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2006 Volkswagen Rabbit 4 Door Bookmark

The Good :)  Excellent build quality. Great engine and transmission.  Quiet interior.

The Bad :(  Price is a bit high.  Gas mileage should be better.  Leather seats & steering wheel should be standard.

Engine

i5, 2.5 Liters

Output

150 hp / 170 lb-ft

Top Speed

125 mph

0-60 mph

8.1 sec (est.)

Weight

3,072 lbs

Price As Tested

$16,990

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The original Volkswagen Rabbit was sold in America from 1974 through 1984; it was remembered as a driver's car that would just keep on running.  In recent memory the Golf replaced the position of the Rabbit giving us something low cost and very solid from Germany.  For 2006 the newly named Rabbit is a Golf sized vehicle that is totally fun to drive, just like the original. 

The 2007 VW Rabbit is available as a two door hatchback or as a four door hatchback.  As more Americans turn to compact vehicles instead of SUVs for better fuel economy, the VW Rabbit, similar to the old Golf brand name, offers high quality at a low price.

Behind the wheel of the Rabbit, you have a feeling of being in a very well built car.  Take turns fast, stop on a dime, and accelerate quickly from a dead stop.  The Rabbit is responsive and comfortable, even with four large adults.  On the highway the Rabbit exhibits the feeling of being in a much larger vehicle.  The car can go fast, into triple digits and inside you feel as if you are going 50 mph.  It is quite inside, and the engine is very smooth.  Passing at high speed is relatively easy and maneuverability is excellent.  It is very hard to get this type of feeling behind any car much less in a car starting at $15,000. 

 

We did not find the VW web site to be very helpful.  Features are difficult to get a hand of and text is very small so you have to be young to be able to read it easily.  We thought it was made for a hip teenager rather than an adult buyer.  Perhaps VW has mixed up who their buyer is because most Rabbits we have seen on the road are driven by mid-age adults, not teenagers.  So we would like a total redesign of the web site where you have someone actually presenting the car to you telling you about it, more like a movie, and also have large photos for you to view.   

The exterior body is smooth and compact with a drag coefficient of 0.32.  Walk around and you have a feeling of a well built car with thoughtful design throughout.  The overall length of the Rabbit is similar to that of other compact vehicles we have tested.  However, because of its smooth exterior styling that flows from front to back you actually want to be inside the Rabbit.  A dual exhaust tipped rear valence is made to wrap the tail end nicely so that nothing underneath shows.  Design elements are rounded oval shapes from the front headlights to the rear tail lamps.  The Rabbit looks very sharp sitting on the street corner. 

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Interior design is equally well built with the use of high quality parts on the dash and instrument cluster.  There is 94 cubic feet of passenger volume in this little car and a total cargo volume of 46 cubic feet.  We have come across a few people who are calling the VW design boring and uninspired.  Perhaps it is a bit bland, however, the exterior and interior design is functional and that makes it enjoyable to drive.  Inside you have high paneling all around giving you a feeling of being in a safe enclosed space.  Quality can be felt in the strong door pulls, which inside are made of real metal, and the heavy weight of all doors.  Felt trim surrounds the edges of the doors as well for a high quality look.  The outside rear view mirrors also feature turn signal indicators, something found in high end vehicles. 

            The stereo system is quite nice for a standard system on a low priced vehicle.  The 10 speakers are quite good and deliver excellent bass.  A 6-disc CD changer with MP3 is standard as well.  In the glove box we also found an iPod adapter which lets you hear all your music on the car's stereo system without any distortion and also charges your iPod while in the glove box.  It was much better to have this feature rather than have the Sirius satellite radio.  On this vehicle the satellite radio was slow, it was hard to change stations and it did not display full station names or track information.   

 

Front seats are heated and quite comfortable.  We did not like the cloth material used on the seats because it was a faded black color and looked cheap, especially in the sun. Hopefully leatherette would be standard in all cars soon.  The rear seats are also quite comfortable and roomy.  You do have to move the headrest up a bit to have a comfortable back seat if you are a adult and then fold them back down to make room for cargo should you need it.  We liked the solidity of all parts inside, nothing is made cheaply and nothing feels light weight or flimsy. 

