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Volkswagen Rabbit MPG - real world numbers



  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    true, it simply is not the most amzing car with regards to gas, and vw had a choice; cater to those in america who want better gas mileage, or who want some good power in a cheap car. they chose the later, and are now enjoying the fact forums such as these at LEAST aren't getting comments on how 'slow' the rabbit is.

    you just cant please everyone.
  • I didn't buy the car for its mileage, but have saved my gas receipts.
    My driving is mostly to work, about 7.5 miles each way on a major street. A lot of times I can get up to 50 MPH and rarely have to stop at every light. If you know Stevens Creek Blvd. in San Jose or El Camino in Sunnyvale, you know what my route is like. It's a 2 door manual.

    1. 24.88 MPG
    2. 29.78
    3. 28.81
    4. 25.18
    5. 23.79
    6. 26.25
    7. 25.27
    8. 24.84
    9. 27.8
    10. 27.18
    11. 27.0
    12. 26.76
    13. 27.67

    When it was new, I did some freeway miles for the break-in,
    which may account for a couple readings of 28 and 29 MPG.
    It's still very solid and fun to drive.
    It recently had a fuel pump replacement, covered by warranty
    (the dealer replaced it when the pump started whining).
    (For the MPG figures, above, I always went to the same
    pump at the same station, but am thinking that the fuel
    pump may have gone bonk because there was some contaminant
    in the gas that plugged up the filter and made the pump work
    too hard, so am thinking of going to a different station).
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    didn't buy the car for its mileage

    thank you. as no one should.

    the numbers you posted are great, especially considering the sub par gas you were using. (what gas station was it that you were using?)

    i only fill up at bp, sometimes at shell, and avoid the cheapo places altogether.
  • ezshift5ezshift5 West coastPosts: 857
    .......If you know Stevens Creek Blvd. in San Jose or El Camino in Sunnyvale, you know what my route is like

    ..tell me about it. (..last two years of college were somewhat south of there.....)

    ....but my Rabbit does much better fuel-wise (keyword here is 'fuel').....

    best, ez..
  • moracitymoracity Posts: 8
    I just turned 7000 miles and got my 5-door Rabbit (tiptronic) last October. I drive about 90%/10% city/hwy and only avg 21MPG. I drive about 10 miles each way to work. I'm a fairly conservative driver and a creature of habit, but I definitely notice that this engine is extremely thirsty when driving aggressively. Morning drive is a 15 minute jaunt with no traffic and only a few lights. Afternoon is about 45 minutes of traffic. I was averaging 24MPG during winter and am now averaging 20MPG with A/C on. Driving without A/C in Atlanta is simply not an option for me.

    I generally fill up within a mile or two of the gas light coming on, which is usually about 13 gallons gone with 250-275 miles driven. This means I get a about a week and a half between fill-ups.

    An interesting note, I always get gas at the same place. A couple times, I used premium (93 octane here) and my mileage actually got worse...didn't even get to 250 on 13 gallons.

    I would definitely not recommend the Rabbit for anyone concerned about fuel least not for city drivers with an automatic and air-conditioning on. I knew going in that mileage wouldn't be great, but it's worse than I expected. 20MPG even with A/C is abysmal. On the other hand, it's a really fun car to drive and I've only seen two or three on the road since I got it.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    Your afternoon 10 miles in 45 minutes would, I think, kill mpg on any car. 24 mpg with that kind of driving 1/2 the time seems pretty good, actually. I wouldn't think the a/c should cost 4 mpg, though.
  • It's the Rabbit's tragic (if only) flaw. You get a lot of car for your money. It might explain why I see so many more GTI's on the road and virtually no Rabbits. Most people who have a little extra money, and who care more about performance will move up and get a GTI instead.

