Used 2002 Volkswagen Cabrio Convertible Review
A fun-in-the-sun ride. If it's good enough for Gidget, it's good enough for you.
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 rollbar and a stout top, sporting six layers and latching tightly to the windshield header. Three trim levels are available for 2002: value-packed GL, mid-level GLS and high-end GLX. All three come with CFC-free air conditioning, ABS, an AM/FM stereo with CD changer pre-wiring, a glass rear window with defogger, side airbags and an anti-theft system. The GL has a vinyl top and a leather-covered steering wheel, while GLS models add power windows, power mirrors, heated seats, cruise control and a cloth top. Pop for the GLX, and you get all of the GLS' features plus a power top, leather seating, newly designed 14-inch wheels and foglights.
All models are powered by a 115-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard and an automatic tranny is optional. Despite its 122 pound-feet 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 antiroll 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 complemented by a perfectly weighted, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system that offers excellent turn-in and fantastic feedback.
Inside the Cabrio, you'll find classy chrome accents and an instrument panel that illuminates with indigo blue and red lighting. 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 has front legroom to spare. The Cabrio imparts a sense of class and sophistication, and with a conservative price tag and a generous 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty (up from 2 years/24,000 miles), we think this Volkswagen will appeal to those who appreciate a capable drop-top.
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This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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