Volkswagen Rabbit Test Drive Reports

SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
edited May 2014 in Volkswagen
Did you test drive the Rabbit? What did you think?


  • hollyatvwhollyatvw Member Posts: 2
    I work for vw and have recently driven the rabbit... I LOVE IT! It is larger than the 4th gen golf (which I have now!) The new 2.5 engine in that car is amazing. More than enough power. Handles like a dream. Another thing I like about the rabbit is it comes with cloth interior with the added feature of heated seats! If you have stepped onto the showroom floor of a vw dealer, you will find that vw does not make a cloth interior car anymore! even the mk 5 GTI doesn't have heated seats unless you upgrade to leather! What's up with that? My last certified class I had, they were going to release it in june! will notify as soon as one arrives! Also watch this sept. for EOS! :)
  • gogirlgogogirlgo Member Posts: 47
    Wow. I am waiting to drive a rabbit. Heated seats, this must be an option. I have heard that the first rabbits released will be as 2006's with the 07 later in the year. Yes, please post when they arrive at your dealership. Are you a salesperson?
  • blackdotsblackdots Member Posts: 1
    ...and it was awesome. Solid handling, great braking, plenty of room front and back (I'm 6'3"), a plethora of airbags, and more than enough power. My wife and I were able to run on the autobahns without any problem. The only thing that kept us from getting over 100 mph was the governor on our rental. Acceleration was quick and it handled like a champ at 90+. It was a manual, which I'm not used to, but the clutch was so smooth and well-balanced that it definitely added to the fun of the experience. I'm in the market for a new car and this might fit the bill. I might even get the manual and spend the extra money on a moonroof :)

    I hope the dual climate controls come standard or are at least an option, that's a great feature. My wife will be happy about the heated seats. She gets cold standing in the desert in August.
  • vwmanjimbvwmanjimb Member Posts: 28
    I just got one from VW Corporate today for an event that we are having next week. I decided to drive it home for the night to see what I think. I own a 2006 2.5L Jetta. It is very comparable in interior room. There will be enough room for a car seat unlike the previous Golf. With the 2.5L, it has more than enough power to get you down the road. I am impressed. The Rabbit is back and will blow away the new Honda Fit. There are a lot more standard options on the Rabbit that the Fit doesn't have. The basics like A/C. The dealer has to install it at the Honda Dealership. The Rabbit will be the new entry level car for VW and will be very successful. See your local showroom in a couple of weeks as the cars are being released from the ports on June 5.
  • hollyatvwhollyatvw Member Posts: 2
    yes I am a saleslady! technically the release date is june 15th however they will be sneaking onto our lot i'm thinking next week! they are going to be 2007's.
  • gogirlgogogirlgo Member Posts: 47
    Hi again hollyatvw,
    My 02 Passat lease ends on July 7th so I am hoping , I will like the Rabbit enough to buy one.

    I am wondering if the 4 door will in the first shipments. There is so much speculation on the web that the first rabbits will be 2 door and only in black or silver and that the 4 door will be in the the light interior. When yours come in would really appreciate an update.
  • vwmanjimbvwmanjimb Member Posts: 28
    There is a combination of the cars coming in. For example, I have one 2 door and four 4 doors. Every dealer should have adequate inventory later this month. The cars are being released from the ports on June 5 so it may be possible that the car will be there by the middle of the week depending on where you are.
  • gogirlgogogirlgo Member Posts: 47
    Do you have any info on colors you will be getting? I read on one site that the first 4 doors will arrive in the light color Tan interior only and the two door only in silver or black exterior with black interior.
    I am in San Francisco for two weeks and then back to Portland in time to turn my Passat back and hopefully get a Rabbit.

    Good to see dealers on internet sites as no one else seems to know anything or are keeping it to themselves... ;)
  • vwmanjimbvwmanjimb Member Posts: 28
    I have silver and white coming. I think that all of the "launch" cars are those two colors. I may be wrong. Check with your local dealer. We are in NE Indiana. Hope you enjoy it when you get in one. I'm sure you will. The Rabbit is back!!
  • parkerjonparkerjon Member Posts: 14
    I certainly hope that the sage green 4 door we'll be getting next week will have the black anthracite cloth interior. I'll never have a beige cloth interior again. My wife and I were one of the first to get a beetle in Canada: but some morose Berliner decided to put beige cloth in our black beetle (contrary to what the computer said).

    We also turned my V6 Passat GLX wagon in mid-may (and have been borrowing a friend's Lincoln LS - yuck): am hoping the Rabbit will sip gas a little more frugally. It won't be as good as our 2.0T Jetta: though the fact that non-premium fuel is required should balance the operational cost.

  • gogirlgogogirlgo Member Posts: 47
    Hi Jonathan,
    Have seen pics of the sage green and thinking that is the color in a 4 door I want. I will be interested in hearing what color the interior is when it comes as I do not want that beige cloth with grandkids. :)
  • steveo2steveo2 Member Posts: 11
    "There are a lot more standard options on the Rabbit that the Fit doesn't have. The basics like A/C. The dealer has to install it at the Honda Dealership."

