Volkswagen's entry-level Rabbit hatch and its performance-oriented variant, the GTI, share a platform and most body components and as a result, are both available in 2- or 4-door bodystyles.
The Rabbit is powered by a 170-horsepower, 2.5L 5-cylinder engine; in 2-door models it is available with either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission, which has a Sport mode, while the 4-door Rabbit is available only with the automatic.
The GTI may share a lot of DNA with the Rabbit, but it features a turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0L 4-cylinder engine that delivers an impressive 200 horsepower as well as improved efficiency over the unit found in the Rabbit. The GTI's engine is paired with either a 6-speed manual transmission or an available Direct Shift 6-speed automated manual dual-clutch transmission. The manual-transmission-equipped GTI is rated at 32 mpg on the highway.
The Rabbit comes with a wide range of standard equipment for a low-priced small car, including air conditioning, power heated mirrors, cruise control, power windows, locks, and mirrors and an 8-speaker CD stereo system. An electric power steering system helps bring crisp handling and easy maneuverability in parking lots. Volkswagen's electronic stabilization program (ESP) is now standard on all Rabbits and GTIs.
The GTI comes with plenty of additional performance and convenience equipment, including 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust tips, vented front disc brakes, a sport suspension, special appearance cues, alloy pedals and sport seats. Xenon headlamps, keyless entry and a 6-CD/10-speaker stereo system are among the included extras.
Both the Rabbit and the GTI offer generous standard safety features. Front side and full-length curtain air bags and anti-lock brakes are standard on both, as well as Volkswagen's electronic stability program.
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