Used 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit Hatchback Consumer Reviews
This car is not an economy car but very versatile. Fun to drive. Decent horse power. Very reliable. Only one problem was considered abnormal is the seal gasket of the vacuum pump was leaking. Dealer wants $400 for the vacuum pump but only the seal O ring needed replacement (found it online for $40). Replaced both front axles due to normal wear. Replaced all belts, which is a normal maintenance. Other than those mentioned, everything is pretty much original.
Great car, easy to handle, good in snow with Nokian snow tires on it, very good on gas. Bought it with 60 k miles. Now at 122 k with no repairs. Tires, oil, filters i.e. maintenance only. A couple of bulbs changed. That's all. Used to drive VW Passats, earlier with no major problems. The single issue is Check engine light which is turning on and off by itself. If you want a good VW buy one built in Germany.
This body style is now called the Golf, but a decade ago it was called a Rabbit. I liked the car, and it put up with a lot of careless use. I use my cars for short hops, pickup truck-like hauling, and 2000 mile cross-country trips. I do NOT baby them, and the Rabbit took it all like a champ. Buyers should be cautious to make sure they are happy with the fit of the driver's seat with respect to the controls, because I experienced a tendency to find myself feeling off-center on long trips. That is, I didn't feel I was sitting directly in line with the middle of the steering wheel. I think that was because of a combination of leg length and the rather tight console tunnel placement. This is designed as an inexpensive VW, so don't expect the best of anything - but I am sure that today's Golf offers some improvements over the rudimentary radio/CD player the Rabbit came with. The big attraction back then was the Electronic Stability package, which VW was the first to offer at this price point - and that worked great! If you are a believer in dealer servicing, be prepared for high routine maintenance costs, and be aware you cannot even change the air filter on this car yourself. My particular car had a few gremlins in it: the cruise control would sometimes not come on unless I re-booted the car...and I was never sure whether my interval wipers were stopping because the German engineers wanted them to, or because a gremlin wanted them to. (It didn't make much sense to me that I didn't need a clear windshield if I was stopped at a traffic light, but they quit working nonetheless.) I considered these all to be minor annoyances, though. The plastic frame that supports the radiators, headlights and sheet metal at the front end of the car can be broken in very minor collisions or road debris encounters. That's an expensive fix, and constitutes a real design flaw. But I suppose other cars of this type have similar drawbacks. The hatchback would admit an insane amount of cargo, and the car handled great in deep snow as well as deep water and misty-slick pavement. No engine issues at all. Tranny required work after 105K of hard use.
I have 90,000 miles on my car and it has been by far one of the best purchases I have ever made. The car starts without hesitation, stops on a dime, and has great pick up. VW offers a fairly comprehensive warranty and tends to repair certain items out of "goodwill" even when out of warranty. I never take my car to the dealer(unless it a recall) and have learned how to do every maintenance or repair on my own through the various forums that VW enthusiast keep up to date. This has helped keep my costs down while being able to own a safe German designed foreign car. For those without the ability to work on their own VW I would recommend checking out the prices for services in your local area.
The Rabbit is fun to drive and inexpensive to purchase. Handling is very good. Acceleration from the 170 horse 5 cylinder is vastly better than the approx 120 horsepower and 4 cylinders of most cars at this price point. Interior space is good compared to the small exterior. From its price and size you might think it is an economy car but it is not. Gas mileage is poor (pathetic 22 MPH after 4 tanks). Dependability ratings are not nearly as good as an Asian car either. If you think of it as an inexpensive sports car you will be happy, if you think of it as something in the class of a bullet proof Honda or Toyota you may be disappointed. Overall I am neither very happy or unhappy with it.