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Ocnblu drives the new VW Rabbit


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This is good news. VW is listening to their US customers who admire what the brand was and should be again. The only affordable German brand. Which brings me to this review of the Jetta's less expensive little brother.

I've been checking the website of the local VW dealership, and when they showed 4 Rabbits in stock, 3 five doors and 1 three door, I hightailed it in to check them out this morning. I ended up driving a 3 door with one factory option: floor mats. It was black (and you know what they say about black), with anthracite interior (dark gray woven cloth of a good quality). Of course everyone here probably knows the Rabbit comes with all of the "right" standard features, like power windows with auto-up and down (both sides) and pinch protection, plus VW's ability to open and close the windows with the key in the door lock cylinder. CD stereo, outside temp display, heated power mirrors, driver's seat height adjustment, etc., all add to the "complete car" mood. After seeing GTIs with the optional 18" rims, I was concerned that the Rabbit would look as if it were on stilts with the standard 15's. I was wrong. The tires are not of an extremely low aspect ratio, so they look fine with the factory wheel covers for the price.

My sales presenter was very low-key. He took my license for a copy, slapped a tag on the back and off we went, A/C blasting in the humid 85 degree morning.

As with any VW I've ever been in, the fit and finish was first-rate, with sold-feeling interior parts... and a SMOOSHY DASHBOARD! Everything was in a familiar spot, the controls seem to have not been changed for decades on a VW, and that's a good thing, imo. It was not difficult at all to make myself comfortable with the tilt/telescoping steering column.

The 2.5L, 150 hp/170 lbs torque 5 cylinder engine was quiet and smooth at idle, with a smooth clutch and shifter. While I have not driven a GTI with 2.0T, this engine, along with that distinctive 5 cylinder growl, has good torque through all the gears. It has that "freight train" feel of torque coming on, similar to my '00 GTI 1.8T. Pretty satisfying for an "economy" car that feels a step above. The ride and handling were very good, as is typical of VW, with a solid, planted over-the-road feel and a well-damped ride.

Meanwhile, back at the dealership, the next step was to hand over my keys so the used vehicle appraiser could take my truck out and run the crap out of it to see if it's in good shape. Of course, it is. They offered me $1100 more than what I owe on it, which is decent help on a down payment. They priced a Sage Green 3 door with manual transmission and 16" wheel package. $16,467 MSRP, which, in my book, is worth it for the standard features (6 airbags and stability control!), and the solid, intuitive VW driving experience.

"My" car is in the build pipeline (not yet built at the German plant), and should hit the Wilmington port sometime in August. The only thing left to do is give a deposit so the car can be routed to the local dealer. I am seriously considering it.

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After reading 'blu's review, I also went to the VW dealer to test-drive the Rabbit, a base 2.5 3-door automatic. Overall, I thought it was a nice, practical car with a hint of sportiness and character. The suspension was surprisingly firm compared to past "springy" VWs, and I liked the driving position. However, there was more road noise than I expected, and the brakes were too soft feeling. For $15K, though, it's a steal.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I drove the Jetta 2.5L and the GLI.

The steering feel is great, but the brake feel is poor. I dunno how that happened.

Overall nice ride, not worth anywhere near the absurd prices they're charging though.

The DSG is the main reason I drove it, an exellent piece IMO. Other than that, the hi-quality paint finish, and the steering feel I see little reason to fork over that kind of cash.

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My sister's fiance currently has 03 Jetta and while his car was in the shop, he was given a new Jetta. He hated it. It was actually smaller inside then his current car and it was just not as driver friendly. I assume that the Golf...er.. Rabbit is similar.

Now, I did sit in a Golf at an autoshow last February and it seemed like a nice car inside but still was too cramped so I could understand where he was coming from... and I'm not a big person...neither is he. The rest of the car seemed pretty cool and it's stance was pretty sporty. Unfortunately, the interior's lack of space really hurt my overall opinion of the car.

I'll wait until the Astra comes to our shores. If it's big enough inside, I'll probably purchase it since it has a lot of similarities with the Golf.. er... Rabbit.

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Love that Rabbit ad (TV spot) where they multiply and

mutts start showing up... beige ones with black doors

& white hoods. :P

The return of the Rabbit is a cool thing, I just wish they

had made it manual trans ONLY.

My dad's first car in the USA was a 1981? Rabbit 5-spd.

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Cadillacfan, I had an '00 GTI, and I didn't notice any "cramped" feeling in the Rabbit atall. The car does have a higher beltline, as do so many other new cars these days. Do you think this might be his problem?
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  • 3 weeks later...

Love that Rabbit ad (TV spot) where they multiply and

mutts start showing up... beige ones with black doors

& white hoods. :P

The return of the Rabbit is a cool thing, I just wish they

had made it manual trans ONLY.

My dad's first car in the USA was a 1981? Rabbit 5-spd.

163090[/snapback]

Dude!

Isn't that commerical the best!!

And, it's so complete with that dingy song in the background.

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I remember driving the first Rabbit to hit town back in 1975. It was a 2-door, base model with a manual tranny and CARBURETOR-fed engine (wow!). I couldn't believe how zippy a car could feel with "only" a 1.6L engine under the hood. Those early Rabbits weighed something like 2000 pounds. Wonder what the new ones weigh? (I'm too lazy to go looking for myself, but I'm guessing they are at least 3000 lbs. now--though I'll bet their gas mileage is at least as good as the first Rabbit's).

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So what's the story O.B.? You selling out to Veee Duuuhb? :spin:

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I remember driving the first Rabbit to hit town back in 1975. It was a 2-door, base model with a manual tranny and CARBURETOR-fed engine (wow!).  I couldn't believe how zippy a car could feel with "only" a 1.6L engine under the hood.  Those early Rabbits weighed something like 2000 pounds.  Wonder what the new ones weigh? (I'm too lazy to go looking for myself, but I'm guessing they are at least 3000 lbs. now--though I'll bet their gas mileage is at least as good as the first Rabbit's).

170571[/snapback]

A stripper 3-door weighs 2974 lbs and gets 22/30 mpg.
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Sixty4, I am scared of the dealership service scores as compiled by JD Power. Also, the local dealer has anecdotally a poor rep for customer service.

What I am not scared of is the car. I know from experience a VW is hella fun to drive, solid, durable, and in the Rabbit 3 door's case, a hell of a value. There is an impressive percentage of original Rabbits still registered, according to Autoweek.

So I am undecided. I've owned 4 VWs.

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Love that Rabbit ad (TV spot) where they multiply and

mutts start showing up... beige ones with black doors

& white hoods. :P

The return of the Rabbit is a cool thing, I just wish they

had made it manual trans ONLY.

My dad's first car in the USA was a 1981? Rabbit 5-spd.

163090[/snapback]

:lol:

Saw it on TV and now on YouTube. If there's one thing VW is doing right, it's their commercials...

...except those retarded "Low Ego Emissions" but those really cater to latte sipping yuppie trendoids who are too scared to fight people...

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A stripper 3-door weighs 2974 lbs and gets 22/30 mpg.

170667[/snapback]

That's actually pretty lousy. My low-tech Neon with auto tranny is rated at 25/32 MPG--and will get better than that if I keep my foot out of it.

Heck, the larger & much more powerful Chevy Malibu with 3500 V6 is rated at 22/32 MPG!

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That wickedly funny TV spot.

You might not want to watch this if you like VWs...

I like the ONE whitewall. :huh:

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