Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
You'll Like The 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit If...
Tangible German lineage and an exceptionally high level of interior fit and finish for this price combine to make the Rabbit the most sophisticated $15,000 vehicle on the road. Compact SUV-like versatility provides practical appeal.
You May Not Like The 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit If...
While it’s very much a German car from behind the wheel, the Rabbit isn’t as fun to drive as competitors like the Mazda Mazda3. The Mazda3 also offers features not available on the Rabbit, such as heated leather seats, on-board navigation and a Bose audio system.
Offered as a new model late in 2006, the 2007 Rabbit sees only minor changes that include an auxiliary audio input jack and optional iPod interface.
The spacious interior is the surprise here. With far more room than is apparent from the outside, the Rabbit can seat five as well as provide plenty of cargo space. The dash and center console are designed for compactness and ease of use, and nooks and crannies for storage abound. Nifty indicators include one for brake pad wear, and a fuel-cap seal warning to remind impatient drivers to tighten the cap properly. A passenger seat that folds flat and 60/40-split folding rear seats enhance versatility. Adjustable lumbar-support seats (four-door only) hold driver and passenger comfortably on sharp turns. The hatchback has an exceptionally large opening, and the pass-through on the four-door model can accommodate skis.
Functional, practical and sporty design cues identify the Rabbit as a German hatchback that wastes no sheet metal or bodywork. The hood, headlamps and grille are integrated economically with the front bumper, the side panels and doors flow together smoothly and the rear couldn’t be simpler. The slightly forward-leaning stance is emphasized by the narrowing side window line and the hatchback rear window.
Despite its small size, there’s a solid feel to the Rabbit and it delivers overall confidence in difficult driving situations. Nimble in city and country driving, it handles busy street corners and curvy rural lanes easily, thanks in part to the new suspension system, the responsive steering and the optional stability program. Increased specifically for the U.S. market are ride height and tire sizes. The 2.5-liter, five-cylinder powerplant is well-suited to the American driving style, offers lots of torque off the line and requires less revving than the previous 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. The five-speed manual transmission has reasonably short throws, in line with its sporty character, and slides effortlessly between gears. The automatic version is just as slick, and both transmissions share the same average highway mileage of 30 miles per gallon. A fair amount of handling firmness reminds you of the Rabbit’s Teutonic engineering, along with delivering the satisfaction of driving a small-outside, big-inside vehicle.
The Rabbit has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $15,620, which is not bad for a compact with a 150-horsepower engine and plenty of standard equipment. The MSRP on the two-door Rabbit with six-speed automatic transmission is $16,695; the manual-transmission four-door model costs $17,620, and with the automatic it’s $18,695. These prices are identical to the 2006 model and could keep the residual value relatively high. In the past, the Golf has held strong resale values on par with the Toyota Yaris and Honda Civic. We expect the new Rabbit’s resale figures to continue this trend.
The Rabbit’s standard equipment list includes cruise control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control, AM/FM stereo with single MP3-compatilbe CD player (six-disc CD changer on four-door models), remote keyless entry, an anti-theft engine immobilizer system and a new high-tech electro-mechanical steering system. Comfort and safety equipment include heated front seats (four-door only), front and side airbags, Side-Curtain Protection, air conditioning, heated side mirrors and a rear window defroster.
Only three options are offered on the two-door model and six options on the four-door. Available for both is VW’s anti-skid, lateral control Electronic Stabilization Program (ESP) to help curb skids and maximize handling. Other options include a six-speed automatic transmission, with Tiptronic and a Sport mode that allows manual shifting, and 16-inch alloy wheels. For backseat riders in the four-door the addition of rear side-impact airbags is probably reassuring, while the power sunroof with sunshade adds a little style as well as fresh air. The sixth option is SIRIUS Satellite Radio.
The Rabbit LogoEschewing the traditional nametag, the Rabbit identifies itself only with the once-familiar bounding hare logo. New Five-cylinder EngineShared with the Jetta and developed specifically for American driving styles, the new 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine delivers the quick response worthy of the Rabbit name.
Under the Hood
In place of the previous Golf’s anemic 2.0-liter, 115-horsepower four-cylinder engine, the Rabbit gets a 2.5-liter in-line five-cylinder unit developed specifically for the acceleration tastes of American drivers. Its 150 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque are transmitted through a five-speed manual transmission or a new manually-selectable six-speed automatic version with a satisfyingly aggressive Sport mode. The independent rear suspension helps it keep a grip on the road, as do the anti-lock braking and electronic traction control systems. Gone for now, unfortunately, is the popular diesel model.2.5-liter in-line 5150 horsepower @ 5000 rpm170 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3750 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/30 (manual), 22/30 (automatic)
Despite a commonly-held belief that Americans don’t like hatchbacks, the success of Volkswagen’s long running two- and four-door models – as well as the recent success of the MINI Cooper, Mazda Mazda3 and it’s own GTI – has prompted Volkswagen to revive the beloved Rabbit hatchback. The "cute as a bunny" Rabbit replaces the Golf nameplate to become VW’s entry-level economy model, offering a number of upscale safety and convenience features, a frugal new five-cylinder engine and a roomy and versatile interior. Despite its hefty standard content, the Volkswagen Rabbit manages a sticker price that won’t leave consumers hopping mad, which should have sales multiplying like, well, Rabbits.