    All FITs in the US come standard with A/C.
  • steveo2steveo2 Member Posts: 11
    I saw the Golf/Rabbit at a car show and in my eyes it has an upscale look and feel to it. I know some people will cross shop a Honda FIT and the Rabbit, but when optioned out with 4 drs, AT, side bags and alloys it is about $3000 more than a FIT Sport AT. Plus the FIT appears to deliver MPG in the 31-38 range, which is much higher than the VW's rating. I wish VW would bring the Rabbit here with the TDI Diesel.
  • fob666fob666 Member Posts: 2
    Ok well elaborate yes the car has A/C Crusise you can get alloys but i have a base so i can put other rims on! I have seen two blacks one my one and one sage green and yes unfortunately it does have a beige interior the car runs on the inline 5 same as the jetta which it also shares almost the exact interior of! You can even get the sunroof and heated seats. Even my base model has heated side mirrors and side mirror turn signal indicators. If you have any more questions just ask! ;)
  • jpmccormacjpmccormac Member Posts: 98
    Re: "If you have any more questions just ask! ;)"

    Keep us apprised of any initial problems. I just read today that VW - again - ranks near the bottom in the JD Powers initial quality survey for 2006 models. I was hoping VW would have gotten its act together by now. I'm still optomistic for the Rabbit, but will keep my 96 Golf till the dust settles.
  • gogirlgogogirlgo Member Posts: 47
    Hi Jonathan,
    Waiting to hear about your sage green vw and if it came with the black anthracite cloth rather than the beige cloth.

    I am thinking that I might have to order one to get the black. Am curious how long you had to wait when ordering. Hope you get it soon!

    I have to turn in my Passat on july 7th so will have to borrow a friend's car also if i can't find one at a dealer.
  • cmkcmk Member Posts: 59
    Keep us apprised of any initial problems. I just read today that VW - again - ranks near the bottom in the JD Powers initial quality survey for 2006 models. I was hoping VW would have gotten its act together by now. I'm still optomistic for the Rabbit, but will keep my 96 Golf till the dust settles.

    Maybe he new MK5 Golf and GTI aren't a part of this survey.

    The MK5 Golf has been out for a while in Europe, right? Seems like we should be able to find some reliability statistics from there.
  • jpmccormacjpmccormac Member Posts: 98
    Re: "Maybe he new MK5 Golf and GTI aren't a part of this survey."

    Perhaps not, but the Rabbit is built on the same platform with essentially the same components and drivetrains as the GTI and Jetta V. Not a good sign.

    Re: "The MK5 Golf has been out for a while in Europe, right? Seems like we should be able to find some reliability statistics from there."

    Yes, but in Europe the dealer/repair network is vastly different and arguably better than in the US.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    Today I drove a sage green (a color I really like) four-door stick. The sticker was $18,8 and included three options that were about $400 each: ESP, alloys, and rear side airbags. Me, if I were to buy one, would skip ESP and rear side bags, so my ideal car would sticker at $18K even.

    The engine is VERY strong as soon as you get it up to 2500 rpms. If you have driven the new 2.0T, this engine has that similar feel of pushing you back in your seat when you hit the gas. The difference is that in the 2.0T, that happens at all engine revs, whereas in the Rabbit you have to havr the engine up to 2500 or 3000 rpm first. However, it is pretty torquey even down at 1500 rpm, and very smooth at all times.

    Dominant noise at highway speeds is from the road. You never hear the engine at any time - it is well insulated - and even road noise is low. The stick is a joy - not notchy, short throws with well-defined gates. The clutch, however, is a deep one, causing me to have the driver's seat a little closer to the dash than I otherwise would have liked. At least the steering wheel telescopes.

    Handling and braking are good. It feels very stable at all speeds. The stereo is very nice, with speakers all over the place (and that is the standard stereo! Isn't there an optional upgrade?). You open the rear hatch by flipping the VW emblem in the back door - very cute! :-)

    I like the full-size spare. There is a bit of underfloor storage by the tire too. The cupholders don't pop out of anywhere, they are the right kind, sitting by the parking brake. Apart from that, interior ergonomics and materials are very typical VW Golf, I think, not much changed from the '05 Golf I drove last week. I did check out the new thing where you merely have to flick the turn signal stalk and it will give you three flashes (without you holding it) for lane changes. Kind of cool, but not something worth paying extra for! :-P

    As for me, I think I would prefer a 2-door, and I am hoping the standard equipment and options are the same, as I would love to pick up a 2-door with optional alloys for $16K. Unfortunately, there is STILL no info in the Rabbit at, despite dealers already having cars, and the dealer I went to today didn't even have brochures. I normally "shop" with my fingers, going on-line to check out dealer inventories to find the car I want, and the dealers around here don't even have the option of choosing "Rabbit" when it comes to searching their inventory by model. :-(

    So, I can see I will have to wait a while before I go ahead, which is fine anyway, as I still hope to compare it back to back against a Fit Sport MT, another car that is impossible to find and test drive.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • kpeltonkpelton Member Posts: 2
    I had a chance to test drive both manual and automatic versions of the 4-door Rabbit today. we've been in the market for a "smaller" car for about 6 months now and have driven many others along the way. These have included the Toyota Yaris, Corolla, Honda Fit, Civic, Ford Focus (ugh...). Many of these have received much press lately, but to cut to the chase, the Rabbit is in a class much above all of these. Yes, I know that it is several thousand dollars more expensive, but the additional features (both safety oriented and convenience) are well, well worth the premium.

