Year: 2008 Make: VOLKSWAGEN Model: RABBIT
Average raiting 4.6
This car is not an economy car but very versatile. Fun to drive. Decent horse power. Very reliable (no major repairs needed after 131K miles besides normal wear and tears).
This body style is now called the Golf, but a decade ago it was called a Rabbit. I liked the car, and it put up with a lot of careless use. I use my cars for short hops, pickup truck-like hauling, and 2000 mile cross-country trips. I do NOT baby them, and the Rabbit took it all like a champ. Buyers should be cautious to make sure they are happy with the fit of the driver's seat with respect to the controls, because I experienced a tendency to find myself feeling off-center on long trips. That is, I didn't feel I was sitting directly in line with the middle of the steering wheel. I think that was because of a combination of leg length and the rather tight console tunnel placement. This is designed as an inexpensive VW, so don't expect the best of anything - but I am sure that today's Golf offers some improvements over the rudimentary radio/CD player the Rabbit came with. The big attraction back then was the Electronic Stability package, which VW was the first to offer at this price point - and that worked great! If you are a believer in dealer servicing, be prepared for high routine maintenance costs, and be aware you cannot even change the air filter on this car yourself. My particular car had a few gremlins in it: the cruise control would sometimes not come on unless I re-booted the car...and I was never sure whether my interval wipers were stopping because the German engineers wanted them to, or because a gremlin wanted them to. (It didn't make much sense to me that I didn't need a clear windshield if I was stopped at a traffic light, but they quit working nonetheless.) I considered these all to be minor annoyances, though. The plastic frame that supports the radiators, headlights and sheet metal at the front end of the car can be broken in very minor collisions or road debris encounters. That's an expensive fix, and constitutes a real design flaw. But I suppose other cars of this type have similar drawbacks. The hatchback would admit an insane amount of cargo, and the car handled great in deep snow as well as deep water and misty-slick pavement. No engine issues at all. Tranny required work after 105K of hard use.
Bought this car brand new when I was 16, for just under $16,000 and haven't looked back since. It's pushing 7 years and over 100,000 miles now and no problems at all. Changing the oil every 10k miles and changing brakes as needed I'm sure helped the quality remain top-notch. Quick enough for getting around town along with decent fuel economy, however I wish the mpg were a little better.
This 2008 Rabbit is the 2nd Golf/Rabbit in the family since 2003. The 1st was a 1999 Golf which nickeled and dimed us to death, mostly with lightbulbs, but also other sometimes unbelievable electrical failures. The reliability ratings on the 2006 and up VWs were vastly improved over the previous years, so I took a chance and bought this one in 2010, certified, from a VW dealer with 50K miles, as a graduation gift to my daughter. She couldn't afford to operate it so I bought it back from her with 59K miles thinking it would be a good work car for 3-4 years. WRONG! (continued below)
I have 90,000 miles on my car and it has been by far one of the best purchases I have ever made. The car starts without hesitation, stops on a dime, and has great pick up. VW offers a fairly comprehensive warranty and tends to repair certain items out of "goodwill" even when out of warranty. I never take my car to the dealer(unless it a recall) and have learned how to do every maintenance or repair on my own through the various forums that VW enthusiast keep up to date. This has helped keep my costs down while being able to own a safe German designed foreign car. For those without the ability to work on their own VW I would recommend checking out the prices for services in your local area.