    BUT: in making my decision to buy this car the MEDIOCRE gas mileage was the ONLY reason I hesitated before buying it. Other than that I really do love this car, and although the engine is a little bit thirsty by todays standards It really is great to drive behind the wheel, with unmatched luxury for the out-the-door price.
    PLUS: The new epa estimates are available everywhere. 19-28. Like I've been saying on this forum: Just try to know what your getting in to before purchasing the car!
    AND: THE MPG performance on the Rabbit/Golf has always been about the same on the automatic 4 cylanders since 2000. Just go to and do a side by side comparison on the Rabbit/Golf, it has always been within 1 or 2 miles of 19-28mpg (new estimates) which translates to aboud 22-30mpg (old estimates). For 06'/07' They've added an extra cylander, beefed up the horsepower, made the car bigger and heavier and it still gets the same MPG as before.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    i hope your post is not a one off; meaning that you post once to complain and then never visit this site again, becasuse you can get some good help here.

    the rabbit gets an estimated 19mpg in the city, so i'd say that your 20-21 average w/ac is pretty dang good. I live in nc, and i can't wait for winter, so i can lay off the a/c. ( i did a lot of driving this weekend, and averaged 27mpg mostly highwway with lots and lots of ice cold ac)

    Plus, your commute is nothing short of a recipie for horrible gas mileage. The fact that your rabbit is STILL getting epa, is great.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    good post sharpedge; my wife and i didn't think the mileage was a big deal, since it is our only car.

    I don't see very many gti's on the road, but i do see them ever so slightly more than rabbits. From what i know though, rabbits are in no way being left on lots; pepole are buying them, but there just isn't a whole lot of them to be had; whereas some cars excel in mileage, the rabbit excels in everything else. I don't think anyone would buy a gti over the rabbit for the gas, but as a performance package it works.

    But then again those people are willing to spend that money (which is slightly more than performance versions of other cars) and the rabbits features still put it at the top of the pack with regards to content on entry level models. making it the perfect car for someone who likes substance over gas mileage.

    I could go and get a new civic, but to equip it like my 2 door rabbit, i'd have to get an ex, which is a 20k car; the car payments alone TOTALLY counteract the gas i would be saving with it. Just an example.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    like sharpedgeshurt pointed out, the old 2.slow that was in the base golfs, jettas and beetles that yielded a mighty 115 hp averaged only EVER SO SLIGHTLY more mpg than the current jetta/rabbit engine.

    so vw gives us another cylinder .5 litres of displacment and 155hp more with no significant drop in gas and we are still complaining? good grief, some of you guys need to get laid.
  • 4itgog4itgog Posts: 15
    My 2006 4 dr Tiptronic Rabbit has averaged 26.4 over 19,000K. The lowest was 22.1 (short winter trips) to 31.7 (1,600K summer trip) I could do better, but my Rabbit handles better than all my past GTIs, so my driving habits have slowly changed for the better(worse).
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    awesome, and i agree about the handling traits over past gti's.

    wow 19k? you are the only person who i know who has that many miles on their rabbit, making you second place! ;)

    (mine's got over 26k)
  • I just got my new 3-door manual 2007 Rabbit.

    So far, mpg isn't looking great. I think I am going to get 27 or 28 mpg with a mix of 70% suburban and 30% highway. By suburban I mean a 3 lane road with lights every mile or so, a 45mph limit ( so every does 50-60 ) and traffic levels such that you are never caught at the lights through 2 cycles.

    I know that some people think that expectations are too high.
    My feeling is that VW have much better engines than this 5-pot and I would have loved a choice in the matter. I went to the VW UK site which gives mpg and imperial power and torque figures ( note that the imperial gallon is larger and you will need to multiply by 0.83 to get US mpg equivalents ).

    They have a 2 liter turbo diesel with 170 horses and 258 ft lbs of torque which will get you 40mpg - you can outrun just about anything and outsip a low end Corolla. They have a 1.4 liter turbo/supercharged with 162 ft lbs of torque which will get you 32mpg.

    They also have a 1.6 liter which has the same performance as the old two liter and excellent fuel economy ( 35mpg ).

    So I certainly feel a little frustrated that the better engines are not available here. All that said, the prices in the UK are stratospheric, starting at an equivalent of $25k for the base model - every foreign car company must be making a fortune with the strength of the pound and the British propensity to overpay for cars ( they can't buy in Europe because they are right hand drive ).

