on the passenger side I liked it, particularly how completely straight the Cabrio tracks compared to my two Japanese vehicles. THAT I could come to appreciate! As usual the car dealer hasn't called back about when the car was actually put into service, hence how much is left on the warranty. Nobody but nobody will lift a finger to sell you a car anymore. I guess this is why I keep trying not buying until spring when the selling frenzy starts again.

    I’m pleased with the few favorable rulings saying this car maybe worth the risk. Thanks in advance for the comments offered here.
  • Hi all!

    It' so nice to start to see the old gang back on the board!

    So, much to my dismay, I lost my arbitration case. The arbitrator was unfair and bias as far as I'm concerned. I have filed compliant against her.

    My car still has issues, so yesterday, I talked to 5 lawyers. All 5 looked at my paper work and said that they are sure they can settle with VW. All took my case for free and if they win, I pay, if not I don't. The one I'm going with with will charge me $600, that's it. I'm pretty excited.

    The question of whether I would buy this car again is timely because VW has to give me my money back or give me a spankin' new 2002 cabrio -- the one with the 4 year warranty.

    And believe it or not, that might be what I do. (or I might just buy it again and get the great financing that is around these days). I'm not sure.

    I agree with sharrel, there are good reasons I bought this car in the first place. And there are few other options for a cute fun sporty ragtop around 20K with lots of features.

    I'll let you all know what happens.


  • Has anyone installed a Neuspeed hood strut brace? (I think that's what it's called.) It's a metal bar/brace that you install under the hood across the width of the car to prevent shimmeying. It's supposed to add stability and life to the car. Would it be worth the cost? Does it really add life to your car? I want to keep my cabby for a long time so I want it to last. How much should I expect to spend for installation or can I just drill holes myself?

    Also, are there any other modifications I can make to my car that are a must when it comes to increasing performance and adding life to the car? I've heard about the K & N filter being a good investment. Any suggestions would be appreciated. :)


  • Any hope of VW dropping the 1.8t into the cabrio?
  • I went to buy a Jetta, but my dad (imagine that!) convinced me to go for the convertible, since I always wanted to that kind of car (and a Jetta too). The whole "life is short" argument. Even tho I live in the NYC area, and won't use the convertible as much as, say, an owner in Miami. I hope no one takes this the wrong way - I look at is as a coupe Jetta with a removable lid - and very cute looking at that!

    Bought a 2002 GLX Cabrio and have been reading all the posts here & in other sites. I am worried about VW service & dependability. I will be positive but any reassurance would be good... I am very excited about my new car (green, beige leather). Warranty was a great feature too!

    Also FYI - the salesperson told me they are going to discontinue the cabrio (at least in US) for a short while (don't know when) and come out with a new Beetle convertible.. very interesting to see that!!
  • Pickle,

    Well, as far as the relability and service issue, you might be lucky and have no problems like some on the board or have endless issues like me. If you love this car (I did) and plan to keep it buy an extended warrenty. This car does have issues. But, he.. you only live once and it's a fun little car. And perhaps you'll be lucky. My best wishes.

    I'm not buying it again, but that is just me. VW has been horible to work with and the car was no good. But, on the other hand, I work with two people who have the car and have had no prolbems.

    Best of luck


    I just wanted to pass on the name of my awesome Lemon law lawyer to you. He's in San Diego. Perhaps he can work something out with VW. He's fee is $500. Email me directly if you want at to get the details.

  • Hello-

    Apologies in advance if this topic has been thoroughly covered- but: last week, I purchased a 97 cabrio with 44000 miles. I live in Minnesota, have driven a Jeep Cherokee for the past few years, and am learning to drive a stick shift, no less. We've had unseasonably warm, dry weather for November, but I am starting to get nervous. Does anyone have any good advice for driving and maintaining this car during the winter?

    Thank you!
  • Glewwe,
    I live in Massachusetts. No snow yet, but it can get nasty real quick. I have a 2001. Last season I went with the standard all season tires that came with the car. Had some cornering and sliding issues, but not bad. Probably my own fault. The front wheel drive is a definitely a plus for traction.

    This season, I've just changed over to Michelin Arctic Alpin snow tires on all 4 wheels. I'll report at the first storm.

    Sorry about all the hassles with your VW. Please stay in touch.

  • Well, that's the dilemma I'm in now (or soon will be). I have a '98 VW GL Auto that I leased in March 1998. I was in a car accident with an SUV in 1999 and I SURVIVED with no injuries. Witnesses were surprised I was able to walk away. I LOVE THIS CAR!!!

    Since the beginning of this year, I have had mechanical problems every 2-3 months. I've had my ignition coil, mass-air flow sensor and catalytic converter replaced THIS YEAR! Luckily all these things were under manufacturer's warranty or extended warranty, but it definitely worries me, especially since one of my problems (squealing brakes) has not been corrected after numerous visits to the dealer.

    I've oscillated between buying a new (and different) car to keeping the one I have, and with 4 months to make a decision, I STILL don't know what to do. I love having a convertible, and frankly, the Cabrio is the only one I like that's within my price range. But with all my problems, I can't imagine having anything else.

