TO THE POINTWhat’s New? The 2006 VW Rabbit is all new, replacing the Golf as the entry model in the lineup. Choose between a three- or five-door hatchback in a single trim. Selling Points: Fun to drive, front comfort, quality materials, useful utility, low-emission engine, top-notch safety equipment Deal Breakers: Unimpressive fuel economy, unimpressive acceleration Our Advice: Despite the Rabbit’s wholesome goodness, the Ford Focus and Mazda 3 are strong alternatives to consider unless you must have a Vee-Dub badge.
SpecificationsVolkswagen says the Rabbit gets a four-star frontal and five-star side-impact crash-test rating from the NHTSA.
Test Vehicle: 2006 Volkswagen Rabbit five-door Base Price: $17,620 (including the $630 destination charge) Engine Size and Type: 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder Engine Horsepower: 150 at 5,000 rpm Engine Torque: 170 lb.-ft. at 3,750 rpm Transmission: Five-speed manual (standard); six-speed automatic (optional) Curb weight, lbs.: 3,071 (manual); 3,173 (automatic) EPA Fuel Economy (city/highway): 22/30 mpg (both transmissions) Observed Fuel Economy: 19.4 mpg Wheelbase: 101.5 inches Length: 165.8 inches Width: 69.3 inches Height: 58.2 inches Head room (front/rear): 39.3/38.5 inches Leg room (front/rear): 41.2/35.3 inches Max. Seating Capacity: Five Max. Cargo Volume: 15 cu.-ft. (behind rear seats); 46 cu.-ft. Competitors: Chevrolet HHR Chrysler PT Cruiser Dodge Caliber Ford Focus Honda Fit Hyundai Elantra Kia Spectra5 Mazda 3 Mini Cooper Nissan Versa Scion xB Pontiac Vibe Suzuki SX4
Toyota Matrix Toyota Yaris
Photos courtesy of Volkswagen
About Sue Mead Sue Mead works as a photojournalist and features writer for more than two dozen publications. She has written for Parade, Popular Science, Open Road, the Road & Track Buyers Guide, Men's Journal, Popular Mechanics and Diversion and she has worked as an auto editor for CNN/fn. Sue has co-driven in two of the world's toughest off-road races, the Baja 1000 and the Paris-Dakar Raid. She attended four Camel Trophy adventures for Land Rover North America and has participated in several long-distance adventure drives. She recently completed her first book, "Monster Trucks and Tractors" published by Chelsea House. Sue lives in New England.