2006 Volkswagen Rabbit Review

Used Rabbit for sale
List Price Estimate:$1,778 - $3,579
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Volkswagen Rabbit model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Comfortable ride, rich interior materials, many safety features, roomy interior, solid build quality.
  • Can get pricey with options, handling and styling might not be sporty enough for younger buyers.

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2006 Volkswagen Rabbit models

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.

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2006 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
The All German Rabbit
Vanessa,08/09/2006
2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M)
I really like the fact that Volkswagen is building the Rabbit models in Germany. This is one of the major reasons I bought it. I previously owned a 1996 Volkswagen Golf that was built in Mexico and found the quality to be quite poor. And I know alot of people that had Jettas built in Mexico that traded their cars in within the first 5 years because they were constantly having problems with them. My father owns a 1989 and 1991 Volkwagen Jetta, in which it was built in Germany and it's still on the road with 250,000+. I am glad they are sticking with the German roots and not building them in Mexico, sometimes cheaper labor doesn't always profit in the long run.
5 out of 5 stars
Fun to Drive!
Igloo,08/01/2006
4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A)
I shopped around and drove everything. I compared the Mazda3, Chevy Cobalt SS, Honda Civic, Chrysler 300, Ford Fusion, Subaru Legacy...you name it. Finally, I tried the Rabbit. It's such a fun car to drive! The stereo is excellent. The handling is incredibly precise (you feel like you could drive around cones all day!), they offer you tons of features. It even has heated cloth seats and heated side mirrors! Plus it has A/C vents for the rear seats (very cool) and traction control! I am shocked that our new Rabbit (150hp) is even faster than out V6 Ford Escape (220hp V6). This is a huge improvement over the Golf. If you're considering a Mazda3 or a Civic, give this a try, you won't regret it!
4.75 out of 5 stars
Great Car
liu,07/26/2006
2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M)
I bought the Rabbit about two weeks ago and I love it more and more. I've always been a Japanese car fan in the past but this car definitely changed my perception about European car makers. The 2.5 V5 engine definitely gives you more power than you will need especially if you live in a big city. The first day I got it I took it up to high speeds on the highway and it's SMOOTH, thanks to it's great power to weight ratio. This is only an entry level European car, I can only imagine what the top of the line car will drive like. Great car, GET IT!!!
3 out of 5 stars
Very Disappointed!
Paige,07/28/2010
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!

Safety

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

More about the 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit

Used 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit Overview

The Used 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit is offered in the following submodels: Rabbit Hatchback. Available styles include 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M), 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M), 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A), PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M), PZEV 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 5M), and PZEV 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 5cyl 6A). Pre-owned Volkswagen Rabbit models are available with a 2.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 150 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual, 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ unlimited mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit?

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 2006 Volkswagen Rabbits 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) 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit 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 AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit.

Can't find a used 2006 Volkswagen Rabbits you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit?

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 Rabbit lease specials