2006 Volkswagen Rabbit Hatchback Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Volkswagen Rabbit Hatchback

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Volkswagen Rabbit Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.5 L Inline 5-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 150 hp @ 5000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/28 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit

  • Much like its Jetta sibling, the 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit offers an extensive features list, respectable performance and a ride and handling balance that will appeal to most folks.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Comfortable ride, rich interior materials, many safety features, roomy interior, solid build quality.

  • Cons

    Can get pricey with options, handling and styling might not be sporty enough for younger buyers.

  • What's New for 2006

    VW releases the 2006 Rabbit hatchback very late in the model year. This is the next-generation Golf but with the nostalgic, U.S.-only name last used in 1984. Compared to the outgoing Golf, the Rabbit features new styling, a more sophisticated rear suspension design, more interior room and a new powertrain.

Full 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit Review

What's New for 2006

VW releases the 2006 Rabbit hatchback very late in the model year. This is the next-generation Golf but with the nostalgic, U.S.-only name last used in 1984. Compared to the outgoing Golf, the Rabbit features new styling, a more sophisticated rear suspension design, more interior room and a new powertrain.


Volkswagen's calling card has traditionally been offering an upscale, European feel in its small cars without the normally associated high window sticker number. This philosophy continues with the all-new 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit. This isn't an all-new model for Volkswagen; rather, it's the next generation of the Golf hatchback. In a throwback to 1975 when the European-market VW Golf debuted in the U.S. as the Rabbit (a name it kept until 1985), the company has decided that the newest Golf will once again be named Rabbit in the North American market.

The 2006 VW Rabbit is based on the same platform as the current-generation Jetta; the main difference is that the Rabbit is a two- or four-door hatchback, while the Jetta is a sedan (and soon, a wagon). Compared to the 2006 Golf, the Rabbit is a bit larger and heavier. The larger size is beneficial in terms of interior room, as the car provides a few more inches of headroom (front and rear) along with nearly 2 more inches of rear-seat legroom.

Under the hood is a 150-horsepower inline five (instead of the lackluster 115-hp four used previously). The car's body structure is stiffer than before, and a new multilink rear suspension has been used to improve the car's ride quality on bumpy pavement. Most consumers will be satisfied with the Rabbit's soft ride, though driving enthusiasts will likely be disappointed by the loss of that taut, European character of previous generations. Additionally, a switch to electric assist for the power steering has taken away some of the car's traditionally communicative steering feel.

In its favor, the Volkswagen Rabbit offers decent performance, plenty of standard features, a premium interior feel and plenty of cargo space, thanks to its hatchback body style. Beyond that, however, there's little that makes this newcomer stand out from the pack of competent cars in this class, such as the more fuel-efficient Honda Civic or the decidedly sportier Mazda 3.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit comes as a two- or four-door hatchback in a single trim level. Apart from the number of doors, the cars are identical, as they share the same wheelbase and overall length. Air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, keyless entry and a 60/40 split-folding rear seat are common standard features. The four-door gets a few upgrades, such as a premium audio system with a six-disc CD changer (versus a single CD player), eight-way manual adjustable front seats (versus six-way), heated front seats, rear center armrest, upgraded cloth upholstery and body-color bumper strips/side moldings. Options are limited to 16-inch alloy wheels and, for the four-door hatch only, a sunroof and satellite radio.

Powertrains and Performance

All Rabbits come with a 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine that produces 150 hp and 170 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic (which allows manual-style shifting if desired) is optional. Acceleration is satisfactory, if not particularly energetic, and the six-speed automatic does a fine job of making the most of the engine's power band. The EPA rates the Rabbit's fuel economy at 22 mpg city/30 mpg highway.


Four-wheel antilock disc brakes, seat-mounted side airbags for front occupants and full-length head curtain airbags are standard on all Rabbits. Stability control is an option and four-door models can be equipped with rear seat-mounted side airbags. In NHTSA crash testing, the Volkswagen Rabbit scored four stars (out of five) in frontal tests and five stars in side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Rabbit's cabin is a high point, and the level of quality in the materials says "German engineering" loud and clear. At night, the gauges light up in VW blue with red needles, and all the knobs, buttons and switches work as if they were lifted from an Audi. The three-spoke steering wheel is as perfectly shaped for driving as anything from Momo. Multiple adjustments for the front seats, along with a tilt- and telescoping steering wheel assure a proper driving position for drivers of all sizes and shapes. The cargo area measures 15 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and considerably more space is available with the seats folded.

