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The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Posted by marita40 (My Page) on
Thu, Apr 13, 06 at 18:33

I really like my old Golf--it has been a zippy, gas efficient, about-town car. It is more than 12 years old, though, so I'm thinking about a new one this year. I just found out about the new generation of redesigned Golfs coming to the U.S. this summer (now renamed Rabbit) but I can't find much information yet. Besides cosmetic changes, does anyone know what else has changed?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Oh, a whole bunch. On the plus side, the car is somewhat bigger (inside and out); is considerably safer (airbags all over, seat-belt tensioners, available telematics); has many more features (they all come with power windows and locks now, and there are some neat features like a steel sill on the hatch opening, there are 12V power outlets in the hatch area); has more power (base engine will be a 2-liter five-cylinder); and is built better (VW/Audi interiors are among the best in the business).

On the down side, the car is much heavier ('cuz it's bigger and strong and it has more features); doesn't get quite the same mileage; is more complex because of all the features (more to fix and electrical things just aren't the strong suit of German car manufacturers); and is sold by VW dealers (who, IME, are quite hit-and-miss and not customer-oriented). I also believe VW itself got distracted trying to sell high-buck vehicles (like $40,000 Passats and $70,000 Phaetons) before their market was ready to accept them and neglected their bread-and-butter vehicles.

I've been driving VWs for the last 20 years or so. Honestly, I wish they'd go back to the sturdy, simple, fun-to-drive cars they used to make. I'm driving a Jetta Wagon turbodiesel now and I love the car. You'd never know it was a diesel. But this car is almost too nice to toss plants into the back for fear the mud will stain the carpet, and it leans a lot more in curves than I remember from previous VWs. I would have been just as happy winding up my own windows and feeling the road more.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)??

Oh, where did you hear that they were going back to the Rabbit name? Odd that they changed the name to Golf to match the rest of the world and now they want to change it back to Rabbit...


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

It would be wise if the auto-makers were to listen to their customers, now I fear this will never happen.

Greed rules the day, VW is busy pricing them selves out of the market and allowing their dealers to run amok....Yet, for the most part, they do make one excellent vehicle(with the Diesel engine,of course)...
I miss the days of the old 111 and 113, type 2 and 3, then the unlamented 4..

VW should not be doing any name changing, but they should bring back control of their dealers and fix what is wrong (electrical QC)..
The same applies to GM and Ford..


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

According to an Autoweek article Golf sales have tanked and they think by renaming it the Rabbit it will hit a nostalgic nerve and get people who have fond memories to buy one again. The only problem is the reason sales have tanked is because Americans don't particularly care for hatchbacks anymore,due to the excess road noise, and the spotty quality of VWs made in Meh-hee-ko doesn't even approach the reliability of the cars that were assembled in Germany!A lower base price of $15,600 might help a little,but how many 'base' models are on the lot these days anymore? At this end of the market,VW would be better served to bring it's micro-sized Polo model to the U.S. rather than to focus on a model whose salad days in this country seem to be at an end.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

One of the reasons I've had a string of Golfs, and before that a Rabbit, is the hatchback. I absolutely require a hatch--it holds so much, including my x-country skis, bike, you name it! Although I really know nothing about it, I do agree about the poor marketing, at least in the U.S. My VW dealer (who I've used for years and like and trust)doesn't know when they'll get the new cars and has no advertising material to put in my hands. What kind of advance marketing strategy is that?


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

That's no marketing strategy at all and typical of VW these days! I used to always buy VWs,had a couple of bugs,a Squareback,Scirocco,and a Fox which turned me off that brand forever!Built in Brazil,the Fox was the biggest piece of junk I ever owned! The horn would beep when you turned the key to start the car,overheating was a constant problem,the front brake pads wore out fast,and when the exhaust system melted the rubber rear brake line and the pedal went to the floor(luckily I was slowing for a stoplight at the time),I dumped the POS! It was all of 4 years old with 58K miles at the time.Never again VW,sell that south of the border built junk to other sucker gringos!


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

I've had many VWs over the years and I agree with what's been said here...especially about the fox....I think that was VW's last attempt at a spartan car. The demand for such a vehicle was there, but people don't want a car that rides like a tank and has fading paint w/peeling clearcoat:) VW has completely alienated their core customer base with lousy qc, cars that look like Toyotas and dealers that range from surly and incompetent to wonderful. And let's not forget the coil fiasco....

That said, I did purchase a new passat a year and a half ago. But it was the only car out there that had everything I wanted for what I wanted to spend. I wanted a very safe family sedan with good gas mileage, a manual transmission and AWD for under 20K. A legacy was 10K more. I didn't even know about all the problems they were having until after I bought it. But the only problem I've had in 25K miles is a broken fuel filler door. But from what I understand, it's a crap shoot. It's fun to drive for a family sedan and I can do a lot of work on it for 10K....