    A couple of things about the Rabbit don't help with the fuel economy. The engine is quiet and smooth and allows you to forget to change up. It is quite peppy and does invite hard driving. The manual ratios are much shorter legged than they need to be, back in 1990 I had a 2 liter Vauxhall ( Chevy ) which probably had a little over 100 ft lbs of torque and would do 90mph at 3,000 rpm.

    I am sure the Rabbit could take the higher gearing.
    However, here is my take on why the gearing is the way it is. Americans are chronically obese as well as being the largest humans on the planet when in good physical shape. A car company has to design a vehicle to safely move four adults and luggage when the adults weights are in the upper 10th percentile. Fat guys have fat wives and fat friends ( I think I read something the other day about mutually reinforcing lifestyles being one of the issues of obesity - people literally egg each other on to overeat and not exercise ). So Gunther and Helmut are at the drawing board looking to design a car for the American market. We need to be able to cope with four 250lb adults and 150lbs of luggage - 1,150lbs . Well the 2-liter is out, it'll need to be the 2.5 five pot. Now what about the gearing ratios ? Well we can't make them too far apart, not with all that weight to accelerate and besides Americans are lazy and won't want to drop a gear to pass so we will have to keep the 5th gear low enough to allow passing at 70mph ( before you protest, who takes corners in 3rd and lets the engine struggle from under 1,000rpm ).

    The other issue I see here is that Americans are obsessed with horse power and engine capacity. A 3-liter engine in Europe is considered a monster and we are happier to be in a hi-tech 2 liter than a guzzling 4 liter V8. I won't even look at high end cars here simply because they all have ridiculously over sized engines.

    My stereotyping is not reflective of those reading this forum but then you drive European cars and care about mpg. You are not representative of the American market. If you were we would have the full choice of engines on offer.

    My current strategy is to change up when the rev counter noses above 2000rpm and to pull steadily away from the lights. I never change down to pass and don't brake or accelerate hard to change lanes. I had a Volvo V70 wagon with a real time fuel consumption readout. I could see what happens when you hammer it from the lights and learned to take my time to hit cruising speed and to avoid lane changes and "overactive" driving. If this country had a progressive government it would mandate that all cars have a real time mpg readout as well as a speedo and rev counter. Believe me, it would change driving habits for the better.

    Well, after all that ranting, I do agree that the Rabbit is pretty much a nice mid-range vehicle disguised as an econo-hatch. It compares quite nicely to my Volvo V50 which costs $10k more. The only complaints that I would echo regard the seat cloth quality, a slight problem with pulling off the line in 1st ( hard to get the accelerator input right ) and the fact that the black plastic on the body doesn't contrast very well with the silver color I chose. I think darker colors work better with the black exterior trim.
  • Nice Rant.
    I just went on a trip with 3 friends and a fully loaded trunk to Big Bear. average weight of passenger was probabl 125 (the girl friend is not American and is much smaller, off setting the "average weight") and luggage was probably another 100-150. so that's a good 600lbs of cargo. Anyone who has been to Big Bear Mountain in Southern California knows how windy the roads are. The Rabbit can really haul [non-permissible content removed] up the hill with an amazingly smooth ride, and little strugle. I managed to get everyone in my vehicle car sick at one point from zipping up the mountain. :shades: Anyway, The 2.5 makes a lot of sense and is a helluva a lot of fun to drive. Your UK mpg at the beginninf of your Rant is also subject to that .83 right? So you're averaging the US equivalent of 22-23 MPG?
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    i was going to counteract some of what you said, but then, i read the rest of your post!

    the naturally aspirated 1.6 wont move our bunny anywhere but the list of most anemic cars.

    the 1.4 tsi is great, but its a relatively new engine and vw probably didn't want to suffer more reliability issues or expensive repairs; remember they are trying to win back their fans.

    the diesel is a cool engine too, but much like hybrids, they are slightly more expensive and they wouldn't be carring a sub 15k pricetag. (I too think that the rabbit is a mid level car in econo hatch clothing.)

    i don't mind the rabbits gearing....i like the fact that i can be doing 80 miles per hour and only have the tach just under 2300rpms. what it needs is top end power, and the 08's revies 5 banger remedies that to an extent.

