1984 Volkswagen Rabbit L 1.8 from North America


Good job VW for marketing a very poor product


1.7 liter motor needed replacement shortly after I purchased the car. Main bearings were bad, so I replaced the engine with a 1.8 Fox motor with only 100kms on it. Shortly before selling the car it began burning the synthetic oil I was running in it (bad new engine too).

- In very cold weather, car would die after being started

- wheel bearings, struts, electrical system all needed replacement or constant repair after a mere 150kms

- serious rust-through issues at 170kms

- several exterior/interior pieces broke after cautious driving and care

- After owning this car, I have gone onto purchasing e30 BMW 3 series cars with twice the mileage, and have both performed like new cars. This does not say much for VW, especially since many of their products are compared to BMW's. VW has done a great job of marketing a very poor product, and has continued to do so until today, where the younger market all want a VW product... too bad they don't know that their cars are just an expensive name brand that should not even compared to the Japanese competitors.

General Comments:

Looked cool when I wanted it.

Handled pretty good.

I liked the rear wiper idea (same like my 245 Volvo wagon, but that was a much better car overall)

Fuel economy was OK at best.

This car cannot be compared with anything else other than Hyundai ponies, and Yugo's, it does not share any quality aspects with any Japanese or other German products.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th December, 2004

15th Dec 2004, 10:09

As far as I'm concerned you don't have a clue as to how good VW's are. You buy a 15 year old vehicle with high miles on it and then compare VW's to Yugos. Give me a break!

You replace the engine with an engine with considerable miles on it and use this against VW. Give me another break!

I'm sure Volkswagen is devastated that you will no longer be buying 15 year-old VWs. I know I am!

Volkswagens are great vehicles, however a vehicle is only as good as its owner...

1984 Volkswagen Rabbit Convertible 1.8L fuel injection from North America


Built for Ontario winters!


Exhaust system 249,600.

Oil pump, pan, and gasket 249,500.

Ignition coil 249,000.

Cap, wires, and rotor 241,000.

Parking brake cable 235,000.

Front wheel bearings 231,000.

Front strut cartridges 230, 000.

Front rotors and ball joints 218,000.

Heater core 210,000.

Back-up switch 205,000.

Fuel filter has been replaced 4 times due to rust in gas tank from rusted out gas tank fill pipe. Pipe was replaced at 218,000.

Clutch cable has been replaced 3 times due to broken bracket on engine firewall.

General Comments:

This car, from Vancouver, BC, drives very well in all seasons. A joy to drive in the summer.

Starts right up at -29C! Excellent handling in 20 cm of snow when equipped with 4 snow tires.

Repair this car yourself if you can. It's a relatively cheap car to operate this way. My cost has been about .08 per km (excluding gas and insurance)

Not a safe car, but better than most soft tops.

My wife is learning to drive so we will have to sell this car on account of the manual transmission and manual steering. It will be hard to let it go.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 13th February, 2004

5th Mar 2004, 13:15

Hey Steven, how much do you want for the Rabbit?

I'm in Toronto...

12th Apr 2004, 18:50

The car's in Kingston. Decided to hold on to it for at least the summer.

Mileage is now 256,000 km. Recently replaced the water pump and one fuel injector.

Does anyone know where to find front fenders?

12th Aug 2004, 10:06

I live in Belleville and am looking for a car like yours for September.

You can email me at familyfamilyfamily@mac.com.

15th Sep 2004, 19:11

The car was sold to a neighbor in July 2004. Final mileage was 261,000 km. I suspect that it will run for another 40K before needing a complete engine rebuild, which is not bad for a 20 year-old compact car. We're now driving a 1996 Subaru Legacy wagon (AWD).

5th May 2005, 03:16

I live in Switzerland and we purchased a rabbit convertible, black, in year 1985. We still hold the car (of course is a second car now) but I want only to confirm that it is very reliable and good car. It' s a joy to drive it in summer time in the mountains. The only prob, I think, are the brakes. In Switzerland disk brakes et the time were an options that I didn't buy, was very expensive, so my has drum brake on the back and two small disks in the front. It's a reliable car, but has to be driven with great care, it does not stop so fast as you can mind. Ciao from Lugano, Switzerland.

8th Mar 2006, 07:49

I am the original author of this review. We recently sold our 1996 Subaru Legacy and purchased a 2000 Honda Accord. Dearly miss the Rabbit. Nothing I drive now handles as good as that car did.

20th Jun 2009, 23:41

I recently bought a 84 Rabbit convertible, and after 322000kms the engine has been changed and a lots of parts also. The body is still straight; keep it rust checked and these cars are the next generation of car shows who will follow the Beetle!

Do everything to keeps these Rabbits alive!