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

According to an Autoweek article Golf sales have tanked and they think by renaming it the Rabbit it will hit a nostalgic nerve and get people who have fond memories to buy one again.

What are they smoking over at VW headquarters? I loved driving my Rabbit GTI, but I hated having to fix the same things over and over. And why would someone who had a Rabbit at 25 and liked it (however many of those people there are) be tempted to buy another entry-level car with the same name at the age of 45? I just don't get it.

The only problem is the reason sales have tanked is because Americans don't particularly care for hatchbacks anymore,due to the excess road noise, and the spotty quality of VWs made in Meh-hee-ko doesn't even approach the reliability of the cars that were assembled in Germany!A lower base price of $15,600 might help a little,but how many 'base' models are on the lot these days anymore? At this end of the market,VW would be better served to bring it's micro-sized Polo model to the U.S. rather than to focus on a model whose salad days in this country seem to be at an end.

It's interesting that there seems to be a resurgence of hatchbacks in the U.S. market now. Chevy's Malibu Maxx is selling well and any number of companies are selling station wagons that don't look like wagons (seriously, except for the trim level, how different is the Dodge Magnum from a hatchback?). The new Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, and Nissan Versa all come in hatchback models. And that, IMHO, is where VW's main trouble with the Golf/Rabbit lies: these new entry-level models -- along with cars like the Kia Spectra and Hyundai Accent -- are decently-equipped and well-built. They're pretty stiff competition and I'm not sure VW will be able to sell the Golf/Rabbit's safety and "German engineering" (whatever that buys anymore) at its price with that kind of competition.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

valtog- The Passat is still built in Germany,which is probably why it's still a reliable machine.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

steve o, I appreciate the information you gave. You seem quite in the know, so let me ask you: which would you lean toward--VW Rabbit, Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, or Scion Xa? I'll probably research several of these (the Scion looks especially interesting). I do pretty much exclusively in-town driving, and I want something safe and relatively stable on the road. The cute factor is also important :)

Although people seem to either love or hate Volkswagon, I have to say that I've really liked my Golf. Its been completely reliable and is still fun to drive.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

The new-generation Jetta and GTI are already for sale, and between them you can interpolate and figure out what the new Rabbit will be like. The GTI's cargo area is the same as the Rabbit's will be, and the Jetta's seats are similar. Both cars have the same basic dash and door panels.

For years I've thought VW should revive the Rabbit name, but I didn't actually think they were going to do it. The Rabbit (called Golf outside of N. America) was considered the standard setter for small cars for most of its 10-year run; it sold much better than the later Golfs ever did.

Although the name change to Golf was supposedly part of VW's plan not to rename their cars for the American market, they've already violated that plan for the Jetta, which long ago became the Vento and more recently the Bora in Europe. The Jetta became VW's best seller in the U.S. though, so they stuck with the old name here. They renamed their minivan the Eurovan in the U.S., which evidently did little to help sales.

Anyone remember the Dasher? That was the first-generation Passat in most of the world. The second generation was renamed the Quantum for the U.S. The third generation and later became the Passat here as well. The Passat became popular in recent years, so I doubt they'll revert to Dasher, which I always thought sounded more like a reindeer than a car.

I don't know where this notion that Americans don't like hatchbacks came from. Americans don't like boring hatchbacks, like the "econo-boxes" that flooded the market in the 1980s. But make it stylish and hatchbacks sell fine. The Beetle is a hatchback. So are the Mini Cooper, the Acura RSX/Integra, the Toyota Prius, the Scion tC, just to name a few, and all of them are very popular and coveted.

I haven't driven or even seen a Yaris, Versa, or Fit yet. The Mazda3 hatchback is worth a look too; even the revamped Kia Rio5 is supposed to be pretty good. I've sat in a Yaris 4-door sedan, but the 2-door hatchback is a substantially different car and looks quite interesting (the 4-door hatch isn't being sold in the U.S., although Canada might get it). The Versa looks interesting; the Fit (which has been on sale for a few years in other countries) is a good car although I don't care for its appearance. The Rabbit should be good too, although pricier than the Asian brands.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

That's a tough one. Everyone has their priorities. One of mine is safety. I have seen pictures of some horrible accidents in which the occupants of the Golf/Jetta/Beetle (same platform) walked away without serious injury. It peeves me that companies like Toyota will charge extra for things like side-curtain airbags or traction control.