    and on a side note, while the black side strips may not be the most athsetically pleasing (i have the united grey, so its no biggie) but its very european looking, and only on the two doors. ( you can actually get the paintable versions, if you prefer it.)

    as far as mileage goes, averaging 27-28 when your car is rated 19/28 is phenomenal; especially since you driving MOSTLY suburban roads and only 30%highway.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    i wish i could take my bunny to big bear! i used to go there all the time with my parents before i moved to nc. Wow, way to instill some nostalgia sharpedgeshurt! :)
  • "i like the fact that i can be doing 80 miles per hour and only have the tach just under 2300rpms." ...hmm, are you sure about that? I get those rpms at around the time I get to 70mph I'm pretty close to 3000rpms in 5th gear.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    The lower rpms are probably for the 6 speed automatic.

    VW's manual, like many other manual transmissions, has little practical advantage over the auto anymore...except the initial lower price. No longer do you get an extra gear or two, no longer do you get significantly better mpg, no longer does the engine run at lower rpms in top gear, and no longer is a 4 cyl underpowered with the automatic.

    Most manuals now seem to be designed for racers...leading to close gear ratios and excessively high rpms in the top gear.
  • eldainoeldaino Posts: 1,618
    yes, as jeffy scott pointed out, i have the six speed auto hence the lower rpms.

    I can be doing over 90 and be at or a little over 3k rpms.
  • I am the guy who posted about the UK engine. I live in the US and I am quoting my US mileage but I think I might be deluding myself about 27/28 . Let's wait and see.

    In truth, for the straight, flat roads I drive, the manual serves no practical purpose other than involving me a little more in the process. I think that people tend to be lead footed in automatics because they want some "feedback" from the car and hard braking and acceleration give them that ( my weird theory based on middle aged people racing from light to light - what's the rush? ).

    The comments about the low gearing for racers makes sense.
    The possible plus point is that I can get the car into 5th at 40mph so that it is possible to cruise to work on a non-highway road at 2,000rpm .

    I am going to check on the price premium for the diesel versus gasoline in Europe - UK doesn't count because we are the world's biggest suckers when it comes to cars. $24k for the entry level Golf!

    In Spain they are charging about 2k Euros extra for an equivalent diesel. That is $2.7k approximately. Glancing at Honda and Toyota I am guessing that they want about $3k for the hybrid over the normal gasoline equivalent so there is not much difference there.

    One important difference is the longevity and simplicity of the diesel. My Dad has a little Skoda with a 1.9 turbodiesel. His service intervals are 20k miles. Unlike a hybrid, a diesel is actually a simpler arrangement than a gasoline engine. I talked to lots of UK taxi drivers who do airport runs in turbodiesel Skoda Octavia sedans and wagons with 300k miles on the odometer ( Skoda is part of VW ). I am really keen to own one and would happily downgrade the vehicle ( from a Jetta to a Rabbit say ) in order to drive a diesel. I rented a Citroen back in 2002 and the fact that I drove all around Spain for 5 days without stopping at a gas station really impressed me. Apart from that, a diesel has great hill climbing and passing ability.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Posts: 3,855
    I think that people tend to be lead footed in automatics... middle aged people racing from light to light...

    Funny, I think it is just the opposite. I think most people are feather footed in automatics. I know that I tend to drive more aggressively in a manual.

    Most drivers around here seem to be afraid that their car will break if they exceed 2500 rpm...and of course 90%+ of those cars are automatics....Get moving, already :mad: !
  • Well I guess it might depend on where you live. I am down in South Florida, commuting South into Boca Raton. There is not a lot of crazy aggressive driving, but the average speed on 45mph limit roads is probably 55mph, and most people like to rush away from the lights, although I suppose you never notice the slow coaches unless they are holding you up.

    One thing had occurred to me - whether I could increase the gearing on my Rabbit by upping the tire diameter. I have no idea about custom wheels and fancy tires but if I could go from a 25" to a 26" tire it would increase my gearing 4% and might yield some benefit in economy. Of course it might cost me a fortune and ruin my ride and handling....
  • Well I decided to check my pure highway performance ( as pure as I can make it anyway ). I have a 2-door manual and drive with the AC on all the time ( in Florida ).

