1982 Volkswagen Rabbit from North America


A worthy heir to the Beetle


The tie rod ends were bad when I bought it, and had to be replaced.

The headliner had to be held up with thumbtacks.

The plug wires had a tendency to come loose at odd times.

The exhaust system from the manifold back rotted away right before I sold it.

Otherwise, it never gave me any trouble at all.

General Comments:

I can see why it was named the Rabbit; it literally leapt off the line. It won more than its share of streetlight-to-streetlight drag races, though the element of surprise may have contributed somewhat to that.

It got spectacular gas mileage; consistently in the low 30s.

It was as surefooted as a little truck in the snow.

It carried a surprising amount of cargo for such a small vehicle. Even carrying passengers in the backseat was a reasonable proposition.

The shift and steering could have been a little tighter, but on the other hand, it wasn't really meant to be a sports car.

It took all the beating that a college junior in a band could inflict on it, and kept running tirelessly on.

It had it all: quick, reliable, fun to drive, plenty of cargo space, and cheap as all get out. Very nearly the perfect car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th May, 2005

18th Jul 2005, 00:38

I had an 81 Rabbit, and I had pretty much the same experience. The headliner fabric separated from the cardboard backer, so I put thumbtacks in it. The factory exhaust system between the exhaust manifold and the intermediate pipe is terrible, so I modified mine a little and it lasted longer. Fortunately they're super-easy to work on.

A lot of stuff didn't work on mine when I bought it (for $50), but my biggest complaint was the shifter. Before you get used to it, shifting gears is like churning butter.

2nd Mar 2006, 12:05

My 1981 Rabbit. Runs like a tank. Most of the flaws mentioned above were taken care of before I got it. No headliner.Tin Can.

I put acoustic foam stereo sounds great.

My friend had one that went 3oo thousand miles.

1982 Volkswagen Rabbit D 1.6 diesel from North America


Most efficient and durable car you will ever buy


Every part has worn out at some point or other in the life of this vehicle.

-Timing belts must be changed religiously at 100,000 km.

-The front bearings go every 200,00-250,00 km

-I rebuilt the engine after 550,000 km

(I now have a spare which has already been rebuilt for the next time)

-Still working on the original transmission

-Clutch went at 380,000 km and 900,000 km

-usual wear items: batteries, brakes, exhaust, struts, etc

-I have always bought lifetime parts, so most replacements come free.

General Comments:

-This is the most durable and reliable car I have ever owned.

-I am well over 6 foot, and this is one of the only compacts I can drive.

-It has very few options, but has very nice seats and a very good driving position.

-It is slow, having 50 horsepower, but still gets 55 mpg.

-Older Volkswagen diesels must be plugged in below -10 degrees or they will not start.

-parts are inexpensive, especially tires, brakes, and aftermarket stuff.

-the car is the easiest to service I have ever owned.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2002

2nd Sep 2004, 22:22

That is absolutely AMAZING!!! I have never seen one of these little cars make it to over 1 million K's!!! I just bought a 1981 rabbit myself and am picking it up next week!!! From this review, I can tell that I made the right choice. I'm gonna keep it on the road till the wheels fall off!! Then I'm just gonna put them back on and drive it more. Thanks for a great review!!

1982 Volkswagen Rabbit L 1.7 4 cylinder fuel injected from North America


A fun little car. Even the non-GTI versions are much sportier than many things on the road


Rear brakes replaces.

Muffler fell off.

Steering rack (couldn't turn right).

Overheating (due to accident).

No heat (due to poor do-it-ourself repair).

Clutch slipping, then totally shot.

Tune-up (car stalled when foot not on the gas).

Loss of electrical power (car would stall, battery would die caused from a bare battery post shorting on the fan shroud). Fixed with duct tape.

Rear shocks, ball joint, and CV boot.

General Comments:

Surprisingly, it has been reliable and I have only had to fix general repairs that you expect from an old car.

No idea how many km, odometer quit before I bought, typical VW quirk.

Very little rust, unlike most VWs, car looks great when washed.

Lots of power, beats lots of Civics off the line.

Instrumentation is modern. I drive a 2001 Suzuki Swift at work and I have more cargo room, more comfy seats, and better controls in my bunny.

Burns oil, wipers don't work for a few minutes in winter, and it has strange things happen, but it has been a great first car.

I am lucky to have a great mechanic. He is German and he only fixes German cars. He gets his parts from somewhere cheap. Canadian Tires quoted me $60.00 for a part, he got it for $16.00. You can do a fair bit of do-it-yourself repairs. All in all it is a fun car! Look around, but get find a good mechanic!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd January, 2001

18th Oct 2002, 18:47

This sounds like the worst taken care of Rabbit I have ever heard of. I race Rabbits in Rally, and when you only fix stuff with duct tape I'm surprised you are still alive from that kind of record.

1982 Volkswagen Rabbit LS 1.6 gas from North America


I had to get the brakes fixed, and new struts, but that was just because the car is 18 years old!!

General Comments:

Volkswagens kick ass!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th December, 2000

2nd Feb 2001, 15:41

I agree. Volkswagen kick butt.