The Scion is the only car you mentioned besides the Golf that has been crash-tested by the NHTSA and IIHS; the Golf comes out marginally ahead of the Scion. That's not to say the Scion is unsafe or that the new Rabbit body will show different results. I'm also aware that the NHTSA test, in particular, has been out there long enough for manufacturers to design to pass it; it's due for an update. But, for me, it's a standard of comparison and another point in the VW's favor.

A point against the VW is that I believe Honda and Toyota (which includes Scion) have the processes in place to launch a new car which does not need numerous fixes as soon as the general public starts using it. This is less of a concern with the Rabbit, as it is a model that VW has been making in Europe for three years now. But the Japanese manufacturers definitely have the edge on the quality of every little bit and piece, especially on a first-year model.

Another wild card here is that the Golf actually is a size and price class above the Fit/Versa/xA/Yaris. VW does not import into North America the car (the Polo) that it sells in this size/price class. Something to keep in mind as you test.

Hope that helps....


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

The Jetta sedan is basically a Golf with a trunk and routinely outsells the hatchback Golf year after year after year in the U.S.If that doesn't show a preference for sedans over hatchbacks,I don't know what does! I'd also like to see the sales figures for other models offered in the U.S. in both HB and sedan configurations,which I'm sure would show a preference for cars with a trunk.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

I think V Dub is trying to save money on the lower end cars because they're throwing all their extra cash at their new Bently Flying Spur sedan. Whoda thunk of a W12 twin turbo Volkswagen engine??? But the 4 door DOES do 195 MPH!


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

You can get a detuned version of that same V12 in the VW Phaeton (and in some markets, the Touareg) for half the price, the the Audi A8 for a bit more.

The last time the Golf was called the Rabbit here, the hatchback Rabbit outsold the Jetta sedans. I think that's why they're reverting to the Rabbit name - the Golf never became as well known here. There are some other cars available as both hatchbacks and sedans where the hatchbacks sold better - the Acura Integra hatch way outsold the sedan, which is why when they replaced it with the RSX a few years ago, they didn't bother with a sedan version.

The Jetta does great in crash tests, which bodes well for the similar Rabbit.

Although the Rabbit is considered one price/class size above the Yaris/Xa/Fit/Versa/etc., it still starts at only $14,990, and that includes A/C, antilock brakes, traction control, front/side airbags, anti-theft alarm with remote locking, and a 5-cylinder 150hp engine. Add these options to the lower-priced cars (if they're even available) and there's not much price difference.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

You can get a detuned version of that same V12 in the VW Phaeton (and in some markets, the Touareg) for half the price, the the Audi A8 for a bit more.

Well, the Phaeton has been euthanized in North America, so people with a real jones for that V12 will have to look for an A8 or the Bentley.

The last time the Golf was called the Rabbit here, the hatchback Rabbit outsold the Jetta sedans. I think that's why they're reverting to the Rabbit name - the Golf never became as well known here. There are some other cars available as both hatchbacks and sedans where the hatchbacks sold better - the Acura Integra hatch way outsold the sedan, which is why when they replaced it with the RSX a few years ago, they didn't bother with a sedan version.

In fairness, the Rabbit was sold in the U.S. for five years before the Jetta hit these shores. It seems bigger cars don't sell as well in hatchback form: GM's old X-cars didn't seem to sell well as hatchbacks; SAAB experienced the same thing. It would be interesting to learn if the Subaru Impreza sells better as a hatch or a sedan. One of the complications is that, generally, the hatchback is a cheaper model, so it's hard to tell if people buy hatchbacks because they're less expensive or they actually prefer the utility or styling.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

I was referring to the years that both the Rabbit and Jetta were sold here (I thought the Jetta started around 1978, which only would have been 3 years after the Rabbit, but I don't remember all that well). The GM X-cars, hatchbacks and notchbacks alike, sold great for the first 2 or 3 years, then their sales plunged to a trickle because they were disastrously unreliable (actually, many of the bugs were worked out by then, but their reputation was shot, and by that time new competition (Camry, revamped Accord and 626, Chrysler's K-cars, and GM's own J and A lines) intruded heavily. Large, upscale hatchbacks indeed sold poorly even in the 1980s when small hatchbacks were popular; however, most of them were from oddball brands (remember the Merkur Scorpio or Rover Sterling?) that weren't well established. I wonder if Cadillac or Lincoln could have popularized luxury hatchbacks. Note that today, with most upscale brands offering a crossover utility that resembles a tall wagon (Cadillac SRX for example), the popular Lexus RX330 (now RX350) and RX400h look more like a tall hatchback than a tall wagon. To a lesser extent, the Infiniti FX35/45 looks like an overgrown hatchback too.