    I did 202 miles after filling up, with about 30 miles of driving to and from the highway on uncongested suburban roads with 45mpg limit and lights every mile.

    I tried my hardest not to exceed 70mph and did not hard acceleration to pass, no dropping a gear or anything else liable to impact consumption. I then went back to the same pump and refilled.

    I got 202 miles from 6.7 gallons which is 30.15mpg. I only have 500 miles on the vehicle and I am hopeful that it will "loosen up" and give me better performance.

    When I convert to UK mpg which is what I am used to, this works out to 36mpg which is pretty respectable. If I can eke out 25mpg on my commute, which is suburban, I will be pretty happy.

    Also, I am enjoying the car. It compares nicely to my Volvo V50, which is a much more expensive vehicle and is really only marginally superior in terms of "solidity" and refinement. I will be taking a good look at the Golf Variant which may be badged as a Jetta Wagon, when it gets to the US.
  • I got 26.4mpg from my last tank of gas with only about 20 miles of highway driving. The rest of the miles were "suburban", 40-45mph speed limit roads with lights every half mile to mile.

    I was pleasantly surprised because my resolve to drive as smoothly as possible in order to maximize gas mileage had weakened a little.

    I hope the trend continues but I would settle for this MPG given the EPA urban cycle figure of 22mpg
  • 08 rabbit 2D AT
    I got around 26 on mixed hightway and local.
    I can't remember exactly how much I drove expectedly.
  • After a 10K/1-year service (at 6500 miles) I got a little over 30 mpg.
    The car was driven almost 200 miles on the freeway,
    between 65-80 mph. Manual transmission. Cruise control
    used for about 75 miles.

    One of the things they did at the servicing was rotate
    the tires. After I got it back, it seemed stiffer, so maybe
    they added air to the tires.

    Prior to this, I've ranged between 24 and 29 mpg,
    with most of the driving suburban at speeds up to
    about 50, with some stop and go.

    I don't drive enough to worry about the mileage.
  • Thanks. What I didnt see was the Civic. I got an 07 Civic now. 1.8Coupe. I hate Honda for not releasing the Hatchback in the US. Mileage is way to fantastic. Imagine a 140hp that does 37mpg?..What a wonderful engine...I still think of the Rabbit. Theyre now 13,000+.. I guess for having a 2.5L engine made a poor market since gas hike has been going on..
  • I got a 2.5 Automatic Rabbit 08 only 3 weeks ago. I love the car and the tiptronic is super fun. I know I don't have sufficient data to rely on but I think I have a problem, and I wonder if it is common. I am still on my second fuel tank and the first tank gave me only 15.6mpg. Given that the tank holds 14.5 gallons and the car is advertised as 22mpg city, 29mpg highway I fear there is something wrong. I drive both highway and city to work and not deal with much traffic. I was able to get only 220 miles on the first full tank while I should have gotten at least 350 on average.
    I am using the second tank and it is burning gas the same speed as before. I took the car to the VW service yesterday and they couldn't detect anything wrong with it. I got the car thinking it would be economical but now I feel a bit fooled.
    Anybody with the same problem? Or is this just common among brand new cars?
  • dingmaradingmara Posts: 1
    I have an 07 Rabbit with about 10k miles on it. I also have a ScanGaugeII that is plugged into the OBDC port which gives fairly accurate instantaneous and trip MPG results.
    I just did a highway trip and did a significant chunk of it at 80mph, which yielded 25 MPG, and another portion at 60mph, which yielded 34 MPG. The MPG at 60 mph are quite impressive ... who would have thought that speed would make such a big difference in MPG.
  • shirotorishirotori Posts: 51
    Well I just put in another $45 worth of gas in the Rabbit...gas in the Chicago suburbs is around $3.74 / gallon and climbing for 87octane. Last summer I was getting consistently around 28 mpg, but then the cold weather came and I had been averaging about 25mph with mixed city/hwy driving. Today, after a week of very nice temperatures, I filled up and low and behold, I was back to 28mpg. Hopefully this will continue.
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