    I found the Rabbit to be very roomy with excellent storage and plenty of room in the hatch for carting the typical work/family "stuff". Headroom is beautiful (I'm 6'2" mostly from the waist up) and the height of the center console armrest (adjustable) and the armrest on the door are positioned well for forearm support. Seats are very supportive with good lumbar support and driver's seat cam be positioned up to 8 ways. As a chiropractic physician, these things are important to me...

    Driving the manual was very fun and quite responsive. The engine was not "buzzy" at all even through the higher RPM's. Torque was very strong and noticeable especially through 15-50 mph.. Turning radius was very tight. The car is very quiet even over less than perfect road surfaces. Steering was very responsive but never felt too light or heavy.

    The Automatic was very similar but less compelling as automatics usually are. Still ,acceleration was very good and shifts were smooth. I did not have a chance to try out the Tiptronic due to a very engaging saleswoman who felt that she needed to explain alot of details while we were driving.

    Overall, the Rabbit is so much more of a spirited ride than any of the other cars that we've driven lately. It is our first choice by FAR. Given the five-door capabilities and the typical VW intelligent design, the Rabbit is a HUGE amount of car for under 19-20K... :)
  • jpmccormacjpmccormac Member Posts: 98
    Thanks for the report. It's too bad that VW can't come up with a more economical engine for the Rabbit (no TDI til 2008). The 2.5L is just too thirsty (22/30 MPG) compared to the competition; I'm having a hard time coming to terms with the car with a high sticker price and low mileage.
  • jeffyscottjeffyscott Member Posts: 3,855
    The 2.5L is just too thirsty (22/30 MPG) compared to the competition

    Real world mileage for Jetta (which is essentially the same car), as measured by CR, is pretty comparable to other cars of similar weight...which is all you can reasonably expect, imo.

    It is a heavy car for its size. You can come to your own conclusion as to whether that is a positive or negative.
  • dc_driverdc_driver Member Posts: 712
    I drove a Rabbit last week and was impressed with the car overall. It was a four door model with an automatic transmission, sunroof, and 16" alloy rims.

    Interior - I liked the interior of this vehicle. As usual, VW uses good materials, the dash is laid out nicely. Overall, the interior is better than most in this class. Front legroom is a little tighter than the Honda Civic or Mazda 3, but should offer plenty of room for most drivers. The seats were firm and comfortable, and living in, what can be, a cold weather climate I liked the heated seats. I was a little disapointed that the Rabbit did not offer audio steering wheel controls. Both the Civic (EX) and Mazda3 offer this feature.

    Exterior - I liked the exterior styling of the Rabbit, but I did not love it. Definitely prefer it to the previous generation Golf. Not much else to say here. Styling is conservative. I would recommend getting the 16" or 17" alloy rim upgrade. The 15" rims with wheel covers looked cheap.

    Performance/handling. On paper the VW's 5 cylinder 150hp engine which outputs 170lbs ft of torque sounds powerful for a compact car. But, the reality is that this vehicle is heavy and while it has decent takeoff, I felt that the engine struggled a little over 4000rpm. It did not feel as quick as the 06 Civic EX or the 06 Mazda3 to me. Edmunds estimates 0-60 times around 9.4 seconds (auto). The 3 clocks in about 1 second faster with the automatic. No doubt this is due to the weight. Overall, the Rabbit is more than adequate for most driving.

    Handling with the Rabbit was my biggest issue. VW utilized electronic assisted power steering in the Rabbit, and I felt this feature distracted with the way the vehicle communicated with me on the road. In a nutshell, the Rabbit felt numb. The previous generation Golf did not have electronic assisted power steering and I felt that vehicle felt much more responsive.

    Aside from the handling and overall performance, the other negative with this vehicle is gas mileage. Considering I do mostly city driving the 22MPG estimated city EPA rating on this vehicle is disheartening considering this car is targeting the Corolla, Civic, and Mazda3. I wish that VW would trim a little weight off the Rabbit and offer other engine choices that offer closer to 30mpg city.

    I have to give major kudos to VW for both its standard safety features and additional safety options. Adding stability control as an option was a wonderful idea, and I hope that Honda, Toyota, and Mazda follow VW's lead. I felt very safe in this vehicle.

    Overall, I think anyone searching for a compact hatchback should absolutely drive the Rabbit. The only concerns that I have with the Rabbit is VW's reliability track record, less than stellar gas mileage, and the fact that the price can add up quickly when you add options. A similarly equipped 4-door Rabbit was almost 2K more than the Mazda3 I purchased.

    I think VW is on the right track with the new Rabbit. Once they prove they have fixed their reliability and customer service issues and offer a TDI engine, I would seriously consider buying a Rabbit..