I think VW really botched the marketing of the Phaeton here - not offering the short-wheelbase, FWD, V6 versions to provide some lower-priced models to bridge the huge price gap from the Passat - $30K is way too big a price jump between them. VW still intends to sell the next-gen Phaeton in the U.S., which is rumored to have more coupe-like styling like the Benz CLS.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Hatchback models do seem to sell for a few new model years in the U.S. -then sales peter out and they are dropped.No more Civic hatch,no more Celica and rumor has it that 2007 will be the last year for the RSX.Cars with 4 doors like the Fit,Matrix,Mazda 3,Scion XA,Malibu Maxx and other 4 door models are more wagons than 2 door hatches with fastback rear styling.Also the BMW hatchback and the Mercedes hatch didn't sell in this country either.

Which is why I believe VW should just sell the Jetta here and the hatch only in GTI form,with the entry level Polo being their base car.Changing the name back to Rabbit is kind of like saying "We don't have a clue as to why this car isn't selling here,how about a name change?" Duhhhh!


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Rover Sterling

Ah, yes. The best of Japanese styling and British electronics and build quality! :-p

And people wonder why they don't see 'em on the roads anymore ...

nine7xbam mentioned a few other hatchbacks that failed to make the cut, and reminded me of the Mazda 626, which was a hatchback for a few years and then went sedan-only.

And, lee676, I agree that VW totally botched selling the Phaeton here. It doesn't sell well anywhere, but trying to move VW buyers to cars costing close to six figures, without much differentiation of the car besides requiring a different showroom layout and dedicated sales and service staff, was a goofy idea. Interesting that Toyota, Nissan, and Honda all thought it was worth introducing separate brands -- which at least put the vehicles in a different mind place for most buyers.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Rover and MG kicked the bucket last year for good. I agree that VW needs a few luxury cars and trucks in their stable to effectively compete with DC and BMW, both who have recently been encroaching on VW's traditional core markets with the 1-series, A-class, and Mini (although only the latter has hit the U.S. market yet). Buyers of Jettas GLIs can drive across to the next dealer and find they can buy a BMW or a Benz for the same price as a Vee-Dub, and go with the Bimmer instead, nevermind that VW's engineering superfulousy is on a level with the the two German companies. Sure, VW gets some indirect credit from bring forth the Audi and Bentley makes, but the notion that Bimmers and Benzes are higher-class cars won't fade until there are very upscale vehicles competing in the upper ranges that say "Volkswagen" on them.

I'm old enough to remember when BMW was synonymous with Isetta econo-mini cars. Even the later 2002 2-door sport sedans weren't thought of as a luxury product.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

To quote Nine7xbam................At this end of the market,VW would be better served to bring it's micro-sized Polo model to the U.S. rather than to focus on a model whose salad days in this country seem to be at an end.

The Polo is a normal sized 3 to 4 passenger vehicle - "micro ?? NO..
With space running out in places and gas at $3.00 and rising - probably in a few years the world-wide gas price will all be about the same ($6.00 ?)or $1.50 per liter.

But I agree, VW has much to learn about marketing motor vehicles and well as QC and quality..

Changing a name is at best a cover-up, which will not work.
Another thing about the hatchback, I doubt if it is any cheaper than a sedan to manufacture.. - but there is more profit in a sedan - the reason for the Jetta in the first place..
I'd think Americans will buy hatchbacks, but they cannot be too cheap, or poorly designed..
When used as a hatch, with the seats folded(better removed), the road noise did increase a little - but so what ??
The VW was never a Cadillac or a Mercedes...
Then why the Phaeton ?? VW seems not to know the first thing about marketing a vehicle, but they can design a good one..
Also, having owned some German built/designed vehicles, I am NOT generally impressed..

Japan must be studied, and studied long and hard - I think they know things we may never learn..


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

I've seen more than one article in car mags describing the VW Polo as a micro car,but I never realized it was so expensive(article link below)! If they can't get the price down to compete with the Honda Fit or Scion XA,then there's no point in bringing it here.

Here is a link that might be useful: VW Polo


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

I see that it's an Australian site (.au), is the price in US or Aussie denomination? Seems steep to me. Anyway, I see tons of Focus ZX3's and ZX5's running around, among the others mentioned, so it doesn't look like hatchbacks are all that unpopular.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Well, I like the name change! "Golf" has always been strange for the American market. I understand that the word "Rabbit" will not appear on the vehicle, but the cute little running bunny logo will. Hey, I'm all for the cute factor:) Silly wabbit! I've been puzzling about the Honda "Fit" name--it is supposed to make us all feel slender, sporty, and healthy?

