2002 Volkswagen Cabrio

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2002 Volkswagen Cabrio

Key specs

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3 trims

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2002 Volkswagen Cabrio review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
Except for an on-off switch for the self-dimming mirror, and a new trunk escape handle, little is new for 2002 on Volkswagen’s convertible. The Cabrio has been offered in its current form since 1995, and three versions are available: the base GL, with a manual vinyl folding top and manually operated windows and mirrors; the midlevel GLS, with a manual cloth top, heated seats, and power windows and mirrors; and the top-of-the-line GLX, with a power-operated cloth top and leather seats. Based on the prior-generation Golf and Jetta, the front-drive Cabrio uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. An automatic transmission is the only major option.

Even though the Cabrio hasn’t changed much, Volkswagen has revised its warranty. Instead of the prior two-year/24,000-mile basic coverage and limited 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, VW now offers bumper-to-bumper coverage for four years or 50,000 miles. Wear-and-tear items and adjustments are covered for one year or 12,000 miles. Fully transferable powertrain coverage is for five years or 60,000 miles, and roadside assistance, previously limited to two years, is now for four years or 50,000 miles.

The Cabrio is lushly rounded in appearance and has a more rigid structure than some convertibles; this is due in part to a fixed roll bar over the interior that helps to stiffen the body. The overall length is 160.4 inches — less than an inch shorter than Volkswagen’s New Beetle. The Cabrio is 56 inches tall on a 97.4-inch wheelbase.

The Cabrio can seat four occupants. Its front seats are roomy for adults, but passengers in the two-place rear seat are more likely to feel cramped — though it’s not the worst among convertibles by any means. Cargo space is limited to 8 cubic feet, which makes traveling light mandatory. The rear seatback folds down but provides only a modest increase in usable storage capacity.

The manual folding top is easy to raise and lower, so power operation isn’t essential. Visibility becomes an issue, though. Because the fabric stacks so high when lowered, both the manual and power tops create a rear blind spot when the top is down.

Under the Hood
Borrowed from the basic Golf and Jetta, the Cabrio’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 115 hp. A five-speed-manual gearbox is standard, and a four-speed-automatic transmission is optional. Side-impact airbags and antilock brakes are standard.

Driving Impressions
Joyful is the best word to describe the sensation of piloting a Cabrio. Small, moderately priced convertibles aren’t so common these days, so the aging Cabrio is one of a small breed of soft-top models. Unlike some other open-roofed cars, the Cabrio feels solid and tight.

Buyers also benefit from a lot of the same precise handling traits that are found in the Golf or Jetta, even though the Cabrio stems from an earlier design. A smooth ride is part of the fun-in-the-sun picture. Performance falls well short of overpowering, but it’s fully adequate for ordinary driving. The manual-shift Cabrio is especially pleasurable to operate.

Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com


Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 3.9
  • Interior design 3.7
  • Performance 3.6
  • Value for the money 3.5
  • Exterior styling 4.2
  • Reliability 3.2

Most recent consumer reviews


I love my Cabrio! Good, solid, fun car.

I love this car. It?s for getting places, not hauling stuff or transporting a bunch of kids. Not tremendously powerful?not a road hog?but a zippy convertible that handles extremely well in winter weather. It?s a VW after all.


Most fun and reliable car I've owned!

Easily maintained and gets great gas mileage. A great car to actually work on my self. Enough room for 4 adults, the back seat is very comfortable.


Money Pit!

I purchased the used 2002 Volkswagon Cabrio convertible because I thought it was a great looking little car and I wanted a convertible to cruise around in. From the day I drove it off the lot, there were problems. The service engine light came on and I had to take it right back to the dealership. The dealership fixed the issue, but charged me more $$ because I hadnt purchased the extended warranty, BIG MISTAKE! A few months later, battery went dead and I had to have the vehicle towed to the VW dealership because you cant replace this battery like you could a normal car battery, it is connected with the computer system and must be reset by the VW mechanics. This cost over $200 and the mechanic informed me of several other issues that needed to be fixed or there would be problems in the future. 2 years later, transmission went out. This cost another $2000. After replacing the transmission, we sold the car for a 1/4 of what i paid for it and $$ for repairs, and the buyer informed me that there was now trouble with the speedometer. I would never recommend this car to anyone. I realize they do not make them anymore, I now know why. Cute car though... it had me at "Convertible".

See all 22 consumer reviews


New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Volkswagen
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
MY 2015-MY 2017 vehicles/75,000 miles; MY 2018- MY 2019 vehicles/72,000 miles; MY 2020 and newer vehicles/75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
Vehicles purchased on or after 1/5/21: MY 2017 & older, 2 yrs/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2018-19, 1 yr/12,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty; MY 2020 & newer, 2 years/24,000 miles (whichever is 1st) limited warranty
Dealer certification required
100-plus point inspection
Roadside assistance
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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