    Hop, hop, hop....
  • parkerjonparkerjon Member Posts: 14
    I would have to disagree about leg space in the Civic: I sat in both the Civic and the Fit and both felt cramped compared to the Rabbit. I am 6'-1" and 220 pounds. A co-worker who is 6'-7" was also able to fit in the Rabbit.

    Someone who owns a previous generation civic thinks that they have actually decreased the driver leg space in the current Civic.

    Perhaps the thinking is that larger North Americans will mostly buy the Accord anyway.

    In regard to the Mazda 3 and 6: I always got the shakes when considering buying them as I wasn't sure how much Ford had oozed into the design/build.
  • mdaffronmdaffron Member Posts: 4,421
    In regard to the Mazda 3 and 6: I always got the shakes when considering buying them as I wasn't sure how much Ford had oozed into the design/build.

    None, at least as far as the 3 is concerned. The 3 is built in Japan by Mazda, using 98% Japanese components. The only thing Ford put into this car is some help with suspension design.
  • shacklefordshackleford Member Posts: 3
    I test drove both an automatic and a 5 spd and just placed an order for a 2 door 5 spd.

    The interior is pretty nice and there's alot of stuff included that other manufacturers of vehicles in this class often only offer as options (cruise control, power windows, power mirrors, power door locks, remote entry, ABS, 4 wheel disks). While I thought the interior quality was pretty good, it wasn't quite as nice as I thought it would be (I had very high expectations after reading others' opinions). Specifically, I found the power mirror controls and A/C fan controls a little cheap feeling, though not really bad. And the A/C fan does not seem to blow very hard at the highest setting (4). On the other hand, the steering wheel is very nice and the guages I found to also be very nice, no-nonsense and traditional, unlike the weird digital guages in the new Civic and the stupid centre guages in the Toyota Yaris with that (really stupid IMO) digital fuel guage. Back to the Rabbit, the only other interior irritant for me is why they would pack all these features in but they can't include floor mats?? :mad:

    As far as the drive itself, it was quite impressive for a car in this class. The engine is extremely quiet most of the time, except when you really punch it. The car has a solid feel to it and I just had the feeling that rattles and other weird noises would not develop (knock on wood). Acceleration is decent and handling is good but this is where I have a bit of a complaint. This car is too heavy!! 3000 lbs for a car of these dimensions? Why do Germans make such heavy cars? As soon as I started driving it I could really feel this weight affect the handling (maybe nimble-ness is a better word) and acceleration. If this car were 300-400 lbs lighter and with the same power and torque, it would be a FANTASTIC car to drive. The way it is now, it is a PRETTY FUN and PRETTY GOOD driving car. Note that I've been driving a 2250 lb car so this is what I'm used to. I found that at 2250 lbs, my car was much nore nimble than the Rabbit.

    So did anyone else think that the A/C fan did not blow very hard even on the highest setting? I found this in both cars I tested. The one good thing I can say about American cars is that their A/C and heater fans really get the that air

    I hope my comments didn't sound too harsh, I really did like the car in general. I must have since I just ordered one.
  • svestisvesti Member Posts: 1
    I'm also 6'2" and I found that lumbar support on my new rabbit is totally useless! It is too low and counterproductive!!! It hits my tailbone rather than the curve in my back. :sick:
  • poita33poita33 Member Posts: 11
    The engine is VERY strong as soon as you get it up to 2500 rpms. If you have driven the new 2.0T, this engine has that similar feel of pushing you back in your seat when you hit the gas. The difference is that in the 2.0T, that happens at all engine revs, whereas in the Rabbit you have to havr the engine up to 2500 or 3000 rpm first. However, it is pretty torquey even down at 1500 rpm, and very smooth at all times.

    Is it worth purchasing the GTI over the Rabbit? There are a lot of posts that talk about the good pick-up and handling of the Rabbit so I am wondering why would anyone pay extra to own the GTI. It sounds like the Rabbit has more power and handling then most will ever need.
    I haven't driven either car yet so that may just answer my question when I do.
  • grdrgrdr Member Posts: 3
    I would like to hear opinions regarding how much better folks think the GTI is as compared to the Rabbit.
  • abqhudsonabqhudson Member Posts: 14
    I could afford either one - bought the 4 dr Rabbit. Didn't want the Turbo and the heat that goes with it. I liked the interior of the Rabbit better - very personal. I liked the ride of the Rabbit much better and felt the GTI was too stiff for the cracks and bumps in the roads where I live. Wanted 16 inch wheels for the ride comfort. I also like the front of the Rabbit better than the GTI. The 2.5 engine is fine for the around town driving that I am doing with the car - smooth and a fine match for the manual transmission for driving fun.

    2006 Rabbit
    2004 BMW 530I
  • poita33poita33 Member Posts: 11
    Thx for your feedback. I can understand that the ride might be too stiff, but I like the look of the GTI. The honeycomb grill with the Zenon headlights looks a lot better than the Rabbit in my opinion. The interiors are similar, but I do like to sportier look of the GTI and the stickshift.