Anyway, I'm researching other small cars but keep gravitating back to VW. . .


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

The Honda Fit was reveiwed by Motorweek last weekend and praised for it's fuel economy and rear 'Magic Seat' which can combine with the front seat to create a large recliner.When gas prices soar way over $3 per gallon this summer,the Fit will be flying off the lot! Cute is as bad a reason as I've ever heard to buy a car and the the sun would fall out of the sky before I'd ever buy anything slapped together in Meh-hee-ko,no matter the make,model or name! But hey,it's your money to throw away.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

the sun would fall out of the sky before I'd ever buy anything slapped together in Meh-hee-ko,no matter the make,model or name! But hey,it's your money to throw away.

To each their own. But being built in "Meh-hee-ko" is not the reason cars may be of lower quality. It all boils down to management and whether they give a flying leap about quality.

How is it that Honda and Toyota can build cars good enough to sell to Japan -- in the U.S.? My ex once owned a Mercury Tracer (badge-engineered Mazda 323 built in Mexico) and it served us well for years. VW can have quality problems whether the car is built in Germany, Mexico, Brazil, or Slovakia -- without the culture in place that encourages everyone to stop poor quality where they see it (a la Toyota), things will not improve to the level they must.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

I've heard Toyota will be producing some of their Tacomas south of the border,it will be interesting to see what the quality of those will be,not that I would buy one made there(I wouldn't).From what I have read about VW it's also their suppliers like Bosch that have slipped in quality.My own experience with outdoor power equipment and electronic equipment now made in Mexico has not been good!All were cheap junk that broke quickly with normal use and one company,McCulloch went bankrupt and out of business because of that.I recently went shopping for a Hi Def TV and was told that old brands like RCA and Zenith are now made in Mexico and are junk now-by every single electronics store ,even the ones that carried those brands. So nothing made in Meh-hee-ko for me amigo!


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Like I said, to each their own. My experience with Mexican products has been different. It's interesting that RCA was purchased by the French company Thompson and Zenith merged with Korea's LG (Lucky Goldstar), so they already were sold to multinationals before manufacturing moved to Mexico. FWIW, all of the old names in TVs are just badges anymore: RCA, Zenith, GE, Curtis-Mathes, Dumont, ... They're all just names with no resemblance to the brands they were. Makes it even tougher for a "buy-American" type. Oh, well. Enough OT.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

I don't really care what they call it but I do think they would sell lots more Golf/Rabbit's if they would bring the AWD one to the states. I thnik they won't because they don't want to compete with their Audi's.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

For you who really dislike VW, can you give specifics on the flaws of the Golf--not just the marketing practices of Volkswagon or where they are made? I find a lot of generalities out there from unhappy consumers about the company, but little on exactly what is wrong with the cars themselves. As mentioned above I had a Rabbit, then two Golfs in a row and had no problem--at all--with any of them. However, I'm now in the position of buying my first new car (!) and I really want to make an informed decision. Personally, I could care less where they are made than how they perform. Thanks.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

I was thinking of buying a new Jetta a few years ago and I do like VWs,but after researching them and talking to owners of the newer VWs I decided against it.Go to the VW forums at edmunds.com or Car Survey or the reviews at Car Talk to see firsthand the experience of VW owners.But I doubt that will change your mind as it seems to be already made up.If you're not going to research the car at least research the dealers as horrors stories abound about crappy VW dealers too!

Here is a link that might be useful: Car Survey


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

nine7xbam, as I stated I am thoroughly researching the car--the Golf VW as well as at least 4 others. That's why I'm asking for specifics. Edmunds rates the Golf high, and I have a great VW dealer here in the Twin cities. What did you find about the Jetta, specifically, that turned you away from it?


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Five years ago when was looking for my first new car since 91, I researched the Jetta and I saw problems like oil leaks,broken sunroofs,electrical problems,broken door handles and much more on the internet forums.Too bad,I thought VW had gotten their act together since my bad experience with the Fox.Nothing quite like the growl of that revving VW engine,but after being spoiled by Hondas and Toyotas I got used to basically trouble free vehicles and couldn't see putting up with all the grief,especially on a new car.Even my Scirroco had it's quirks,with the heater hoses rotting away in 8 years,CVC axle bearings needing replacement at around 90K miles and cooling fan thermostats needing periodic replacement.