Driving Impressions

The 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit manages to provide both comfortable ride quality and competent handling. Although not as sporty as the older Golfs (and Rabbits) when tackling a set of curves on one's favorite road, the current model is more refined, with a reassuring, rock-solid feel and a surprisingly quiet ride. The steering is nicely weighted but doesn't offer as much feedback as we'd like.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Gotta love that 5 cylinder!

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

I bought this car alittle over a year ago and still havent had any mechanical problems with it and I don't see anything going wrong for a long time. Reliabilty issues aren't too much of a concern with newer Vws like this one. This engine is bulletproof and will deffinately last a long time. The car is a blast to drive and with a few mods, becomes much more fun. I just wanna step on it whenever I'm in the car just to hear that 5 cylinder engine opening up. No complaints with this car yet!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Very disappointed!

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

First 3 years, I loved the car! It has 127K miles on it now & I have to have the transmission rebuilt. I am very disappointed in VW. I would have continued to purchase VW and drive them for the rest of my lift until now. There is absolutely no reason I should have to have the transmission rebuilt yet. It should last me to 250K or more with the proper service and believe me I have had it all done. I loved everything about the car but this has totally changed my mind on VW and Audi for that matter or probably anything foreign except Honda & Subaru. Such a huge disappointment. And on top of it all VW wanted to rebuild it for $5150.00. Didn't go that route, no way!

I love driving!!

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

My fiance and I stumbled upon this great car by pure luck. The first time I drove this car I was completely surprised and wanted more. With a tap of the pedal your off to wherever you may go. Everyday I drive it I find myself saying " I love this car! " It is the funnest thing to drive!! I have a lead foot and its great right off the line. I do have to be careful though, all the sudden I find myself at 80 mph not even knowing it. The car could get better gas mileage all around but its really not too bad. With the way I drive sometimes it doesn't quite matter.I love this car!!

Runs like a bunny

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Vehicle: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

Unlike past VWs, this Rabbit with 48,000 miles, has been totally trouble- free and rock solid. No problems or rattles and still as enjoyable to drive now as on day one. Spirited driving has yielded average 25.8 mpg. (range 19.8 to 32.2) Reliability problems are in the past so I have no choice but to stay in the VW family


by on
Vehicle: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M)

Great car! Very few problems since off the lot new, now 30K miles. Way fun to drive, starts fine at -30F, load the big dogs, the bikes, the stuff, and go. Get about 30mpg highway, mid 20's city. Haven't gone thru any brake pads yet and am overdue for speeding tickets.

Best small car ever!

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Vehicle: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit PZEV 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A)

This is by far the best small car I've ever driven. I'm 6'1" and 200 lbs. and I fit in it perfectly. It drives like a full size sedan and gets great gas mileage for the horsepower that it has. I've put 60K on her in 2 years and I've had no problems. I have long commutes for work (3-6 hours) and I rarely ever feel the fatigue from sitting in my car that long. When I have to drive compact to midsize rentals for my job (I hate most of them) I can't wait to get home to my rabbit. It feels safe too...especially with all of the airbags.

Talk About The 2006 Rabbit

2006 Volkswagen Rabbit Discussions See all Started By

Aren't these Rabbits 2006s? I believe they are. The dealer had 2006 stickers on them, and I think the Monroney sticker also said 2006 for the model year....

I am going to get a Rabbit. I am shopping around for the best price on a United Grey 4 door Automatic. I know full well what I am getting in to. I've been debating the Rabbit versus other cars in it...

I could afford either one - bought the 4 dr Rabbit. Didn't want the Turbo and the heat that goes with it. I liked the interior of the Rabbit better - very personal. I liked the ride of the Rabbit m...

Read more about the 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 28
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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