Volkswagen?Europe?s largest automaker and producer of the popular VW CV joint— has offered in Canada its new subcompact entry, the 2007 Rabbit 2.5 which has grown and matured from its Golf predecessor. VW is marketing its Rabbit 2.5 hatchback as a full-featured compact loaded with standard six air bags, traction control, air conditioning, cruise control, abs and a 10 speaker stereo with MP3-compatible CD player.
The Rabbit 2.5 is also equipped with a five-cylinder engine and VW?s four-year/80,000 kilometer warranty that covers four years of roadside assistance which is one year more than those offered by Civic or Corolla– primary competitors of Rabbit 2.5 in Canada. And compared to its other compact competition, the $20,990 five-door Rabbit is no doubt a good buy. But compared to the other VW?s compact how does the ?new? 2007 City Golf rate?
The word new in the 2007 Golf are warranted in the sense that the City Golf is supposedly the last generation of Golf five-door hatchback that will be sold in Canada. It should be noted that the Volkswagen has started offering its Golf in Canada way back in the year 1999 and the new City Golf is the latest addition. The new City Golf has a starting price of $14,900 and comes equipped with 15-inch rubber, four wheel disc brakes with ABS, power steering, AM/FM/CD with eight speakers, two-tone cloth seats, 60/40 folding rear seats, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, tachometer, rear wiper/washer and Volkswagen?s four-year warranty.
Compared to the previous City Golf, the new Rabbit 2.5 is more spacious on the inside. And just like Dodge?s Caliber, the new rabbit 2.5 is big for a compact, especially the back. However unlike the Dodge, the Rabbit 2.5?s interior has a more luxurious feel to it attributed to the fact that it has shared many parts with the Audi A3. But despite this fact it simply cannot be denied that Volkswagen has cut cost in the production of the Rabbit 2.5. There are obvious features found on the Rabbit 2.5 that indicates the cost-cutting that VW has employed for this Golf such as the center console and doors are made of harder plastic while the audio and HVAC controls just didn?t have that solid feel of Teutonic that pervades the City Golf.
And once on the road the difference between the new and the old City Golf became even more pronounce. The new Rabbit 2.5 is powered by a new 150 horsepower, 170 pound feet of torque, 2.5 liter inline five cylinder engine which is larger by almost half-liter and more powerful by 35 horsepower and 48 pound feet of torque than the City Golf?s four.
Another distinction is in terms of the weight since the rabbit 2.5 weighs 100 kilograms more than the City Golf. The most obvious difference is the 2.5?s more immediate torque which results to unplanned mid-range passing maneuvers. The rabbit 2.5 produces about 1000 rpm less than the previous City Golf when driving on the highway.
The City Golf is equipped with an independent torsion beam axle rear suspension while the 2.5 receives a new fully independent rear that makes use of a multi-link rear suspension. And if the City Golf?s is the bouncy type and revs up immediately, the 2.5 on the other hand is more of the subtle type. The Rabbit 2.5 is also more in control and more stable at high speeds as compared to the City Golf.
In terms of steering wheel, the City?s Golf conventional mechanical steering setup and lighter weight is much better. Unfortunately the Rabbit 2.5?s electro-mechanical steering suffers from on-centre numbness. And although it may be less direct but it sure is effective in providing the Rabbit 2.5?s luxury compact mission statement.