I had decided on a Toyota Celica,but found the interior cramped with little headroom.I ended up with a 2003 Matrix XR 5 speed ,bought in Feb 02 with more headroom than my truck! Over the past 4 years I've had a mirror replaced(day/night tab snapped in zero degree weather)and a daytime driving light sensor replaced also-both under warranty.That's it zero problems other than that and a steady 30-34 mpg average.I'd recommend the Corolla Matrix to anyone,but if the Honda Fit were around then with it's standard side airbags,roomy interior(haven't seen one yet,but that's what they say) and 38 mpg highway rating,I might have to rethink my choice!To me the best value for my dollar is found in a Toyota or Honda.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Thanks. I am definitely going to look at the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris--as soon as I can find them in this area.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

FWIW, my '03 Jetta Wagon has seen the following unscheduled service in 35,000 miles:

- Rear shock died right away, was replaced under warranty.

- Cabin fan just -- stopped. Dealer found that a wire had shorted itself. The wire was replaced but wasn't crimped on quite right, so after about 100 miles, fan no workie again. This time it was fixed correctly.

- Both driver's-side (power) windows have this intermittent but annoying habit of "bouncing" when you raise them all the way up the first time. Never the second or third time; just the first. Sometimes. The dealer took the doors apart and noticed that the plastic window clips which cost VW a bundle of ill will and a recall/extended warranty a couple of years earlier were still present on this '03 model (Toyota would have melted down the bad parts and done something else with them; VW keeps 'em in the parts bin). Dealer replaced all the clips with the metal ones. Says the windows bounce because of "dirt in the track." I find it curious that "dirt" never finds its way to the passenger side of the car, nor does "dirt" ever appear after the first time I make the window go up. That's lame, but I'm not going to win this one and I'm out of warranty and I have bigger things to worry about.

- Roof-mounted antenna base has a lousy design which allows road salt and water to oxidize the connections, causing poor FM reception and nonexistent AM reception. Replaced under warranty. I have no doubt it will fail again in three years. Either I'll learn how to clean up the antenna base or I'll just listen to my iPod and dispense with radio.

- Various squeaks and buzzes which migrate around the dashboard. Some days are utterly noiseless, other days it's annoying. Another losing proposition to hope the dealer will find the problem and fix it. Besides, my experience is that this car will have the same collection of squeaks and buzzes in ten years anyway, when everyone else's cars sound arthritic, too, so why worry?

And that is it. Granted, I take care of my car. Maybe I've just gotten used to VW and this seems normal or better. OTOH, I don't live in fear that my transmission will sludge up (hello, Toyota!) or that I'll be replacing the brakes every 20,000 miles (hi, Honda!). I fully expect to be driving this car -- intact -- in another 15 years unless life or some idiot in a Neon with bald tires forces a change.

What frustrates me with VW is that they are quite slow to pick up on opportunities to improve the quality of their cars. My '99.5 Jetta (first of the model year as my '03) had a slew of "they all do that" problems. Maybe it's just me, but I don't expect a car to be perfect forever -- it's a complex device which lives in a harsh environment (especially Minnesota). And my problems were no more than nuisances. But to find that problems which existed four years ago (antenna base, window clips) still exist tell me VW is not as serious about quality as they need to be to compete with companies like Toyota and Hyundai, which live and breathe continuous improvement.

Unfortunately, VWs are no longer so different from fun-to-drive Mazdas and such that customers will be willing to accept the relative lack of quality in exchange for a fun ride. And that spells trouble for VW. It's hard enough to compete in the $15,000-20,000 arena. When you want to start selling $40,000 and $60,000 cars and trucks, they'll be plain out of their league.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

VW has been selling $40K to $60K for years, it's just that they sold them only through their Audi division until recently. So they clearly can compete at that level. Their quality issues have hurt them though, as people who bought Passats five years ago learned they weren't as reliable as their old Honda or Toyota was. Unreliability is something even $15,000 car shoppers need not live with anymore. Although Mercedes-Benz has had even more glaring quality-control problems in recent years, falling to near the bottom in both the J.D. Power and CR surveys.

VW has revamped most of their lineup in the last two years; we'll see if their quality has improved.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

VW has revamped most of their lineup in the last two years; we'll see if their quality has improved.

The above from Lee................

Both the American and European car-makers must earn from the Japanese, thus far they seem to be reluctant... time will tell.
They must learn that changing names has nothing to do with quality and durability, rather they must rid themselves of management that clings to the past, that dis-respects the consumer, that thinks a problem will "go-away"...that quality can be advertised, but not necessarily implemented nor practiced..


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Steve_o, re: television brands, Motorola has also recently made a re-appearance (they have a marketing agreement with an Asian firm to sell their TV sets), as has Westinghouse (did they even make TVs in the old days?), Advent, KLH, and Sansui (old stereo companies whose brand names were bought out by little-known foreign companies), Sylvania (made by Funai now), Philco, and several others I'm forgetting about. Old brand names are traded around like currency now and often have no connection to the like-named companies that built their reputation. Quite often, the company originally associated with the brand name is long out of business, or long ago abandoned the consumer-electronics market.

I didn't realize the Dumont brand was still used on TV sets, I've never seen them. Although before my time, I better remember Dumont for their old TV network, which aired the popular "Captain Video" kid's show, as well as the first-ever TV sitcom ("Mary Kay and Johnny"), which established the groundwork for numerous followers like the similar "I Love Lucy", but unfortunately was aired live without being saved on film or kinescope (no videotape back then), so it could never be shown in reruns or sold on DVDs, and thus is undeservedly forgotten nowadays. Several old Dumont stations, including my local WTTG channel 5, eventually joined the Fox network when it started in the 1980s.

Incidentally, I checked out a Honda Fit last weekend and was suprisingly impressed. It looks better in real life than in pictures (especially in Sport trim in the light metallic colors), and there's loads of room inside, both in front and in back, with decent trunk space. The back seat folds completely flat, and the floor is very low for easy loading and more space. The rear seat cushions also can be folded against the backrest to make room for bikes and such. Good outward visibility, comfortable seats. Unlike the Toyota Yaris, you don't have to pay extra for side/side curtain airbags or antilock brakes. Haven't driven it yet though.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

I've heard some very good things about the Fit, though I haven't seen one in person. My only reservation with cars that size is how well it would fare against a Suburban or F-150. When I drove my Renault 5 I was acutely aware of how small it was.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

I believe there will be less and less huge SUVs and trucks on the road very soon the way gas prices are going these days.If you think small cars are dangerous,try a motorcycle! Nothing makes you more aware of what the other drivers intend to do than almost being ridden off the road a few times from inattentive drivers.It makes you a better driver-always watching out for the other guy and thinking ahead,it really does!


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

A quote from the resident BOZO ,(EARTHWORM).


earthworm wrote (My Page) on Tue, Apr 18, 06 at 11:36

"Japan must be studied, and studied long and hard - I think they know things we may never learn "

Hey Genious, where do you think they got most of thier ideas from in the first place ? Japan has ALWAYS copied others ideas, then take the credit for themselves. Kinda like you do on occasion !


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Genious? Whatever that means.Anyhow there is one American individual who took his ideas about quality to Japan in the early 1950s,American industry wanted nothing to do with him at that time,and his name is Dr.Edwards Deming.He brought his philosophy about quality not just to automobiles,but to all Japanese industry.And if you're as old as I am,you can remember when Made In Japan meant total crap!He is a revered legend in Japan and American industry eventually wised up and used his methods.Dr. Edwards Deming,truly a great and unheralded American!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dr. Edwards Deming


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Thank you, nine7Xbam, for the most interesting link. It seems as if the Japanese are the better listeners and know good advice when they see it.
Yes ! I do remember the Japanese junk from the 50s, but I think this was an aberration. I believe that their quality was always at a high level, they did put up quite the fight during WW II..
And now we must defeat them again, this time on an economic basis...
Funny thing about "total quality", it can be improved even if a paradigm has supposedly been reached..


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Too bad VW's quality isn't on par with vehicles that bear the Japanese name .I say that after sitting in a 06 VW GTI Mark V and being amazed at the comfort and leg room,best I've seen in a small car since my long legs had stretch out room in my 86 Celica!Also the interior materials are a step up from the cheap looking plastic interiors the Jap cars have been putting in their vehicles lately.I'm seriously thinking of selling my Matrix and buying this car(pending a test drive of course),which is made in Wolfsburg Germany BTW,not Mexico.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

The GTI is one sweet ride. But I preferred the older GTI -- I'd feel weird stuffing sick dogs and bedding plants into a current GTI; doing so didn't bother me at all in my old Rabbit GTI. It's not so much a Golf with whizzy parts anymore. That's both a good thing and a bad thing. :-p


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

The GTI Mark V is so new in the U.S. that there really aren't many owner reviews on edmunds forums or anywhere else right now except for one guy who bought a total lemon!It seems many are waiting for the four door version due out in a few months.I also like the new Civic SI,but it it doesn't have close to the interior room of the GTI and it's headroom is sparse with the sunroof.I like my Matrix,but I'm afraid the new car bug has bitten me.


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

Golf rebadge proves Rabbit didn't die

After two years of waiting and wondering, Canadians finally get a chance at the new Golf and it's not even a new Golf ... it's a new Rabbit.

The Rabbit was beaten to Canada by the new GTI, which will also carry its own identity rather than also tie it to the Golf (of which both are versions). A 5-door GTI is available as of July 2006.