            Inside the VW Rabbit features a great deal of small things that we are hear to point out for you which you would probably never see on your test drive.  The air conditioning system features a pollen and odor filter.  Outside rear view mirrors are powered and heated for cold winter days.  The steering column is height adjustable as well as telescoping for more comfort to every driver.  All four windows are powered with one touch up and down for ease-of-use, something that we have not seen in any other vehicle in this price range.  VW also offers a adjustable center armrest with cooled storage.  It can be pulled forward to fit more drivers and passengers and its height is adjustable as well.  Broth front seats feature height adjustment as well as lumbar adjustment for optimum comfort for a vast range of driver sizes.  The driver's seat is powered for the backrest recline feature as well.  For those who need more room the front passenger seat is a fold flat seat.  The rear seat is split folding with a strong armrest as well which offers a pass through to the rear trunk. 

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Interior lighting is particularly well done and includes vanity mirrors with lights, reading lamps for the front and rear as well as lights on the rear view mirrors which light your path when you approach the car.  Inside you also have a nice glow of ambient lighting all around with all switches lit up for easy viewing.  We liked the fact that the large VW badge on the trunk was also a trunk latch, something that first showed up on the Passat. 

On the VW as in most German cars you have a nifty feature for your blinkers when you want to indicate a turn.  Here you just tap once and the blinkers signal three times without you having to hold down the blinkers.  In the Rabbit you also have a great heating system which gets warm very fast. 

            The German made sunroof is equally impressive offering an easy one dial function and being very quite in its operation.  The sunroof also provides a quiet interior when opened with little wind noise. 

 

 

The VW Rabbit is powered by a 2.5 liter 5-cylinder engine.  This engine generates 150 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 170 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,750 rpm and sends all this power to the front wheels.  We found the engine to be superb in fast takeoffs.  The engine is also very smooth and quick, something you have to feel yourself in a test drive when comparing this vehicle to any other in the small car segment.  There is simply nothing like a true German built engine.  The exhaust note is also quite sporty with a growl of a much larger engine.

The five speed manual transmission is wonderful.  It offers good feedback when shifting and provides a great notchy feel while having quick shift points and short motions for each gear.  While we suggest the automatic for city driving the manual is definitely more fun for those living in the suburbs.

            An electro mechanical power steering system is very precise and delivers good amount of road feedback.  We disliked the plastic steering wheel which felt slippery and cheap.  A small investment in a leather wrapped steering wheel would significantly improve on this.  You can pick one up at autosupermart.com and stitch it on yourself.

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  The Rabbit features an independent front and multilink independent rear suspension that provides great road mannerism for a smooth ride on the highway and a non-jarring ride on bumps roads.  Front and rear stabilizer bars make quick maneuvers easy on the driver.  The overall driving characteristic of the Rabbit are far superior to any other small car we have driven to date.

            The VW Rabbit offers a great deal of safety features such as driver and front passenger front airbags,  as well as front side airbags.  Side curtain head airbags for the front and rear are standard.  Front seat belts are height adjustable, something you do not find in every small car.  You also have daytime running headlights as well as side protection door beams in case you are up against a SUV.  Anti slip regulation, and an electronic differential lock along with antilock braking system keeps you going in the direction you want to go and help with straight stops which are shorter. 

The unusually high level of passenger protection and safety provided by the Rabbit earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's 'Top Safety Pick, Silver Award' for front offset, side impact, and rear crash protection.

 

A basic new vehicle warranty of 4-years or 50,000 miles is offered with a 5-year powertrain warranty.  Corrosion is covered for an impressive 12 years which we have not seen offered by any US or Japanese automakers.  Road side assistance is also provided and most VW dealers offer some kind of loaner car for your services. 

            Our test car in Reflex Silver with Anthracite cloth interior starts at a retail price of $16,990.  This includes a lot of standard features.  A power sunroof is optional at $1,000.  Electronic stabilization program which is essential in our minds costs $450 as an option.  Sixteen inch alloy wheels are optional but at a low price of $400.  Sirius satellite radio is $375 but we say skip it on this model.  Add a destination fee of $630 and you have a total of $19,845.  About 75% of the parts on the Rabbit are from Germany.  The final assembly point is located in Wolfsburg Germany with both engine and transmission being made in Germany.  The window sticker shows gas mileage of 22 miles per gallon city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway. 

