2008 Volkswagen Rabbit S 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A)
This 2008 Rabbit is the 2nd Golf/Rabbit in the family since 2003. The 1st was a 1999 Golf which nickeled and dimed us to death, mostly with lightbulbs, but also other sometimes unbelievable electrical failures. The reliability ratings on the 2006 and up VWs were vastly improved over the previous years, so I took a chance and bought this one in 2010, certified, from a VW dealer with 50K miles, as a graduation gift to my daughter. She couldn't afford to operate it so I bought it back from her with 59K miles thinking it would be a good work car for 3-4 years. WRONG! (continued below)
Although spared most of the electrical gremlins (the right year passenger window wouldn't go back up from the driver console, and the intermittent wipers had a mind of their own) the transmission developed a penchant for clunking, and worse, getting stuck in 5th gear, sometimes when you were trying to merge into traffic from a stop. VW could, of course, find nothing wrong and wouldn't replace the valve body (which had a service bulletin and warranty extension on it) without a fault code, in spite of there being a lot of anecdotal information that this may have fixed the problem. (continued below)
The car is really a wonderful vehicle. Fun to drive and very practical, but not worth dying for. Reliability continues to be a MAJOR issue for VW. I will never buy another VW and will ceaselessly and tirelessly discourage others from buying them. I took a huge bath on this car financially.
Make cars that aren't pieces of crap.
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