    So, would I buy this car again?? DEFINITELY!
  • Maybe the answer to whether you keep the car is an extended warranty. That was my least now I know I can enjoy the good things about this car without worrying about mechanical problems. My extended warranty includes rental car and the deductible is low - $50 per visit. I went with the company that my mechanic recommended and has dealt with before. Because I had an automatic top, this was very critical to me. I'm covered bumper-to-bumper for another 85,000 miles or 5 years. If I decide to get rid of the car, it is transferable for $55. - so another selling feature.

    Glad you walked away from the accident - friends never believe me when I tell them how heavy this car is...and all the safety features definitely pay off.
  • bgenebgene Posts: 3
    I have not posted to this board for a couple years and after reading some concerns I though I'd jump back in. My wife's 98 Cabrio is 37 months old and has had no mechanical problems or other concerns. It is just as fun as the day it was bought. The car was purchased in the SF Bay area and we now live in the Midwest, I will post again in the spring after winter driving. The only problem in the Midwest is you see very few of these cars here and a total of three strangers have tried to buy the car out from under her in the last 6 months (all female). When she stated it wasn't for sale they became even more determined like, name your price, or take my phone number and think about it. Not For Sale! I assume there are a lot more very satisfied owners who don't post and the negative postings are frustration (I would post problems if I had a bad car too). Hope this helps, 98 Cabrio, Auto, Puebla built.
  • Hello,

    I know my cabrio is not the same car today, but VW does (or did?) make reliable cars. My '86 cabrio has over 215,000 miles on it. It has been almost trouble free. It did not start to show its age until about 195,000 miles. Then within 3 months, I had to replace the alternator, the clutch bracket, valve job, and radiator. The clutch was replaced at 214,000. I still drive it 70 miles everyday, and am planning on keeping it even though I will be buying a new Audi A4 Avant sometime soon.
  • Well, last week I decided to give up my beloved '98 VW Cabrio and bought an '02 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport. I'm very happy with my decision.

    Reliability became the final issue. Every two months, I was sending my car to the mechanic for repairs, and after hearing about my co-workers problems with her '97 VW Jetta, I decided that reliability is not VW's strong suit, or at least not now. Plus with all I've read on this website about VW's reliability (or lack thereof) and the lack of good VW dealers in my area, I really had no choice but to give up on the Cabrio. The final straw came when my car wouldn't start a few weeks ago, and my fear that it wouldn't make it to Denver for Xmas. (It barely made it back from Denver in July.)

    I wish everyone good luck with their Cabrios. Hopefully your experience will be much better than mine!
  • Hello, I have been reading all of the information and stories that all of the fellow Cabrio owners have posted and I thought I would share my experience with you all. My wife and I decided 1 year ago today to purchase a 2001 GLX cabrio wht/blk. This is our 4th VW. 70 beetle,81 jetta & 87 jetta. I have had SMALL problems with all of my past Volkswagens but I feel that they have been some off the most FUN cars to drive of all of the cars that we have owned over the last 15 years. I originally thought about buying another Toyota but you know..they just aren't much fun to drive. This Cabrio has enough power,handles great, and hasn't had any problems other then getting 2 new keys programed the 1st week after delivery do to the dealership loosing all but 1 of the keys before we took delivery. The radio has gone into SAFE mode 1 time this year, oh well I had to put in the security code. I do hope that I don't have some of the oil burning problems or other issues that some of you have described but we are willing to put up with a few small quirks to drive a FUN car that has some personality. Happy Holidays
  • peggyppeggyp Posts: 7
    why are/were you in court about your cabrio? I bought one oct.'01. the paint is terrible and the leather on the handles have been replaced.
    i love my car but i hate the paint job. it is the blue/blue/beige. it looks as though some one took sand paper and put swirls on the car.
    the service rep...said can't do anything about it.
    where do you buy an extended warrenty..from VW?

  • halogenhalogen Posts: 20
    Hi there Georgia,
    Those swirls in the paint can probably be
    buffed/polished/waxed down to a tolerable
    shine.They are probably not the fault of VW.
    Have you tried any products? Meguiars makes
    alot of different products.
  • perosaperosa Posts: 3
    No,I haven't been able to figure it out yet.. (in all fairness, I haven't been trying very hard since I first gave up!).
    If you still have pictures, I'd appreciate them.
  • perosaperosa Posts: 3
    I'm sorry to hear all the slurs about the VW dealers... I recently moved from NYC to CA, and the "new" dealership is taking just as good care of me as the "old" one. My car only has 7000 miles on it (4000 of which were from the rambling cross-country drive), but performance has been excellent, and I LOVE MY CAR!
    Admittedly I haven't even owned it a year, but there hasn't been an instant in which I've been anything less than thrilled with it- and with VW service in general. (The guy who actually SOLD me the thing is a different story, but ah, well! : ))
  • halogenhalogen Posts: 20
    I have 4000 miles on my Cabrio,consider it quite
    a bargain(compared to BMW convertibles and all of their reported problems)and have fallen in love
    with the car, and will keep it always !
    Now why doesn't VW make a cover for the dern
    thang ????
  • I bought the 2001 GLX in Desert Wind/Black leather/Black top in May. "Brie" has 17,000Km on her right now and I absolutely love this car! Have had a couple of minor issues, namely the peeling door handles, the passenger door lock not working, and the radio going into safe mode, but the guys at the dealership have been absolutely great with answering my questions and fixing the problems! Good service definitely helps!
  • flasunflasun Posts: 2
    I have a 2001 cabrio that i love. i've had no problems other than the greasy dirt in the front hubcaps. i also noticed the brake fluid level is down quite a bit. i just moved and have not had a chance to hook up with a dealership. has anyone else experienced this problem? is it chronic?

