Overview & Reviews
When the Volkswagen Golf was introduced in 1974, it came to the U.S. in 1975 as the Volkswagen Rabbit, a hop-away hit. Initially available as either a two- or four-door hatchback and later on as a convertible and even a pickup truck, the diminutive Rabbit combined a nimble, front-wheel-drive chassis with high-quality German construction and incredible space efficiency. This successor to the beloved Beetle easily embarrassed American economy cars in terms of performance, fuel-efficiency and cabin space. In 1985, the Rabbit nameplate was replaced by the Golf moniker (meant to recall the Gulf of Mexico, not a golf ball), which was what the car had always been called in Europe.
More than two decades later, the Rabbit name returned. In a reversal of the 1980s name swap, VW replaced the Golf name with the Rabbit badge on U.S.-bound hatchbacks in mid-2006. This Rabbit ran with an inline-5 rather than a four-cylinder engine, and it retained the characteristic boxy but very functional hatchback architecture, although it was larger and heavier than before. It also offered some upscale features (such as heated seats) not usually seen in its segment, as well as that solid feel on the road that seems to be a birthright of German-engineered cars.
Sadly, the rascally Rabbit died once again following the 2009 model year as Volkswagen reverted to the Golf name once again when it redesigned the car. However, despite the different name, you'll still find the same well-engineered hatchback, though it's made in Mexico these days
Most Recent Volkswagen Rabbit
The most recent VW Rabbit was introduced for 2006, replacing the Golf. It was offered as a two- or four-door hatchback in just one trim level and with only one engine choice. Two-door Rabbits came with a number of standard niceties such as air-conditioning and full power accessories, while the four-door version upped the ante with heated front seats, a fold-down rear armrest and an upgraded stereo.
During its brief, three-year life, the Rabbit changed little. It originally featured a 150-horsepower five-cylinder engine, but it was upgraded to 170 hp for 2008. Transmission choices included a five-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, though for 2009 the four-door was only available with the automatic.
In reviews, we lauded the Rabbit's high-quality cabin trim, which imparted a richness that's rare in the compact class. Additionally, the Rabbit's comfortable ride and competent (if not overly sporty) handling dynamics made it a well-rounded and practical economy car. Below-average fuel economy is our only major gripe about the Volkswagen Rabbit, as this economy hatchback struggled to average 24 mpg during combined city and highway driving.
Shoppers interested in an older or newer model than this will want to examine the Golf. It has much of the same characteristics of the Volkswagen Rabbit. It was available from 1985-2006, then reintroduced for 2010. There was also the original Rabbit sold from 1975-'84. From a used-vehicle standpoint, however, the odds of finding one fit for general use are quite low.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 331.00
Loved My Rabbit! - 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit
By Chandler M. - March 14 - 1:03 pm
I bought a 2006 VW Rabbit with 63k miles in 2016 after immediately falling in love on a test drive. This car is so fun to drive; it’s fast, maneuvers effortlessly due to its size, handles smoothly, and gets decent gas mileage even when driving like a race car. I live in a snowy state and in spite of being a relatively light vehicle, it handled amazingly well in inclement weather - I always felt safe if I had to drive in a snowstorm. I was also impressed with the durability when hit by a semi on the freeway and the car only suffered minor dents in the doors. It’s a car that was built to last. The interior is surprisingly spacious and bright. The exterior is sleek and sexy. I did have various mechanical issues over the years, including a check engine light that never once went away despite dumping thousands into the vehicle, the heat/AC failing, and the latch on the hatchback failing. Now in 2021, I’m unfortunately shopping for a new vehicle as the front driver side suspension unexpectedly failed and repair costs aren’t worth it. As sad as I am to part with it, I got about 120,000 miles out of my Rabbit and loved it every single time I got in the car.
I Love My Rabbit! - 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit
By clk - December 10 - 12:00 am
I love my new VW Rabbit! There was only one two door left in the state so there was no choice in color, but they found the car quickly and got it shipped in a day and a half. The black stripe on the side of my car wasnt aligned correctly (off by less than an inch) and they fixed it quickly. The customer service was really great. Its fun to drive and I like the radio. Overall the Rabbit is a great car and really is affordable!
