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2009 Volkswagen Rabbit

Overview
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2009 Volkswagen Rabbit Review

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Despite a commonly-held belief that Americans don't like hatchbacks, the success of Volkswagen's Rabbit two and four-door models – as well as the recent success of the MINI Cooper, Mazda MAZDA3 and its own GTI – has prompted Volkswagen to retain the five-door hatchback as its bread and butter car. The 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit (previously known as the Golf) is VW's entry-level economy model, offering a number of upscale safety and convenience features, a frugal yet powerful five-cylinder engine and a roomy and versatile interior. Despite its hefty standard content, the Volkswagen Rabbit manages a sticker price that won't leave consumers hopping mad, which should have sales multiplying like, well, Rabbits.

You'll Like This Car If...

Tangible German lineage and an exceptionally high level of interior fit and finish for this price combine to make the Rabbit the most sophisticated sub-$17,000 vehicles on the road. Compact SUV-like versatility provides practical appeal.

You May Not Like This Car If...

While it's very much a German car from behind the wheel, the Rabbit isn't as much fun to drive as some of its competitors, particularly the Mazda MAZDA3. The MAZDA3 also offers features not available on the Rabbit, such as leather seats, on-board navigation and a Bose audio system.

What's New for 2009

Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is made standard on all models, while the five-speed manual is no longer available on the four-door. New standard equipment for the four-door Rabbit includes heated front seats, heated washer nozzles and a premium audio sound system with SIRIUS Satellite Radio.

Driving the Rabbit

Driving Impressions Despite its small size, there's a solid feel to the Rabbit and it delivers overall confidence in difficult driving situations. Nimble in city and country driving, it handles busy street...

corners and curvy rural lanes easily, thanks in part to the car's European-tuned suspension system and the responsive steering. Increased specifically for the U.S. market are ride height and tire sizes. The 2.5-liter, five-cylinder powerplant is well-suited to the American driving style, offers lots of torque off the line and requires less revving than the old 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. The five-speed manual transmission is not as enjoyable, however, with long throws and somewhat vague gear delineation. The automatic version is a better choice and shares nearly the same city/highway mileage as the manual. A fair amount of handling firmness reminds you of the Rabbit's German engineering, along with delivering the satisfaction of driving a small-outside, big-inside vehicle.

Heated Side Mirrors
You won't find them offered on the popular Mazda MAZDA3, but heated side mirrors are standard equipment on the Rabbit.

Five-Cylinder Engine
Shared with the Jetta and developed specifically for American driving styles, the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine delivers the quick response worthy of the Rabbit name.

2009 Volkswagen Rabbit Details
Interior

The spacious interior is the surprise here. With far more room than is apparent from the outside, the Rabbit can seat five as well as provide plenty of cargo space. The dash and center console are designed for compactness and ease of use, and nooks and crannies for storage abound. Nifty indicators include one for brake pad wear, and a fuel-cap seal warning to remind impatient drivers to tighten the cap properly. A passenger seat that folds flat and 60/40-split folding rear seats enhance versatility. Adjustable lumbar-support seats (four-door only) hold driver and passenger comfortably on sharp turns. The hatchback has an exceptionally large opening, and the pass-through on the four-door model can accommodate skis. If we could ask Volkswagen for one change, it would be to add steering-wheel audio controls, a feature offered on most Rabbit competitors.

Exterior
2009 Volkswagen Rabbit photo

Functional, practical and sporty design cues identify the 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit as a German hatchback that wastes no sheet metal or bodywork. The hood, headlamps and grille are integrated cleanly with the front bumper, the side panels and doors flow together smoothly and the rear couldn't be simpler. The slightly forward-leaning stance is emphasized by the narrowing side window line and the hatchback rear window. Toss in the available power sunroof and 16- or 17-inch wheel options, and the Rabbit makes one sporty economy car.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit's standard equipment list includes a five-speed manual transmission (six-speed automatic on the four-door), cruise control, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control, stability control, AM/FM stereo with single MP3-compatilbe CD player and auxiliary audio input jack (10-speaker Premium Audio with six-disc CD changer and SIRIUS Satellite Radio on four-door models), remote keyless entry, an anti-theft engine immobilizer system and a new high-tech electro-mechanical steering system. Comfort and safety equipment includes heated front seats and heated washer nozzles (four-door only), front and side airbags, Side-Curtain Protection, air conditioning, heated side mirrors, rear wiper/washer and a rear window defroster.