    1999 Ford Contour touring(selling to get either GTI or Rabbit)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,555
    Well, the car I drove with the 2.0T was the Audi A3, which is the same powertrain in a car with a nicer interior (and more available options). That car just surges forward even in higher gears if you floor it at 1500 rpm. The Rabbit will NOT do that, but at 3000 rpm it will.

    IMO, VW Group is stepping all over itself just a bit too much with all these Golf-based cars: there is the A3, barely distinguishable from the GTI 4-door which is soon to arrive, which is indistinguishable from the 2-door except for the obvious, and then there's the Rabbit, with the thirsty 5-cylinder engine and a ton of torque to make round-town driving fairly effortless. If you want the equipment on the 4-door Rabbit that the GTI has, you get into fairly pricey territrory that leaves you wondering why you didn't just get the GTI....

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • jjkingjjking Member Posts: 2
    A two door GTI is about $5000 more expensive than a four door Rabbit. And a GTI insurance is $1500 more than a rabbit in Quebec. I guess if you like a GTI you have to pay the difference.
  • grdrgrdr Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for the response. Just got a chance to go online. I'm pleased to hear you liked the Rabbit. I'd most likely be looking at a 2 door 5 speed with the 16" alloys and stability control. MSRP is about 16,500. That's 5-6k cheaper than the GTI. Right now, however, I'm operating on speculation. I need to test drive the Rabbit. I know I loved driving the GTI. Are you concerned about reliability?
  • poita33poita33 Member Posts: 11
    I'm in Ontario and the insurance on the GTI over the Rabbit was $107 for the year. I would check your insurance quote again.
    I'm looking at the Rabbit with 16" rims, ESP, rear side airbags, convenience package for about $27k after tax and destination.
    The base 5 door GTI is roughly $35k.
    There lies my decision; I went to testdrive them both this weekend and they were closed. :cry:
    I was going to ask the dealer if the GTI can be equiped with rear side airbags. Anyone know?
    What about the gas mileage of the GTI and Rabbit? Roughly the same?
  • jjkingjjking Member Posts: 2
    My rabbit went about 10.3 L/100 km on first tank with mixed driving. On highway, it is about 7.1 L/100 km. Over all, it is very close to what is advertised.

    I heard the mileage is only going to be better after a while.
  • eldainoeldaino Member Posts: 1,618
    As an ex-06 civic owner ( i had the ex) and a current 07 2 door rabbit owner,i can shed a little light on some issues. As far as leg room goes, the rabbit feels more roomy than the civic;maybe not technically, but the civic has such a low cowl and other interior dimension quirks that it seems more cramped, not uncomfortable at all but less than the rabbit. And yes they did actually decrease leg room in the new civic over the previous generation. As far as acceleration goes, the rabbit definitely feels quicker than the civic and it lies in one word: torque. The civics peak torque is 128lbs/ft and it does not get there untill a few revs shy of the 6800 redline. (i think honda claims it hits at 6300) The veedub makes it much earlier and its rated at 170lbs/ft. Despite the weight difference, this actually results in a car that feels more eager around town, but again we are comparing 2 different engines with very different ideas on how to engineer them; high redlines are typical of honda and part of the appeal to them. it is nice having life after 6000 rpms but having drivin hondas for awhile it was reall nice to experience some torque, even if it resides in a 3000 pound vehicle.

    And for those longing for the gti, welcome to the club. I think that the gti is amazing and will probably get the five door later down the road, but it is quite a bit more expensive. Reason being that many gti's come loaded to the gills and its hard to find one that isn't. The five door gti will be even more costly. IT really depends on your preference. I've always been a gti fan and so my desire to get one will always be strong, but the rabbit is in a different ball park, mind you, still a good one. Plenty of pep and it DOES handle good, maybe not the best handler out there but none the less very nice and even better if you get larger wheels. The gti is a great car, and it does handle better than the rabbit, but i don't think that either one is trying to out do the other. The ride is stiffer, but again one is to assume that if you go for the gti, it's for it's sporting ability. Mileage on both cars is as follows:

    GTI: 23/32
    Rabbit: 22/30 TO some people this makes a big difference but the gti also takes premium. It's engine is smaller, but it also has higher compression ratios and overall more 'alive' i guess you could say. I had a salesman at the dealer tell me you can put lesser fuel into a gti, but the performance goes down and it isn't wonderful for the turbo in the long run. SO again i think it's a wash and personal preference. And as far as too many golf based vw's go, i hardly think the a3 resembles the gti 4 door. They may have a simliar qualities in the sense that they have the same suspension and are 5 door hatchbacks, but the cosmetic differences are so great that no one would confuse them. They drive quite a bit different as well, probably due to the all season tires that come standard on the a3 and the potenza re50's that come on the gti.

