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2008 Volkswagen Rabbit

$2,275 — $8,619 USED
Hatchback
5 Seats
25 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 1 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Interior size
  • Cargo versatility
  • Many standard features
  • Dashboard quality
  • Robust engine

The Bad

  • Fuel economy
  • Difficult backseat entry and exit in two-door
  • Not as inexpensive as competitors' base models
2008 Volkswagen Rabbit exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit
  • Shares components with VW Jetta
  • Larger engine, interior than Golf predecessor
  • New exterior colors
  • Standard auxiliary input

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Vehicle Overview
For 2008, Volkswagen's entry-level Rabbit receives more power and a new, single trim level: the Rabbit S. The compact hatchback is Volkswagen's answer to compact cars like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

The Rabbit comes in two- or four-door body styles and retains the basic hatchback shape that has made the model famous since its 1974 introduction. It has a larger interior and more power than its predecessor, though it retains the nameplate's value-oriented principles with plenty of standard safety and convenience equipment. Other advancements include an independent rear suspension instead of the previous torsion-bar setup.

Using the EPA's new 2008 testing procedures, gas mileage with the optional automatic transmission is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. That's a nominal increase over last year's numbers (after the 2007 numbers are recalculated to make up for the testing differences). The Rabbit still trails the Civic and Corolla, though, as both have significantly smaller engines.


Exterior
The twin-bezel headlights closely resemble those on the Jetta, although a body-colored bumper doesn't create a one-piece grille appearance, as do the chrome units in other Volkswagens. The Rabbit's simple lines and uncluttered face make it look very similar to its Golf predecessor. The same slatted grille holds a large VW logo in the center, while a lower air dam separates into three sections.

Length, width and ...
Vehicle Overview
For 2008, Volkswagen's entry-level Rabbit receives more power and a new, single trim level: the Rabbit S. The compact hatchback is Volkswagen's answer to compact cars like the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.

The Rabbit comes in two- or four-door body styles and retains the basic hatchback shape that has made the model famous since its 1974 introduction. It has a larger interior and more power than its predecessor, though it retains the nameplate's value-oriented principles with plenty of standard safety and convenience equipment. Other advancements include an independent rear suspension instead of the previous torsion-bar setup.

Using the EPA's new 2008 testing procedures, gas mileage with the optional automatic transmission is rated at 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. That's a nominal increase over last year's numbers (after the 2007 numbers are recalculated to make up for the testing differences). The Rabbit still trails the Civic and Corolla, though, as both have significantly smaller engines.


Exterior
The twin-bezel headlights closely resemble those on the Jetta, although a body-colored bumper doesn't create a one-piece grille appearance, as do the chrome units in other Volkswagens. The Rabbit's simple lines and uncluttered face make it look very similar to its Golf predecessor. The same slatted grille holds a large VW logo in the center, while a lower air dam separates into three sections.

Length, width and height are identical to the previous Golf. Fifteen-inch wheels are standard, with 16-inch wheels optional. An independent rear suspension should allow better handling.


Interior
The Rabbit follows the Jetta and GTI with a three-spoke steering wheel and high-mounted center stack. Upscale elements include one-touch power windows and heated side mirrors. Both are standard, as are many other features, including cruise control, a CD stereo with an auxiliary MP3 jack, remote keyless entry and air conditioning. Options include a moonroof, an iPod-specific connector and heated front seats.

Despite exterior measurements equaling the previous Golf, the five-passenger interior has 7 percent more passenger volume. Most of that goes to the backseat, as rear passengers gain nearly 2 inches of legroom and more than an inch of headroom over the previous model.

Cargo capacity grows thanks to a 60/40-split folding rear seat. A fold-flat front passenger seat is also available, giving the Rabbit capacity to carry longer items, such as skis.


Under the Hood
The Rabbit shares its 2.5-liter inline-five-cylinder engine with the Jetta. Thanks to improved airflow and valve-train management, output in both cars increases to 170 horsepower and 177 pounds-feet of torque, up from 150 hp and 170 pounds-feet last year. In the Rabbit, the engine teams with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.

Safety
Four-wheel-disc antilock brakes are standard, as are active head restraints. Side-impact and side curtain airbags also come standard. An electronic stability system is optional.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.8
30 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.5)
Performance
(4.7)
Interior Design
(4.5)
Comfort
(4.6)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.9)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

10 years and still going strong.

by Dutchoven from Toronto Ontario on October 24, 2018

I love this car. I cannot say enough great things about it. It?s a basic a - b car that has some good power. Handles pretty good too. I have 180,000 km and it runs like new. No major issues. Few minor ... Read full review

(5.0)

Fun car to own

by Ryanodom8 from Eagan,MN on July 15, 2018

This car has been a lot of fun. Its really reliable and that 2.5 has some power. The car looks really sporty and slick as well. This is a well rounded car Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit currently has 2 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2008 Volkswagen Rabbit S

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
marginal
Overall Rear
marginal
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
marginal
Structure/safety cage
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Latest 2008 Rabbit Stories

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All Model Years for the Volkswagen Rabbit

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Rabbit received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker