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Old 07-25-07, 10:08 AM   #1
Mavericks House
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VW Rabbit & Toyota Matrix

Their was a thread on here a week ago or so re buying a new car to transport bikes around.

What is everybody's experience with the latest VW Rabbits...? Thinking 4-Door......

Option #2 is an '07 Toyota Matrix.....

Reliability, fuel milage, interior room for bikes, etc.. Bear in mind the VW dealer is 1.5 hrs away, so reliability,dependability is important.
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Old 07-25-07, 10:17 AM   #2
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Reliability/dependability with VW's has been pretty poor lately. Next year, you could probably get a TDI in the VW for excellent fuel economy. I saw a recent article that says that the TDI (diesel) engine option boosts the resale value more than the additional sticker price.
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Old 07-25-07, 10:39 AM   #3
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I'm not very impressed with the cost of ownership on my VW. With that said, if you want bling go with the VW, if you want lower costs and reliable get the Toyota.

Have you checked to see if you can fit a bike in the back seat of either? Even if you have a bike rack you may need to do that in a pinch some day.
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Old 07-25-07, 11:09 AM   #4
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anyone here remember the VW Jetta Trek that was released in the 1996 model year, that came factory with a roof rack and a Trek bike? i don't remember what type of Trek it was, but i thought it was a great idea...
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Old 07-25-07, 11:10 AM   #5
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A friend of mine has a Golf hatchback (predecessor to the Rabbit) and it is a great car. She has had no problems with hers, and it easily holds her bike (front wheel removed) and lots of gear. Also gets great mileage. However, Consumer Reports and other sources generally give VWs poor marks for reliability and service in recent years. Too bad because in many respects they are very well designed.

If considering, I would hold out for the diesel version when they start importing again. They will be very low emissions with mileage comparable to hybrids. Perhaps VW will get their act together by then.

Have you also looked at the Honda Fit? Another friend of mine has a Fit, and I have been very impressed with it. Lots of room for a bike (front wheel removed) and legendary Honda quality and reliability.
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Old 07-25-07, 11:12 AM   #6
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I agree with most here, get the Toyota, VW's have a poor record for quality and reliability.
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Old 07-25-07, 11:40 AM   #7
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The Boy and I have been test driving various candidates for our next lease. It was down to the VW Rabbit (corners like it's on RAILS!) and the Toyota Matrix. We decided on the Matrix after looking at the resale value of 2003 models - they are really holding their value. Since we plan to buy out and re-sell at the end of the lease this made a big difference. The Matrix was also significantly cheaper.

We should get the new car next week, yay!
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Old 07-25-07, 11:55 AM   #8
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Go with the GTI - it's the souped up version of the Rabbit. Both have options to mount a roof-rack to carry your bike. Personally, I'm looking to add a tow-hitch to haul my motorcycle. And VWs - German cars in general - are more solidly than Japanese or American cars.
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Old 07-25-07, 12:29 PM   #9
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I agree with most here, get the Toyota, VW's have a poor record for quality and reliability.
Full disclosure: we've got a jetta vr6.

The jetta's been a super fun car. For daily drivers, vw's really do have some extra soul or something that make them a true pleasure to drive.

That said, when it comes time to buy another car, I can't justify buying another vw or audi. Their dealer network and parts engineering are simply terrible. Minor failures in parts that cost cents can only be repaired with kits that cost hundreds of dollars, as seen in the window regulators clips (need to replace whole window motor - $700 with labor) or the ignition coils/packs (plastic housing cracks, causing misfires in wet weather - also around $700 with labor). Add in crooked dealers that put the responsibility on consumers to determine what's still under warranty and what isn't (their philosophy really is to charge you unless confronted with evidence), and it's just a bad ownership experience.

Yes, you could invest more time to get the same fixes cheaper, but the standard joe blow vw owner has to spend way too much to keep their car running.