 

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PRICING

INVOICE

RETAIL

Base Pricing

$16,277

$16,990

Destination

$625

$625

GAK   Rabbit Ground Effects Kit

$1,675

$1,490

GAT   17" Silver Vision V Alloy Wheel Upgrade

$1,350

$1,195

3FE   Power Sunroof w/Console and Sunglasses Holder

$880

$1000

1AT   Electronic Stabilization Program

$398

$400

P2S   16" 'Magny Cours' Alloy Wheel Package

$353

$400

PSI   Sirius Satellite Radio Service

$331

$375

4X4   Rear Side Impact Airbags

$310

$350

7K4   Tire Pressure Monitoring System

$133

$160

 


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COMPARISONS

2007 Volkswagen Rabbit
4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

2007 Mazda MAZDA3
s Sport 4dr Wagon (2.3L 4cyl 5M)

2007 Kia Spectra
Spectra5 SX 4dr Wagon (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

2007 Suzuki SX4
4dr Wagon AWD (2.0L 4cyl 5M)

2007 Chevrolet Aveo
5 Special Value 4dr Hatchback (1.6L 4cyl 5M)

MSRP

$16,990

$17,580

$15,995

$14,999

$9,995

Invoice

$16,277

$16,458

$14,955

$14,399

$9,445

Basic

4 yr. / 50000 mi.

3 yr. / 36000 mi.

5 yr. / 60000 mi.

3 yr. / 36000 mi.

3 yr. / 36000 mi.

Drivetrain

5 yr. / 60000 mi.

5 yr. / 60000 mi.

10 yr. / 100000 mi.

7 yr. / 100000 mi.

5 yr. / 100000 mi.

Roadside

4 yr. / Unlimited mi.

3 yr. / 36000 mi.

5 yr. / 60000 mi.

3 yr. / 36000 mi.

5 yr. / 100000 mi.

Rust

12 yr. / Unlimited mi.

5 yr. / Unlimited mi.

5 yr. / 100000 mi.

3 yr. / Unlimited mi.

6 yr. / 100000 mi.

Base Engine Type & Cylinders

inline 5

inline 4

inline 4

inline 4

inline 4

Base Engine Displacement

2.5 liters

2.3 liters

2.0 liters

2.0 liters

1.6 liters

Valvetrain

20 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)

16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)

16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)

16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)

16 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)

Horsepower

150 hp @ 5000 rpm

156 hp @ 6500 rpm

138 hp @ 6000 rpm

143 hp @ 5800 rpm

103 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque

170 ft-lbs. @ 3750 rpm

150 ft-lbs. @ 4500 rpm

136 ft-lbs. @ 4500 rpm

136 ft-lbs. @ 3500 rpm

107 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm

Stabilizer Bars

front and rear

front and rear

front and rear

front and rear

front

Tires

195/65R15 H
all season

P205/50R17 V
all season

P205/50R16
all season

Being Researched

P185/60R14
all season

Wheels

steel
15 x 6.0 in.

alloy
17 x 6.5 in.

alloy
16 x 6.0 in.

alloy
16 x 6.5 in.

steel
14 x 5.5 in.

Sunroof

power glass - Optional

power glass - Optional

power glass - Optional

Not Available

Not Available

Air Filtration

interior air filtration

interior air filtration

Not Available

interior air filtration

interior air filtration - Optional

Head Air Bag

front and rear

Not Available

front and rear

front and rear

Not Available

Side Air Bag

dual front

Not Available

dual front

dual front

dual front

Total Number of Speakers

10

6

6

4

4

City

22 mpg.

26 mpg.

27 mpg.

23 mpg.

27 mpg.

Highway

30 mpg.

33 mpg.

33 mpg.

28 mpg.

37 mpg.

Length

165.8 in.

176.8 in.

171.3 in.

162.8 in.

152.7 in.

Width

69.3 in.

69.1 in.

68.3 in.

69.1 in.

65.7 in.

Height

58.2 in.

57.7 in.

57.9 in.

63.2 in.

58.8 in.

Weight

2858 lbs.

2930 lbs.

2950 lbs.

2904 lbs.

2343 lbs.

Wheel Base

101.5 in.

103.9 in.

102.8 in.

98.4 in.

97.6 in.

Interior

Rabbit

MAZDA3

Spectra

SX4

Aveo

Front Headroom

39.3 in.

39.1 in.

40 in.

39.6 in.

39.2 in.

Rear Headroom

38.5 in.

38.4 in.

38.8 in.

37.5 in.

37.6 in.

Front Shoulder Room

54.7 in.

54.9 in.

55.1 in.

53.3 in.

53.6 in.

Rear Shoulder Room

54.6 in.

54 in.

53.9 in.

52.8 in.

52.7 in.

Front Leg Room

41.2 in.

41.1 in.

42.8 in.

41.4 in.

41.2 in.

Rear Leg Room

35.3 in.

36.3 in.

35.4 in.

35.9 in.

35.3 in.

Maximum Luggage Capacity

15 cu.ft.

17.1 cu.ft.

18.3 cu.ft.

38.1 cu.ft.

7 cu.ft.

 

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