Beetle to Rabbit to Beetle to Rabbit. After more than 20 years Volkwagen is bringing back the Rabbit for the North American market to take a piece of the expanding minicar market. VW is bringing back the name more than anything, as the Rabbit has been available all this time, except it was known as the Golf. In other parts of the world the name Rabbit has never been used, and the Golf brand will continue outside of North America. The Rabbit is built on the 5th generation Golf design, and while it contains many similarities to the 2006 Golf, there are many differences and improvements as well. The launch of the Rabbit is heavily marketed to combat the already strong competition in the form of the Honda Fit and Civic, and the Nissan Versa and Sentra.
German engineered from the inside and out the Rabbit is powered by a 2.5 liter inline 5-cylinder engine that produces 150HP at 5000RPM. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard with an optional 6-speed automatic being available. Fuel efficiency doesn't compare well against the leaders in the minicar class, however at 22/30MPG for city and highway driving respectively, the Rabbit still fits.
At 94.2 cubic feet of space, the Rabbit's interior comes close to matching the interior space offered by the mid-sized VW Passat. Being a hatchback rear storage space comes above the Jetta sedan with 15.1 cubic feet available. The 4-door Rabbit also allows the front passenger seat to be folded flat to accommodate longer objects such as ladders or skis, alongside a pass through space in the rear seats.
Standard safety features include dual front airbags, front side airbags, curtain side airbags, 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock, brake assist, and daytime running lights. Other standard features VW has included are air conditionning, CD/radio speaker system with auxiliary input, and an outside-temperature indicator.
4-door ($17,110) : features a few upgrades including heated front seats, an 8-way adjustable driver's seat (as opposed to 6-way), and an in-dash 6-disc CD changer.
An extra note, the first 4000 Rabbits released in the US will be badged as 2006 models and are identical to the 2007 version except for the lack of the auxiliary input on the stereo system, and no optional tire pressure monitoring system.
Front crash test - Good
Side impact test - Good
National Highway Safety Traffic Association (NHTSA)
Front crash driver's side - 4 stars
Front crash passenger's side - 4 stars
Side crash front seat - 5 stars
Side crash rear seat - 5 stars