Executive summary: I'd lease a GTI. I'd buy the Toyota.
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Old 07-25-07, 12:41 PM   #10
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I can't justify buying another vw or audi. Their dealer network and parts engineering are simply terrible. ... Add in crooked dealers that put the responsibility on consumers to determine what's still under warranty and what isn't (their philosophy really is to charge you unless confronted with evidence), and it's just a bad ownership experience.
I think it's the latter on your part. I've had no dealer problems at all. The A/C bolt wasn't mounted correctly at the factory and the dealer replaced it. Later on the valve for the A/C clogged and they replaced the entire unit. Then one of my wireless keys started to malfunction and they replaced it. They also upgraded the engine software. My dealer informed me that everything was under warranty and I paid nothing. They even paid for a rental car while my GTI was in the shop. Maybe you just got unlucky with a certain dealer. However, since you are in the VW database, you can go anywhere in the US to get your car fixed. Have you tried another dealer?

My other friends drive Jettas and they love it. I think you just had a bad experience with VW's.
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Old 07-25-07, 01:14 PM   #11
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I think it's the latter on your part. I've had no dealer problems at all. The A/C bolt wasn't mounted correctly at the factory and the dealer replaced it. Later on the valve for the A/C clogged and they replaced the entire unit. Then one of my wireless keys started to malfunction and they replaced it. They also upgraded the engine software. My dealer informed me that everything was under warranty and I paid nothing. They even paid for a rental car while my GTI was in the shop. Maybe you just got unlucky with a certain dealer. However, since you are in the VW database, you can go anywhere in the US to get your car fixed. Have you tried another dealer?

My other friends drive Jettas and they love it. I think you just had a bad experience with VW's.
I've actually had a really good experience with VW, considering what others have gone through (ask anyone who had ignition coils instead of the packs. Those would go out in weeks or months). And it's not just one dealer. I've moved around a lot, and have personal experience with dealers in and around LA, San Diego, Chicago, and now the bay area. Yes, there were a few good ones in there, but plenty of bad ones, too.

The point is that for cars that need to visit shops this often (and VW's do), their dealer network needs to be consistently good - and it's fairly characterized as spotty, at best. Further - why do have so many visits to the shop in the first place? A decently designed car wouldn't require me to have this much experience with this many service departments, some of whom either deliberately neglect to tell customers about things that are covered, or are ignorant of warranty changes from VWoA (see window regulators).

Like I said, I LIKE the car (heck, I even lust after the new GTI), but there's no way I'd buy another product from them. They're fun, but also finicky, high-maintenance, and expensive to own relative to other cars in their class.
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Old 07-25-07, 01:18 PM   #12
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Like I said, I LIKE the car (heck, I even lust after the new GTI), but there's no way I'd buy another product from them. They're fun, but also finicky, high-maintenance, and expensive to own relative to other cars in their class.
Are we still talking about cars or women?
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Old 07-25-07, 01:19 PM   #13
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Get the Matrix. Or, the Pontiac Vibe is the same thing. If you look underneath, "Toyota" is stamped into the muffler.
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Old 07-25-07, 01:23 PM   #14
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I've got a three year old Vibe (same exact car as Matrix, except for grill, roof rails, and tail lights).

Gets great mileage (average 30-31 mpg in stop/go/stop Chicago suburban traffic)
With seats folded down, can fit my 58 cm road bike in the back w/o removing wheels
No reliability problems going on 70,000 miles.
It's not the fastest car and does not like to race off the line, but if you are willing to accelerate at a sane pace, then it's alright. That said, it can be peppy when in the passing lane.

I'd probably not have bought a Pontiac if wasn't really just a Toyota.
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Old 07-25-07, 01:50 PM   #15
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I have a 2002 VW Gti, my girlfriend has a new VW Rabbit. Both are fun cars do drive and fit bikes in really nicely. I think the VW is a funner car to drive but in terms of customer service and care the Matrix is more reliable. My friend who bikes as well has a Matrix his brother has a Rabbit. Likes the VW for performance.
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Old 07-25-07, 04:17 PM   #16
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One of the engineers at work bought what I think is a Mazda 3. It's a 4 door, and the body reminds me of a PT cruiser. You might look into that. It's got quite a bit of power, and is about the size of the rabbit.
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Old 07-25-07, 04:19 PM   #17
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One of the engineers at work bought what I think is a Mazda 3. It's a 4 door, and the body reminds me of a PT cruiser. You might look into that. It's got quite a bit of power, and is about the size of the rabbit.