    Thanks for an answer.

  • Hi all!

    VW had finally agreed to buy my car back (thanks to my lawyer). My car has clearly had some more issues than other people on this board, so I think that it is a lemon and that other Cabrios are better. To give you a sense of the problems, they include the check engine light going off 5 times, the coolant light twice, the temp. light twice, the seat belt was replaced four times, and so forth (Oh, Peggy, my case was in California, and for paint scratches I'm not sure that there is much that you can do).

    Now, I have the factory CD changer as well as the Cabrio brackets for sale. The CD changer is about three months old because they replaced the whole sound system a few months ago. I also have the bracket for the Cabario. The set retails for $480 ($400 for the stereo and $80 for the bracket). I'm selling this for $250. IF anyone wants it feel free to email me at


  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    I helped a good friend of mine pick out an 02 Cabrio GLX as her first new car in 12 years. I hope I didn't lead her to a reliability nightmare as her 90 Isuzu Impulse has held up extremely well. She got a Tornado red one with beige top and beige leather. So far she loves it. Other cars on her short list were the Mitsu Eclipse Spyder and Toyota MR2 Spyder. She marked the MR2 off as impractical since it only sat 2, had no trunk space, and didn't have a traditional automatic. She liked the Eclipse, but it was much more cramped in the rear seat, her husband didn't fit in it comfortably, and it felt sort of claustrophobic with poor rearward visibility. The Cabrio is really quite roomy for such a little car. It impresses with its open and airy cabin and solid quality feel. I will try to give updates on how it holds up for her. She keeps cars a long time so she should figure out if its made as well as it feels.
  • em6em6 Posts: 1
    I truly loved my little red cabrio for the first few months then this happened in this sequence
  • Hi, I am currently shopping around for my first VW Cabrio and I was wondering what too look for in this kind of car. My main concern is knowing if a top is holding up, or was neglected and will be in need of replacement soon. I have seen some Cabrios with the top up on the Highway and have seen these tops filling up with air like a big bubble. I guess that can not be to good for the longevity for a ragtop, right???.. Whats up with that?
  • Car Problems: - Make sure you are documenting all the problems, research your state's lemon law (do an internet search; there are web sites with this information). contact vw at the 800 number so they start documenting the problems. I assume you have gotten a free rental for any time your car is kept over 24 hours (if not, contact vw 800 number). I had peeling door handles; common with vws (not just cabrios). Rest of your problems didn't match mine. I also was known to take copies of the lemon law with me to the dealership and was more than willing to share with other customers. Got very fast service with adjusters. Good luck! Knock on wood; no problems since my 2 year warranty ended and I don't go back to vw dealership for service.

    Shopping around: are you looking at the cloth top when you see them balloon? I have never seen the top ballooning. When you saw this, was the top down? There is a boot to cover the top and it is very tight and secure. My top is only two years old and doesn't have wear so I can't tell you how they wear. I have compared the top with my friends nissan convertible and mustang convertible. They all admit cabrio top looks best; doesn't show all the ribs underneath.
  • lngtonge18lngtonge18 Posts: 2,228
    My friend had her first minor problem with her 02 Cabrio. Both of her remote key fobs quit working. Attempts to reprogram the remotes didn't fix the problem. I will find out what happened later this week. Otherwise, she loves the cabrio.
  • I feel your pain. I had a ton of problems too. I think the question for you is do you want to keep this car. Is it worth the headaches?

    I would say document everything (save everything the dealer gives you) like Sharrel said.

    Lemon laws are automobile consumer protection laws that in most states are very powerful. Thirty days in the shop is the magic number in most states. With this many days in the shop under 18,000 to 24,000 miles you can get most of your money back. I had 20,000 miles on my car, sued VW and got 95% of my money back. My attoney fees were only $500. If you live in California, we could talk about your options. I'm happy to give you the name of my lawyer too. You can email me at I'm pleased to help

    If you don't live in California, not to worry. Your state has a lemon law too. Here is a link that summarizes every state's lemon law

    This process is not as horrible as it sounds and at the end you get to go buy a new trouble free car. Or you can get another cabrio.

    Hope this helps. Hang in there.



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