2008 Volkswagen Rabbit

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21 CITY / 29 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2008:
  • Engine gains 20 hp to 170

  • Engine torque up 7 lb.-ft. to 177

  • Base model now called S

  • Tire-pressure monitor now standard
The Rabbit replaced the Golf as Volkswagen's compact hatchback in 2006 as an early 2007 model. The Rabbit shares its front-wheel-drive architecture with the Volkswagen Jetta 4-door sedan, but is available in 2- and 4-door hatchback body styles. The Rabbit also hosts the performance-oriented GTI and R32 models. It is offered only with an inline 5-cylinder engine, which has been boosted from 150 to 170 hp for 2008. Five-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions are offered. With the second-row seats folded flat, the Rabbit has 41.8 cubic feet of cargo room.

Model Lineup
Both the 2-door and 4-door Rabbit are offered in one model called S. Standard features on the 2-door S include cloth upholstery; 6-way manually adjustable driver seat; 4-way manually adjustable passenger seat; 60/40-split folding second-row seat; tilt steering wheel; air conditioning; cruise control; remote keyless entry; power windows, locks, and mirrors; AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack; and P195/65R16 tires on steel wheels with hubcaps. The 4-door S adds an 8-way manually adjustable driver seat with power recline; fold-flat front passenger seat; front center console; rear-seat armrest and passthrough; Sirius satellite radio; 6-disc CD changer; and heated front seats. Options include an iPod adapter; sunroof; a Rabbit Sport Styling kit with front spoiler; side sill extensions; rear valance; twin exhaust tips; roof spoiler; P205/55R16 tires on aluminum alloy wheels; and P225/45R17 tires on aluminum alloy wheels.

The inline 5-cylinder engine in the 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit has been upgraded for 2008 to produce 170 hp and 177 lb.-ft. of torque. A PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) version is available for California and the Northeastern region. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard and a 6-speed automatic is optional. Fuel economy is estimated at 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway with the manual and 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway with the automatic. Volkswagen's powertrain warranty is for 5 years or 60,000 miles with roadside assistance for 4 years or 50,000 miles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 4-door Volkswagen Rabbit receives 4-star ratings for both front occupants in frontal-impact crash tests, 5-star ratings for front and rear passengers in side-impact crashes, and a 4-star rollover resistance rating. Every 2008 Rabbit has dual front air bags; front side air bags; curtain side air bags; anti-lock brakes (ABS) with brake assist (BA) and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD); traction control; and a tire-pressure monitor. Rear side air bags are optional for 4-door models and stability control is optional for all 2008 Rabbits.

Stability control uses sensors to detect traction and the car's intended path. If, according to the sensors, the vehicle is not heading in the direction the driver intends, stability control uses the ABS to apply individual brakes that will help get the car back on its intended path. BA applies maximum braking power when the driver attempts a panic stop. EBD controls the amount of braking power to each wheel to maximize stopping power. It can release the brake on a wheel or wheels that have locked or apply more braking power to wheels on one side of the vehicle to maintain stability when braking in a turn, Volkswagen explains.

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