2008 Jetta and Rabbit: More Power, New Trims


We always like it when the base trim level for a car gets an upgrade — it’s often the model more people buy. Such is the case for Volkswagen, whose 2.5-liter five-cylinder has been retooled for 2008. Output jumps from 150 to 170 hp in the Rabbit and Jetta, while the New Beetle keeps the old 150-hp version.

The extra power should give the Jetta some much-needed oomph, as the current base model is a bit underwhelming. The lighter Rabbit, in contrast, is already something of an unlikely athlete. But hey, we won’t argue with extra power — especially when it comes with better gas mileage. With the EPA’s revised ratings system, Volkswagen reports that both the 2008 Jetta and Rabbit get 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway with an automatic, versus 19/28 for automatic-equipped 2007 models (using 2008 EPA calculations). The EPA reports slightly different mileage figures for the Jetta, as well as that it now uses premium fuel. Volkswagen says it can run on regular gasoline.

There’s one more amusing detail: Both cars shed their old trim levels for new ones — the Rabbit is now the Rabbit S, and the Jetta dons S, SE and SEL badging. In the alphabet soup of trim levels, even this phenomenon is rare — the Blue Oval uses nearly identical delineations for the Fusion, Focus and Edge. A Fordian slip, so to speak? Weigh in below.

2007 VW Rabbit Shown

By Kelsey Mays | July 10, 2007 | Comments (11)


Seriously, since when did VW ditch the CL/GL/GTI/GLI/GTX for crappy trim levels like FORD?


I'm very impressed that the mileage has changed so little going from the od way to the new EPA way. And more power is always nice.

The trim level designations are actually one thing that no one can argue that the imports do and have done better. They are pretty much the same across the line and make the buying process simpler. Kudos to Ford and Volkswagen (and any other maker for that matter) for simplifing any part of the car buying process.


The old base-model Jetta weighed about the same as an Accord 4-cyl., had less power than the Accord, yet managed to get worse fuel mileage than the Accord. At least now it will have more power than the Accord.

Compared to the MKIV Golf & Jetta this is a huge jump in the base engine. If this Rabbit still starts at $15K it's an amazing deal. I'm tempted to get rid of a couple of my cars to get a 170hp Rabbit.

Just because the Jetta is overweight and was overpriced doesn't take it a class up to Accord-ville (VW wishes). Class-wise, the Jetta\Rabbit is comparable to the Civic.

The larger Passat (still overpriced) is more comparable to the Accord size-class - although truth be told, neither VW hardly compare. Honda easily wins on efficiency, reliability, and value - not just against VW but against about everything, although Hyundai is catching up fast.

Hopefully VW's 2008 engines won't be so noisy as before.


VW totally beats the Hondas in interior quality and saftey features. all VWs have an available six speed automatic. no hondas do. in the real world, they get pretty much the same gas milage.

plus, once you add all of the saftey feature to those hondas that are standard on the VWs, they are the same price. VW's are still much, much safer than hondas.


Yes...give me a trendy Jetta any day over a boring Civic or Accord.
The interiors are funky and the exterior classy.
They are exceptional value...and have excellent resale.

I'll buy a VW the day they stop sucking balls. Excellent design, almost unparalleled in the industry, but near the bottom of the heap in terms of quality and reliability. Too bad, I'd love to buy a Rabbit but it ain't gonna happen until they build a car that will last.


"Seriously, since when did VW ditch the CL/GL/GTI/GLI/GTX for crappy trim levels like FORD?

Posted by: Griffin Moss"

2008, duh.


I was lucky enough to get a rental Rabbit the other day and I loved it.

The interior made my recent Focus, Cobalt and Elantra rentals look comedic in comparison.

Given the FREEZING Chicago weather that weekend I was also happy for the heated fabric seats, heated mirrors etc. The Stereo was also the most logically laid out of any i've seen on a new car in about ten years. it was marvellous - i was thanking the heavens that someone still understands the benefits of a twist knob tuning dial!

But what's with the huge engine? 2.5??? Give me a 1.6 and some decent fuel economy please. In fact, the 2.5 was pretty miserly on gas, but it could have been better with a smaller engine. Ok, a 1.6 wouldn't be spritely but it'd hold 90 on the highway (i know, i used to own one) easily and would probably deliver somewhat better mileage.

I know it's a heavy car but if a Civic or Corolla can get away with less then so should the Golf (sorry, Rabbit sounds so crap).

Anthony Albert

No, way is does any of the japanese cars (honda, mitsubishi) compare to VW, they have no where near the power, or pick up.

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