Longest Car I Ever Owned - 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit
By smokeymaxwell - November 18 - 10:23 am
I bought my 2007 VW Rabbit from the dealer brand new in 2007. It was the base model with a manual 5 speed. What an awesome car for the money. It was quick, very responsive, had no bothersome stability control and was fun to drive. At most, I would keep a car around 1 to 2 years. I kept this Rabbit for 5 years because I loved it. The 2.5L engine was strong (I say this because the same engine in later years was de-tuned for gas mileage savings). The car never let me down, never made any weird noises, and was totally reliable. The hatch was convenient to use and fit a ton of stuff. The only thing I didnt like and changed right away was the factory radio. I put an aftermarket Alpine.
VW - The Rabbit formerly know as "Golf" - 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit
By Viper655rt10 - November 9 - 1:36 am
Well, Ive only had the car for 2 days. But I can tell you that it is great. The quality has gone up to an even higher standard with this car. Volkswagen has clearly decided to make your money worth it. I had a 2003 Golf. It was a love hate relationship. It was weak-sauce when it came to acceleration, as could be expected. But it was rediculously fun when it came to getting through traffic and going through curvy 76 through Escondido in the San Diego mountains to Julian. As for this one, its freaking sweet. It accelerates like no other N/A sub 3.0L car Ive ever driven and handles like Steve Nash...left..right..left...left again..go go go! And thats with the automatic! Imagine if I got the manual!
Rabbit high cost maintenance - 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit
By Jeff - November 4 - 10:13 pm
I bought this car after owning a Subaru Forester for 4 years. I decided that I no longer needed all wheel drive and wanted something a bit smaller and economical to own/drive. I take the car in for routine maintenance as required. I was a bit disappointed when at my last service of 19,400 miles I was told I needed new rear brakes. This is before fronts. VW tells me this is common to use rears that fast. Cost to replace $465 at dealer (did not have it done there, instead opted for local repair garage). If you had to do this every 19,000 miles it does not make this care economical to drive. I am told all VWs go through brakes that fast.
2006 VW Rabbit - 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit
By sue - October 27 - 12:43 am
I think VW came out with a winner! I test drove and had the car located in my area. I am pleased with the great seating and standard features. I love the whole car and do not regret buying it at all like some of my other cars even in this span of time. I totally recommend it. Its roomier than you think and it has a nice firm ride and great pick up when you need it
Excellent Value for the Money! - 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit
By Henry - October 10 - 11:20 pm
This car is an absolute dream! Ive driven it every day for 8 months now and I still have a smile on my face! This thing is so fun to drive. When I was shopping, I looked at Scion tC, Nissan Sentra, Honda Fit, Dodge Caliber and none of them compare with the VWs power, safety, and standard features! Everything is included in the price! Only small negative I can find is the gas mileage. It could be better but you always have to make a trade-off. Id rather have more power and gas mileage isnt too bad. Ive been averaging 22 mi/gal. 90% city driving agressively. If youre in the market for this, I would wait for the 08 model which will have 170 horses and other improvements!
So far, so good - 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit
By Tony - October 10 - 2:10 pm
Ive had my 08 rabbit for almost a year now and havent had any major complaints so far. I actually like the placement of the iPod dock in the center console since it hides it from prying eyes. I dont like the way the radio system controls it though. The interior is nice (and very well laid out) and roomy and Im pretty tall. Everyone that has been inside the rabbit always comments on how much room they have, even in the back seat. The side panels on the interior do scuff pretty easily though, but they are also easy to clean. On the road it feels like a substantial car, but is easy to toss around.
Just Bought, AWESOME! - 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit
By ladeyluck3 - September 22 - 7:20 pm
I just bought my Rabbit and am OVERJOYED to have it. I went from a Blazer to this car and it meets all the needs I had with better gas mileage and more comfort. I happened upon this car while searching for an SUV. Great price, great quality as expected from VW. My 1st car was VW, and I love the reliability. Good stereo, great handling, I love the rear foldable seats. Great pickup and go, even with the a/c on! Very compassionate about this car! Passed over a 2010 Kia Soul for this car. Very satisfied! Dont pass up this car if you find one... havent seen many. Heated seat a great plus! :) Very happy with my purchase from SUV to car. Consider it a "crossover". :)
Love the Wabbit - 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit
By Raymond - August 31 - 10:50 am
Bought car expecting to like it. Didnt expect to LOVE it. I needed something cheap to insure, and was still fun and good on gas/emissions. This best fit the bill after many test drives of the competition. Couldnt be happier. Value for the buck is truly the key here.