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A fun-in-the-sun ride. If it's good enough for Gidget, it's good enough for you.
Germanic ride and handling, standard side airbags and ABS, glass rear window, exceptional warranty.
Sluggish off-the-line power, dated styling, limited storage space.
Available Cabrio Convertible Models
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Volkswagen's Cabrio gets minor equipment updates for the millennium.
Volkswagen's Cabrio is good fun. A four-seat convertible with simple good looks, spry performance and premium sound, the Golf-based drop top is the perfect summertime cruiser. Road feel is superb, and the thick, four-spoke steering wheel falls readily to hand. At high speeds, the VW feels solid and sure; this is a car that will get you speeding tickets if you're not careful. Handling is excellent, in the Volkswagen tradition. The chassis and suspension communicate clearly with the driver, and Cabrio's multi-adjustable seats are comfortable. All Cabrios come with a fixed, integrated roll bar and a stout top, sporting six layers and latching tightly to the windshield header.
Two trim levels are available for 2000: value-packed GL and high-end GLS. Both come with CFC-free air conditioning, ABS, an eight-speaker cassette stereo with CD capability, a glass rear window with defogger, side airbags and an anti-theft system. GLS models add a power-operated cloth or vinyl convertible top, leather seating and power windows with a one-touch up or down feature to the standard-equipment roster.
For 2000, Cabrios receive sliding sun-visor extenders, improved theft protection, a brake-wear indicator and an optional (dealer-installed) in-dash CD player. A non-smoking package is also available this year.
Both models are powered by the same 115-horsepower, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that powered previous-generation Cabrios. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard and an automatic tranny is optional. Despite its 122 foot-pounds of torque, this inline four is no barnstormer, and will feel downright sluggish underfoot if mated to the automatic. Nonetheless, the latest Cabrio is a solid, refined and comfortable ride, whether cruising at highway speeds or clipping apexes on your favorite mountain road. Capable underpinnings include MacPherson struts and an anti-roll bar that controls front-end movement, while Volkswagen's own "independent track-correcting torsion-beam rear axle" keeps the Cabrio's hindquarters in line. This suspension is complimented by a perfectly weighted, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system that offers excellent turn-in and fantastic feedback. This is where the Cabrio makes its leap from cute Barbie-mobile to serious driver's car.
Inside the Cabrio you'll find classy chrome accents and an instrument panel that illuminates in indigo blue and red. Climate and radio controls are within easy reach and have a logical layout. Front seats offer substantial bolstering, firm padding, and a wide range of adjustments to satisfy drivers of all sizes. This is one of the few small cars we've driven recently that had front legroom to spare.
Sure, the Miata may be more fun to drive and some may find the Mustangs more stylish, but the VW Cabrio is no longer the "boy-toy" car it once was. The Cabrio imparts a sense of class and sophistication, and with a conservative price tag, a fantastic two-year/24,000-mile new-vehicle warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, two years of free roadside assistance, and free scheduled maintenance during the first two years or 24,000 miles of ownership, we think this Volkswagen will appeal to those who appreciate a capable drop-top.
Laura's old car was costing her a small fortune every month for gas and repairs. She didn't even want to drive her kids to the park any more. But buying a new Kia Soul changed all that.