    As far as the gas mileage goes i think that given the weight (as others have pointed out,)it(the rabbit) doesnt do to bad. Plus it is a iron block five cylinder which would account for the lack of gas mileage. I routinely average 26-28 mpg which may sound terrible considering i used to have a civic and it's up to 40mpg figure. That number thought was very subjective ( i had this car for a year so i know the mileage on it like the back of my hand) and around the city i got roughly what i get with the volkswagen. The civic really shone on the highway, albeit the noise level compared to the rabbit, and thats where the mileage would get close, but even then you really have to try to get it and drive carefully and gradually, with no sudden stops or starts or hard acceleration. I thought the mileage overall was great, but it seems that whereas volkswagen burdens an already heavy car with a big engine, honda dumps a small one into a decent sized car. The vw has a bigger gas tank so i'm stil able to go roughly the same distance as my civic on the highway, so it isn't that big of a deal, and it only takes about 3 or four more dollars to fill up all the way than it was my civic. And no i have not been babying the rabbit at all. SO as far as mileage goes i belive its a wash. Many new civic owners have complained about the mileage on thier cars and even though i was never one of them, i think that honda is a little less truthful whereas volkswagen got it just right on the sticker as far as their estimates go. I know they are all tested by the same people but thats just the generalized vibe i have gotten from other honda and volkswagen owners.

    Lets see what else...oh the ac. Well i can attest that the ac seems fine in my rabbit, much better than the civc. Actually the new civic is notorius for an ac that does not perform well and anyone who ever sat in the back of my civic on a hot day without fail always complained that it never got cooler in the car.
    If anyone has anything else, i'll be happy to answer to the best of my ability.

  • steven39steven39 Member Posts: 636
    it seems to me after reasearching other car sites as well as this one, that there are alot of people including myself who have traded in their fairly new honda civic's for a new rabbit.and all of those new rabbit owners who traded in their civic's for new rabbits like i did myself are not regreting their decision.the 1st thing that everyone says is that there is much more room in the rabbit.i agree...
  • eldainoeldaino Member Posts: 1,618
    Yeah i'd have to agree that even though my bunny is a 2 door, the back seat and front seat is more spacious. I stil like the way the new civic looks, but the fact that everyone
    (well at least it seems like everyone) has it now (which its a civic so thats to be expected i know, i just thought the quirky styling would put more people off), is a bit off-putting as it is! I miss certain things about it (i thought the gauges were cool, the rims were nice and i like the whole flat floor back seat. It had slightly better handling, but i dont believe this was due to a superior suspension, but the fact that it rode very low to the floor, at least lower than the rabbit, and was quite a bit lighter with a quicker steering ration.), but the rabbit has so much more personality. I hope that volkwagen has upped thier reliabilty because if they have this car is going to be my buddy for awhile. NO regrets either! :D
  • bernardwbernardw Member Posts: 4
    I've been looking for a new car to replace my.. gulp... Pontiac Grand Prix.. wife forced me into that one although I must say it has not been a bad experieince. I am looking to downsize though and as such am consideing mostly the Mazda3 GT and Rabbit. I have driven both cars and find them comparable in most respects. I very much like most everything about the Rabbit except the seating which does not really suit me for some reason.. have always had this problem with VWs.. don't know why. That is something I might be able to adjust to.. same for the fuel milage.. Funny, but when you crunch the numbers, and me only doing about 20,000 Kilos a year.. the Rabbit will only save me about $5.00 a week over the 3.8 litre 3600 lb GP !! Go figure!

    The issue that might stop me from buying the Rabbit though is the steering feel.. or should I say, lack of steering feel. What is going on here ? Electric steering ? WTF ?? I thought German cars were about road feel and communication and feedback.. well guess what,,, not this one ! I have driven the car twice now. The first time I kind of hammered it down a bumpy back road at speed and was quite impressed.. perhaps being up against the stops or whatever made if feel alright.. but the second time I drove it more liesurily on a freeway I noticed that the steering was numb and had very little on center feel... heck my GP with Magnasteer feels way better.. Am I the only one ?? Any thought would be much appreciated.

    Bernard in Montreal
  • eldainoeldaino Member Posts: 1,618
    Hey bernard,,

    I own a vw rabbit and i think i know what you mean about the steering feel. I traded in my 06 honda civic for this car, which had regular rack and pinion steering and i did notice that the rabbit felt a bit different. It feels just as competent on the road as the civic and much more solid, but the steering does feel a litte more vuage, but its also very smooth and never suffers from cold morning stiffness that seemed to always hassle my civic. ( i live in north carolina) The civic si was bestowed with electric power steering, and it was done with the purpose of making the car feel sportier over its other brethren. Many have complained of this car not having good road feel or driver feedback, but is one of the better handling fwd cars on the road and the electric steering serves for lightning fast response, ofcourse this is also influenced by a quicker steering ratio.

    In short, if you go with the mazda, you will have a nice car that probably has more road feel, and a bit rougher ride, but something that easy to live with. The 3 is known for great handling so you will have a very competent vehicle; and one that you will see much more often driving down the road other than the one you are driving.

    Which is part of the attraction of the rabbit, its very unique, has lots of personality and even though it may not 'communicate' as well, its a great car and it does handle very very well. I look at the steering as a 'different' feel, because i have no problems making the rabbit do things i could do in the civic or in a mazda 3.

    I know that gas will be a factor, it is for everyone and while the 3 isn't reall known for its amazing mileage, many people do get great mileage with it...i happen to average more than sticker on my rabbit though and that is a trend that i have seen with other rabbit owners here in this forum and outside of it.

    I think that although you cant really go wrong with either choice, the rabbit is what i would take. Ive tested both cars (hatchbacks) and the rabbit seemed a bit more upscale of the two. The 3 is very sporty, the rabbit is as well though not as much, but its offset with a very upscale feel, something you'd be hard pressed to find in this segment; since the mazda 3 isn't the only car in its class that is overly sporty; whereas the rabbit to me has a richness about the cabin that is unmatched. I hope i've been some help bernard and good luck with your purchase.
  • bernardwbernardw Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the thoughtfull reply. As far as the steering thing goes I read somewere on VWVortex that this is a software issue that can be addressed.. very interesting.. something about being able to program the steering for less assist. I certainly would like to hear more about that.

    I really do lean towards the Rabbit, steering and all. I have driven it again and did not find the steering as objectional as the last time around. It was a different demo car, the same one in fact that felt good on my first drive. I wonder if the 2 cars have different steering profiles ?

    As for VW, I have owned a 1962 bug, a 1500S Karman Ghia - check that one out.. rare ! A 1970 bug ragtop, a 411, a 77' rabbit, an early scirocco - great car - an lasly a not so great 92' Golf. So as you can see I am no stranger. My dad sold them for 25 yrs out of Brangate Volks in Brampton Ontario. I am just about ready to sign on the dotted line. Will let you know.

  • eldainoeldaino Member Posts: 1,618
    Wow a K.G? Awesome that is rare! I'd like to hear more about that software programming'd be nice to do that to my vw. Theres seems to be a lot of computer stuff you can do to tinker with the newer generation vw's: i read on vw vortex that you can get a chip for the gti that un-flattens its torque curve and gives the turbo more room to breathe...and allow it to say hello to 50 more ponies and around 30lbs of torque more. Let me know what goes on with the rabbit, and i hope the one that you settle on (if you do) drives nice! Good Luck!
  • backybacky Twin CitiesMember Posts: 18,946
    Any car with electronic steering--Rabbit included--can have its steering tweaked through programming. There was an interesting story about the possibilities with that published recently in an Australian online automotive journal, re how some engineers came in adjusted the steering feel on a car with electronic steering without much fuss or muss, to make the feel more to the liking of the Australian automotive press (and buying public I would presume). And it turns out this particular car (not a Rabbit, so no need to go into particulars here) has different steering programming for different parts of the world.
  • bernardwbernardw Member Posts: 4
    Not just any ol' garden variety K.G.... a 1500 S, which was a varient model with a 'pancake' 1500 cc boxer engine and if I recall 15" wheels.. a real honey..they only made it for 2 years... sold that for the 70' signal orange bug convertible.. another great one!
  • eldainoeldaino Member Posts: 1,618
    salivating over the thought.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    A year ago I was faced with an almost certain increase in my monthly mileage from 2,000 miles to 3,000 miles, and as such I drove my trusty minivan down to a local Honda dealership and drove a Civic EX 5-Speed. I was impressed.

    Fast forward a year, a couple of contract changes, and lots of trials and tribulations, and I'm once again faced with the possibility of driving an easy 3,000 miles per month. The minivan now has 160,000 miles on the clock and while it runs as good as it did the day we drove it off the showroom floor in 1998, it's beginning to rust in locations were body work has been performed, and it's still only getting about 23 mpg on the highway.

    Long story short, I took another test drive in a Civic EX, a drive in a Mazda 3 5-Door, and then a drive in a 2-Door Rabbit (all three cars equipped with 5-Speed manual transmissions). Impressions follow:

    - The Civic continued to impress in pretty much every way except power and some of the interior plastic bits that feel cheap and seem to scuff up real easy. This is a car that I could live with; however, I'd have to stash our 75 pound Lab "puppy" in the back seat when schlepping him around. Hmmm, too bad Honda doesn't offer a hatchback version like I saw (or think I saw) in Hong Kong last summer.

    - The Mazda has a lot to like about it; however, the driver's seat ain't one of them things. My back and thighs were hurting after only a short test drive, and given that much of my driving is likely to be between southern New Hampshire and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, I quickly came to the conclusion that I'd never be able to spend six hours in the seat of that car. Cross the Mazda off the list.

    - The Mazda dealership had a sister VW dealership in the same building, and with a Jetta Sportwagon TDI in mind, I went over to kick a few tires (yes, I know that the TDI won't be out until fall at the earliest). Taking a look at a Rabbit 2-Door, I could see that it was reasonably likely that not only would my wife and two kids (14 & 11) fit comfortably in the Rabbit (even the 2-Door), but I could fit the barkus in the hatch area as well.

    Hmmmmz. I went and fetched the kids, popped them in the back and had the 6' 3" salesman ride shotgun, and away we went. Folks, I've got to say it, the Bunny 2.5 rocks, it's not as fast as the A3 that I drove just recently, however, I'm thinking that it's more than fast enough to keep me happy for a couple of years. So, what happens in two years? That fourteen year old will be sixteen, and I'm thinking that it'll make a good first car for my kids so that I can do my duty by raising another generation of stick-shift drivers.