I got one.. Its got nice power, great handling and drives zippy ( well a manual ). You can get a fully loaded one for under 20K. Flip side I get only about 25MPG city, 30MPG hwy.. But that could just be how I drive
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Old 07-25-07, 04:34 PM   #18
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I just picked up a Toyota Matrix last month. I'm very happy with it. I'm hitting about 36mpg driving 75mph down the free way and still hit around 30mpg in town (stop/go) IF I keep my foot out of it. If I zip I'm more like 28mpg. I looked at the rabbit as well and did like it but the lack of room and my buddy having a s-load of problems with his put me off.

Best of all, I can drop the seat and put any one of bikes in the rear with out any problems. lol.






Hope this helps.

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Old 07-25-07, 04:38 PM   #19
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I would take a look at the Honda Fit.

I've seen it in action, and it looks like a spectacular little car.
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Old 07-25-07, 04:44 PM   #20
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HAD both.. sold cars too, If you want a car made in the USA which has Japan made parts and domestically made as well that statiscally goes a quarter of a million miles with few problems.. get the Toyota. However If you want a car that is inferior in every way, made in Mexico, has the poorest repair record in the industry but pose's real nice, you ought to consider the VW.
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Old 07-25-07, 07:34 PM   #21
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HAD both.. sold cars too, If you want a car made in the USA which has Japan made parts and domestically made as well that statiscally goes a quarter of a million miles with few problems.. get the Toyota. However If you want a car that is inferior in every way, made in Mexico, has the poorest repair record in the industry but pose's real nice, you ought to consider the VW.
Well put! Couldn't have said it better.
And this coming from a guy who's owned a watercooled VW of some sort since since 1984.
1982 VW Derby (while living in Germany)
1984 Rabbit GTI
1987 Golf GTI
1992 Corrado G60
1993 Corrado VR6
2000 Passat

The only one of these that wasn't built in Germany was the '87 GTI and it happened to have the worst reliability record with me.
I picked VW's simply because of the intangible qualities like feel and style but there is no way I could argue on the basis of reliability.

I would pick the Matrix over the Rabbit anyday or go for the slightly less expensive Vibe since it's mechanically identical.
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Old 07-25-07, 08:16 PM   #22
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I got one.. Its got nice power, great handling and drives zippy ( well a manual ). You can get a fully loaded one for under 20K. Flip side I get only about 25MPG city, 30MPG hwy.. But that could just be how I drive
It's probably how you drive. That car looks really great. The engineer has the 6 speed manual transmission, and 3rd gear in that thing is just fantastic. This guy races it where ever he goes, and I can't blame him, it must be tempting.
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Old 07-25-07, 09:14 PM   #23
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I own a 2005 Matrix. Love it! I've had no problems with it to date. I installed a Class 1 hitch and bought a Thule Hitch Bike Rack. You're only supposed to carry 2 bikes on a class 1 hitch, however it nicely carries 4 ... as long as you don't hit any big bumps. I like the fact that both back seats plus the front passenger side seat folds down flat allowing you to carry a lot of cargo (I've fit 2 adult size mountain bikes in the back.

BTW, the Matrix is made in our Cambridge, Ontario plant which has an excellent quality control record.
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Old 07-25-07, 09:33 PM   #24
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Just slightly off topic: are the Rabbit and the Golf the same thing? I've never heard of VW Rabbit where I grew up in Europe.

My 2 cents - get the Toyota. I have a Prius 2005 and so far am very happy with it. I haven't bothered with a bike rack since I can drop the back seats and fit my bike in there. That way mileage stays normal.
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Old 07-25-07, 09:41 PM   #25
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Just slightly off topic: are the Rabbit and the Golf the same thing? I've never heard of VW Rabbit where I grew up in Europe.

My 2 cents - get the Toyota. I have a Prius 2005 and so far am very happy with it. I haven't bothered with a bike rack since I can drop the back seats and fit my bike in there. That way mileage stays normal.
The Rabbit and the Golf are different models, built using different design philosophies.

Golf: Sporty, lightweight compact car with reasonable fuel mileage and a relatively low price compared to cars with similar performance.

Rabbit: Essentially a barebones compact car, and although very inexpensive, is rather durable and economic.

This is a present description of these cars.

During the 70's and 80's, they were the same model. The Golf Mark 1 was sold in Europe, and it was also exported to North America as the Rabbit Mark 1.
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