It was 1984 when the Volkswagen Rabbit was last marketed in Canada to coincide with the change in Golf generations. The Golf has been one of the best-selling nameplates in history and will undoubtedly continue, since the Rabbit is simply a rebadge only for North America (as it was between 1975 and 1984).

The reason is that VW wanted to capture some of the nostalgia of the name, but in the process it also brings the car appeal to a younger audience.

VW Canada originally projected sales of 4,500 cars through to the end of the 2006, but is already adjusting its projections upwards under the knowledge of initial demand, and an aggressive lease strategy.

There are several exclusivities to Rabbit, including the 2.5-litre 5-cylinder engine that isn't available to Golf (but is also dropped into Jetta), and its being sourced out of Wolfsburg (most of Canada's Golfs were made in Mexico).

The engines continue to be sourced out of Mexico, which means they'll rack up the frequent flyer miles since they get shipped to Germany to be bolted in cars that then enter Canada through Halifax. VW Canada's Executive VP, John White says there is no import gains realized in relation to Free Trade.

Rabbit comes to Canada in 3-door and 5-door hatchback bodystyle, all powered by the 150-hp 2.5 20-valve inline-5. Power delivery to the front wheels is entrusted to 5-speed manual or an optional 6-speed automatic with Tiptronic sequential mode. That allows the automatic to actually attain better fuel economy, due to the extra gear and the capability to short-shift.

Both transaxles feature gears that take good advantage of the engine's power bands, meaning progressive acceleration. The manual's crisp shifter and smooth clutch make for very relaxed driving.

As with any VW, the cars are stocked with an abundance of safety assists, including anti-lock brakes, traction control (ASR, for anti-slip regulation), and electro-mechanical steering assist, which VW claims is nearly an active steering system.

A fully independent suspension grants a typically solid Golf ride, soaking up just about any severity of broken pavement. Handling is relatively stable and there isn't any reason to believe the new Rabbit won't adopt the Golf trait of lifting the rear inside wheel on tight, high-speed corners.

Standard equipment includes semi-automatic climate control (you can set the temperature and it the system will maintain it, but the fan speed and vent location are manual), power windows, locks and mirrors, height-adjustable driver's seat, active head restraints, and front side-impact airbags and full side curtain-airbags.

The 5-door Rabbit adds 8-way adjustable front seats, upgraded centre console with adjustable armrest, and a rear armrest with pass-through for the 60/40 split folding seatback.

Popular options include the 6-speed automatic, stability control (ESP), a power sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels, rear side-impact airbags (5-door only), in-dash 6-CD changer, and heated front seats and washer nozzles. An iPod plug-in is available later in 2006.

http://www.autonet.ca/Spotlight/NewModels/story.cfm?story=/Spotlight/NewModels/2006/06/15/1634865.html


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RE: The New VW Rabbit (Golf)

the good things about VW:
1. safety first. they are heavy for a reason. and it comes in handy if you are ever in an accident. plus they come with lots of air bags, ABS, and restraint system, and TPMS. opt for the ESP too!
2. 4 year, 50,000 mile basic new car warranty. everyone else offers 3 years/36,000 miles mostly.
3. although increasingly electronic and complicated systems are in your vehicle, in between service appts, all you need to do is check your tire pressure, oil level, and fill up with fuel.

i had a fox (93 wolfsburg edition) and it never gave me a problem! i owned it for about 2.5 years and put about 43,000 miles on it! i always had a great time driving it and enjoyed my first VW.

now i own an 04 jetta wagon diesel - like steve.

the negative things that hurt VW in the USA are:
1. difficult customer service when servicing your vehicle. often times, it is hard to get your vehicle warranty honored. (coming from Honda, there is a difference in customer service and how warranty work is handled).
2. more expensive oil changes but longer intervals in doing them. so it kinda breaks even.
3. even though VWs are supposed to be low maintenance vehicles like they were in the 70s, they do require a bit more 'owner' handling. yeah, they drive great but don't beat the VW to death....just because it has 200 hp and lots of torque don't mean it's a race car....do you get my drift.

yes, VWs have negative reputations here in the USA. there is no difference in what you are getting from a german made and mexican made VW. same parts, same service department you will use, same warranty in effect.

however, there are some great dealer/service departments out there and when you can be lucky to find one, you can be very lucky to have a great VW vehicle ownership experience.

i am loving my VW. and would not hesitate to get another VW - just as long as it isn't a first or second year production of a generation cycle.

for more information on VW, check out:
www.vw.com
www.vwvortex.com
www.myvwlemon.com
www.edmunds.com
www.epinions.com


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