What Changed for 2009:
- Standard stability control for all models
- Manual transmission dropped from sedan model
- Standard cold weather package on sedan
- Standard satellite radio on sedan
- Two exterior colors (Sage Green and Shadow Blue) are deleted
- New free maintenance program
The Rabbit replaced the popular Golf
's entry-level model in 2006
. It was basically a name change, as the Rabbit was essentially identical to the 2005 Golf that preceded it. (Volkswagen had previously swapped the "Rabbit" name for "Golf" in 1985-the "Golf" moniker is the badge the compact car wears in Europe and other markets outside the United States.) First introduced in 1974, the original Rabbit was designed as a replacement for the air-cooled Volkswagen Beetle. With modern amenities and a traditional drivetrain, it was a runaway success making the Rabbit (aka Volkswagen Golf) one of the German automaker's greatest hits. More than 25 million have been sold since its first introduction making the Rabbit/Golf the world's third best-selling model, according to Volkswagen. An all-new Golf was introduced in late 2008
. It is set to debut in the United States as a 2010 model.
Today, the Rabbit is in its fifth generation (known as the Golf Mk5). It is Volkswagen's entry-level model sold in both 2- and 4-door configurations. New for 2009 is Volkswagen's carefree maintenance program. It is standard on all Rabbit models. The benefits of the program include no-charge scheduled maintenance during the first 3 years or 36,000 miles of ownership. The 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit 2- and 4-door both feature a 3-year/36,000-mile basic limited warranty, and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Volkswagen also offers a 12-year/unlimited mileage corrosion warranty on all new vehicles.Model Lineup
The 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit is offered in either 2- or 4-door body styles. All share the same 5-cylinder powerplant and front-wheel-drive powertrain. The 2-door is available with a manual or automatic transmission; the sedan is only available with the automatic (this is a change for 2009). All models carry the same "S" trim line designation.
Standard features on the 2-door model include full MEDIA cloth interior, automatic power windows, power door locks, and an 8-speaker AM/FM single-CD stereo. The 4-door model is upgraded with a 10-speaker radio with a 6-disc CD changer and heated front seats. Stand-alone options include a cold weather package (heated seats and washer nozzles), iPod adapter, power sunroof (sedan only), and rear side air bags (sedan only). Other options include upgraded 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels and carpeted floor mats. Those looking to set their Rabbit apart from the crowd may choose the Rabbit Sport Styling kit. It includes a sporty front spoiler, side sill extensions, rear valance and twin exhaust tips.Powertrain
The standard powerplant under the hood of the 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit is a 2.5-liter, inline 5-cylinder engine. It is rated at 170 hp and 177 lb.-ft. of torque. There are two model-specific transmissions: a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed "Tiptronic" automatic with a sport mode. According to Volkswagen, the 2-door and sedan both accelerate to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds with a manual transmission (8 seconds with the automatic) on towards their electronically limited top speed of 130 mph. The Rabbit 2- and 4-door both earned EPA fuel-economy estimates of 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway with the automatic transmission.
The front suspension of the 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit is of an independent design, with MacPherson struts and coil springs. The rear suspension is a multi-link design, with coil springs and gas-pressurized shock absorbers. Brakes are power-assisted discs on all four corners with standard anti-lock control (ABS). Standard wheels are 15-inch steel, but most option packages upgrade them to 17-inch alloy wheels with larger tires.Safety
In addition to standard front air bags, all 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit models feature driver and front passenger side thorax air bag supplemental restraint systems. Side curtain air bag protection and front safety belt pre-tensioners are also standard on all models. Rear-passenger side air bags are optional on the sedan only. The rear outboard seating positions are equipped with LATCH (formerly ISOFIX) tether anchors for child seats. All 2009 Rabbit models are equipped with standard ESP (stability control), ASR (anti-slip control), ABS, and a tire-pressure-monitoring system.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA
), the 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit 4-door with side air bags received 4 stars in frontal crash testing for both driver and front passenger, as well as 5-star (the agency's highest rating) side-impact scores for both front- and rear-seat occupants. The Rabbit received 4 stars for rollover resistance. The 2006-09 Volkswagen Rabbit has also been crash tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS
). They rated the Rabbit "Good" (the Institute's highest rating) in both their frontal offset and side-impact testing.Technology
One unique feature on the 2009 Volkswagen Rabbit is its 5-cylinder powerplant. While many automakers in this segment utilize smaller 4-cylinder engines, the German automaker has chosen a 2.5-liter, 4-valve inline-5 powerplant for the Rabbit. According to Volkswagen, the engine is loosely based on half of the Lamborghini Gallardo
's 5.0-liter V-10 powerplant-of course with a much less complicated valvetrain and a less expensive iron block. Without resorting to complicated forced induction such as turbocharging, the environmentally friendly (BIN5 EPA compliant) powerplant offers the power of a V-6 engine with the frugal fuel consumption typical of an inline 4-cylinder, Volkswagen says.