    Long story short, the only things that I feel that could be improved in the Rabbit are the fuel economy (I'm figuring it'll probably get about 5 mpg less than a Civic in real world driving, errr, if I can keep my foot out of it), and the crappy plastic shift knob and steering wheel. Not sure I can do too much about the fuel economy except drive easy; however, I found these items for fixing the plastic issues: (for the shift knob) (for the steering wheel)

    So, assuming that I get the project that I'm bidding on, I'll be ordering a 2009 Rabbit 2-Door 5-Speed (in either Black or Reflex Silver), with Mangy Cours wheel package, Cold Weather package, iPod Adaptor, and the Protection Kit.

    I'll keep y'all posted. ;)

    Best Regards,
  • hpowdershpowders Member Posts: 4,328
    I have exclusively leased BMW's since 1993 and currently drive a 2005 545i.

    I am so tired of the needless complication of BMW vehicles. Now, to my great dismay, they come out with the useless X6. A totally impractical vehicle. What are we supposed to do with THAT???

    Instead, what BMW needed to do was come out with a hatchback based on the 128i-something practical with halfway decent mileage as an alternative to gas-guzzling SUV's.

    I was thinking MDX for almost a year until the gas expense turned me away.

    Then I read in the latest issue of CR containing a comparo of inexpensive hatchbacks and the 4 door VW Rabbit S won with flying colors, with better than average reliability. A VW!! The next day after reading this, with adrenalin flowing, my wife and I went to VW. A hatchback with reasonable mileage seemed just the right choice for these times.

    I couldn't believe how much room there was in the 4 door Rabbit hatch. I am 6'2" and I fit nicely. The adjustable console/armrest was a delightful surprise! The side mirrors are nice and big, unlike the crummy small ones on the BMW 328i.

    Sure, most of the seat adjustments have to be done manually, but they have to cut corners somewhere for the low price.

    The radio was so easy to input stations-push a button for a few seconds and when it beeps, it's in memory. No ridiculous iDrive.

    The rear seats fold down (although not completely flat) giving you over 46 cubic feet for stuff. The front passenger seat folds down enabling me to put my intact 68" road bike inside! I know, because I brought the bike with me in a rented cargo van. This is the perfect vehicle for me and my wife. We have no kids living at home, so the rear seats will always be folded down.

    The interior was surprisingly handsome considering the vehicle's price. No leather seats are offered-only velour for the 4 door model.

    This vehicle has a very tight turning circle-36 feet. I had a lot of fun "turning on a dime." The steering and brakes were excellent. This vehicle handled delightfully and gives up very little to the BMW 328i.

    My wife, who hates virtually everything, loved the Rabbit 4 door!

    As a result, I ordered a 2008 4 door Rabbit with electronic stabilization program and the 16" "Magny Cours" alloy wheel package. I shopped 2 dealers, and one offered me the car for $888 less than the other guy. Delivery should be in July, when my 545i lease is up.

    What a fantastic bargain for around $20,000, out the door! No lease on this one. I will cut them a check from "chump change."

    VW should improve its extremely slow factory to showroom delivery system. It can take 13 weeks or longer.

    Overall, I was impressed with the 2008 VW Rabbit. It only gets 24 mpg overall on regular gas, but that's the price one pays for having a light, compact 5 cylinder vehicle that is a blast to drive. Besides, the 545i gives me 21 mpg on premium fuel, so the Rabbit's mpg is balm for my soul.

    BMW, I hardly know ye.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Hmmm, my last car (as opposed to a minivan) was a 530i and I'm almost sure to buy a Rabbit, now you, a 545i driver opting for a Rabbit as well. Yeesh, what's this world coming to? :confuse:

    Best Regards,
  • hpowdershpowders Member Posts: 4,328
    "What's this world coming to?"
    What it's coming to is a realization that BMW has strayed far away from being a great choice for driving enthusiasts. They have sold us out with their stupid iDrive, expensive run-flats and ugly styling. We aren't the only ones. BMW will be taking a big hit on their bottom line-deservedly so.

    Anyhow, the VW dealer who had the best price wanted to trade with another dealer for the exact car I wanted and deliver it pronto, but my lease ends July 31st, so I asked him to order one and take his time. This became a problem as they could no longer order 2008's from the factory. I couldn't wait for a 2009 because that would leave me car-less for who knows how long. So I was about to walk when the dealer told me he would call his district rep. and see if he could pull some strings. This was last week on Monday. At this point, he has called me twice at 3 or 4 day intervals to reassure me, BUT he has yet to ask me for a deposit which means the vehicle is a definite maybe. I'm still waiting for his deposit call. If this state of inertia continues for another 2 weeks, I will suggest that I lease any 2008 Rabbit short-term on July 31st they can find, while they place an order for a 2009. I would expect to pay about $1000 more for a 2009. Still well worth it. That car is a hoot to drive! ;)
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