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Volkswagen Rabbit Test Drive Reports



  • poita33poita33 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 AreaPosts: 12,726
    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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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 CitiesPosts: 18,910
    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.
  • 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 Posts: 1,618
    salivating over the thought.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    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 Posts: 4,301
    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 Posts: 9,152
    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 Posts: 4,301
    "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! ;)
  • Any opinions on how good the Rabbit is for long-distance commuting (55-60 miles round-trip) and for extended road trips?
  • donwwdonww Posts: 3
    I purchased my Rabbit in April 08. Since that time, every once in a while on accelerating from a stop the revs will drop to idle even while the accelerator is depressed. After 2 to 5 seconds the car accelerates normally. This has caused some anxious moments as I enter traffic. My dealer does not find this happening when test driving because it only happens once in a while. Does anyone know anything of this problem or have any suggestions? The problem occured during the summer so is not related to a very cold engine however it only seems to happen on first starting out.

  • Have not experienced the drop-to-idle issue - 5M Rabbit June 08, now with 4,500 miles.

    Manual or auto transmission?
  • hiya. would love to know what other drivers of the 2 door rabbit (2007) feel re; steering. when on a freeway do you continually have to correct steering i.e tweak it slightly when going in a straight line. not used to this as felt it was easier when i had my golf in the u.k. are the rabbits slightly different for u.s driving to those in europe?
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