Optional Equipment

Options offered on the two-door model include the Cold Weather Package (heated seats and washer nozzles) and a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission. Available for both two- and four-door models are a power sunroof and 16-inch alloy wheels, while the four-door exclusively offers rear side thorax airbags.

Under the Hood

The recently-improved 2.5-liter is good for 170 horsepower, which is greater than most of the cars in its class. While the 2.5-liter delivers good off-the-line acceleration, its rather flat torque curve means the Rabbit's strong pulling power tends to lessen as the tachometer climbs. The independent rear suspension helps the Rabbit keep a grip on the road, as do the anti-lock braking and electronic stability and traction control systems.

2.5-liter in-line 5
170 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 (manual), 20/29 (automatic)

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2009 Volkswagen Rabbit Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 199 Ratings for the 2006 - 2009 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.3/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

Love my Rabbit!

By on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Has great pick up with the 5 cylinder and sporty."

Cons: "NONE"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought my Rabbit brand new and absolutely LOVE it! I have had 0 problems with it. The Rabbit is a 10 because it is a reliable, great quality car with tons of options. I also LOVE my heated seats and mirrors! I am glad I got the cold weather package. The look is sporty and sleek. My Rabbit is a 2 door and can comfortably seat 5 adults which is amazing! I think from now on I am going to have to own a hatchback because of the ease to get things into the trunk. This is my 2nd VW and will continue buying Volkswagens because of the quality and engineering!"

Buyer beware!

By on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
4/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "back seat folds down - great storage"

Cons: "the car itself!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"We bought a 2009 Voltzwagen Rabbit and now at 72K miles we need a new engine. We have had some minor issues but nothing like this. This is our very first Voltswagen and we bought it because of consumer reports and people saying how wonderful it is. This car has been a nightmare!! If we want to get it fixed it will cost around 10K. In no way, would we recommend buying a Voltswagen."

A great and reliable vehichle

By on Friday, August 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 96,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Cons: "The seats could use improvements"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"It has been a joy owning this vehichle. Very little maintence and drives like a go cart with get up."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Fun to drive, moves right along...

By on Sunday, May 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "CPO = good value/price, yup, picks up and moves"

Cons: "german overengineering"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"first time German car owner when you need a key made, chu ching ... spacious backseat, plenty front leg room Yup, moves right along and then some. don't want the issues that come with turbo's, not yet anyway."

8 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Second Rabbit- Just as great

By on Sunday, May 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 89,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Solid, substantial interior, fast, reliable"

Cons: "Heating/AC quality"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Bought my first Rabbit when they first came out. Have had my 2008 for 6 years. It's solid..feels like you're driving a bigger vehicle. Lot's of interior room. I'm tall but don't feel hemmed in and lots of passenger room and/or storage area when you put the back seats down. I've had no major repairs needed or done. I had the heating/AC looked at when the car was in for the last service because it was taking forever to heat up. They "fixed" it but it didn't last and now summer is here and I have no AC. Other than that, no issues. It started on days that were -30 C- never once did it not start. It goes like snot, handles well. Great little car."

love this car

By on Friday, March 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "all good"

Cons: "always needs bulbs.. turn signal, brake"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"the only problem i have with this car, is it seems as if i am always replacing blinker bulbs, brake light bulbs.. its always bulbs, bulbs, bulbs.. but it is still a wonderful car."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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