Used 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio

1997 Volkswagen Cabrio
List price range
1997 Volkswagen Cabrio


  • Affordable top down fun


  • No ABS on base car, underpowered engine

Used 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio for Sale

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Volkswagen replaced the venerable Cabriolet with this Golf-based convertible in 1995. The difference between the Cabriolet and the Cabrio was enormous and welcome. The old Rabbit-based car hasn't been missed.

The Cabrio is good fun. For $18,500 you get a four-seat convertible with simple good looks, reasonably spry performance, and premium sound. Road feel is superb, and the thick four-spoke steering wheel falls readily to hand.

While the 2.0-liter motor is no barnstormer, it moves the Cabrio quick enough to squirt through traffic. A redesigned cylinder head means the Cabrio runs more quietly for 1997. At speed, 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 the Cabrio's seats are comfortable and multi-adjustable.

The basket handle rollbar remains intact on the Cabrio, but the top stows much more neatly than it ever did on the Cabriolet. And a stout top it is, sporting six layers and latching tightly to the windshield header. The glass rear window is thoughtfully equipped with a defroster, making the Cabrio a true four seasons car.

For 1997, Volkswagen is making a few changes. Two trim levels are available; Base and Highline. Base models are decontented versions of last year's car, eschewing air conditioning, power windows, heated exterior mirrors, cruise control, and antilock brakes to attain a price thousands of dollars lower than the 1996 Cabrio. Highline is a carbon copy of the 1996 model, adding fog lights, alloy wheels, and leather interior trim to the standard equipment roster. Buyers who must have ABS are forced into buying the pricey Highline model, since the system is not available on Base models.

Yes, the Miata is more fun to drive, and Mustangs are more stylish, but the Cabrio is no longer the Barbie car it once was. It imparts a sense of class and sophistication, and at a starting price of $18,500, which includes a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, we think this Volkswagen should appeal to those more interested in style than speed.

1997 Highlights

Cabrio comes in two trim levels for 1997: Base and Highline. Base models are decontented versions of last year's car, priced a couple thousand dollars lower to entice young drivers. Highline models have standard alloy wheels, foglights and leather seats. Engines have a redesigned cylinder head resulting in quieter operation.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

And I used to be a big VW fan....
Steve Gilbert,08/29/2002
I've had nothing but problems with it. The car is now 5 years old, and has 43,000 miles on it. Problems so far have been: 1) The door moldings continuously fall off. VW will reattach new ones at about 70 dollars per, but you'll need it done every 6-8 months. 2) Cruise control failed. Had to have a new one installed. 3) Power Steering fluid reservoir had to be replaced. 4) Transmission linkage broke, had to be replaced. 5) Air conditioner failed completely, had to be replaced. 7) The driver's side seat fell apart, had to be replaced. There's more that I can't fit in this box.
A Mess
The car is fun to drive and looks great. BUT: problems problems problems! Outside door trim falling off (seems to be a trend with mid 90's vw's), window trim warped so rain leaks in, leak at driver's visor (cannot drive or park in rain or water drips on your leg), backseat floods when rains, coolant leak x 2, and, to top it all off: transmission failed at 115,000 miles. the parts store in my town knows my dad by name because of all the parts he picks up (luckily he's been able to do a lot of the work himself). oh yeah, let's not forget, the electrical went out at 89,000 miles. the car would not start if it rained and would stall out wherever you were if it started.
just got it
Just got the Cabrio 97 convertable for the wife, at 125K miles, she loves it. I'm already doing work on it, and seen records of work from previous owner, which concerns me and the costs(online purchases are the way to go.) The side trims have come off, the cloth top is torn (heard the cloth is prone to that) got viynl online, which I heard takes awhile to install..10hours? For a 4 cylinder, it runs nice and tight. I'm getting around 30mpg, more than the 24 stated. I have to get used to the reverse being in the same spot as 1st. Nice seats, but have problems with the back seat folding down completely..would be better for a dog and storage. High dash with low front seats. Fun to drive!
Got in new, still luv it..
I bought it new in 1997. Still have it. other than tires, batterys and maintenance only made two starter 5 years in, and new top 8 years in. I have had to glue the side trim back on with boat glue from home wanted $300 for that repair. Also, have glue on many places on the body..back cup holder, side trim inside by door, radio buttons. All electronics still work, engine still reliable, AC died at 10 years/100,000. Pretty good car though.
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Features & Specs

21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
115 hp @ 5400 rpm
21 city / 29 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
115 hp @ 5400 rpm
See all Used 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio
Used 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio Overview

The Used 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio is offered in the following submodels: Cabrio Convertible. Available styles include 2dr Convertible, and Highline 2dr Convertible.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1997 Volkswagen Cabrios are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio.

Can't find a used 1997 Volkswagen Cabrios you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Cabrio for sale - 12 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $11,565.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 12 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $22,419.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Cabrio for sale - 6 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $20,958.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 2 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $19,037.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 Volkswagen Cabrio?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Cabrio lease specials