X

Photos: 2008 Volkswagen R32

The poor cabin electronics in the 2008 Volkswagen R32 keep it from being a great tech car, but its drivetrain tech makes up somewhat for that lost ground.

CNET Reviews staff

See full bio

32570526-2-440-0.jpg
1 of 17 CNET Networks
The R32 pushes the envelope on performance specs for a hot hatchback. Where most of these types of cars use a four-cylinder engine, the R32 has a V-6, along with all-wheel-drive and one of the better transmissions available.
32570526-2-440-FRONT.jpg
2 of 17 CNET Networks
Volkswagen designed the R32 with a very clean look, even though it uses the Rabbit's body. The car gets extra grilles down low to help cool the largish engine.
32570526-2-440-DT4.jpg
3 of 17 CNET Networks
For motive power, the R32 uses a 3.2-liter V-6 producing 250 horsepower, plenty for a car of this size. Strangely, it doesn't use Volkswagen's direct injection technology, which could be worth a few extra horsepower.
32570526-2-440-SIDE.jpg
4 of 17 CNET Networks
The R32 has an excellent profile, with its clean looks complementing its classic hatchback body.
32570526-2-440-SS01.jpg
5 of 17 CNET Networks
To mark the performance character of this car, Volkswagen gave it blue brake calipers, which you can see between the spokes of the wheel.
32570526-2-440-SS02.jpg
6 of 17 CNET Networks
The rear of the R32 further shows off the clean design, with the tail lights blending into the rear quarters.
32570526-2-440-DT1.jpg
7 of 17 CNET Networks
As a hot hatchback, the R32 has a usable cargo area. During our testing, we even found it stable enough to drive around like a maniac without doing much damage to groceries.
32570526-2-440-INTERIOR.jpg
8 of 17 CNET Networks
We started to lose our love for this car in the cabin, where its subpar electronics became obvious. The strangest feature was the lack of a CD player because of the iPod-integration option.
32570526-2-440-SS03.jpg
9 of 17 CNET Networks
With its 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, the R32 holds the corners with fantastic grip. It goes where you point it without any wheel slip.
32570526-2-440-DT5.jpg
10 of 17 CNET Networks
The R32 also comes with Volkswagen's Double Shift Gearbox (DSG). The DSG uses computer-activated clutches to let you make shifts without pushing a clutch pedal. The result is lightning fast shifting.
32570526-2-440-SS04.jpg
11 of 17 CNET Networks
The gauges should have gotten a special treatment for this super hot hatchback, such as white faces. The middle display is typical of older generation Volkswagens and Audis.
32570526-2-440-DT3.jpg
12 of 17 CNET Networks
We were very unhappy with the navigation system in the R32, which often couldn't keep up with the actual position of the car.
32570526-2-440-SS05.jpg
13 of 17 CNET Networks
The interface for address selection is workable, but not very pretty or innovative in the navigation system.
32570526-2-440-DT2.jpg
14 of 17 CNET Networks
We found it very difficult to find satellite radio stations with this interface. It was easy to navigate presets, but finding other stations was nearly impossible.
32570526-2-440-SS06.jpg
15 of 17 CNET Networks
The iPod dock is located in the center console, with a fixed port. We like the arrangement for this part of the iPod integration.
32570526-2-440-SS07.jpg
16 of 17 CNET Networks
The interface for the iPod is terrible. It doesn't show any track information, and it requires you to dial through each track one at a time. The only saving grace is that you can choose up to five playlists.
32570526-2-440-SS08.jpg
17 of 17 CNET Networks
We were pleased with the high notes and the bass kick of the audio system.

More Galleries

'Stranger Things' Stars Now and Then: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

More Galleries

'Stranger Things' Stars Now and Then: Wow, They've Really Grown Up

40 Photos
2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

93 Photos
The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

More Galleries

The 40 Best Games on Nintendo Switch

41 Photos
2023 Nissan Z Gains Sharp Looks and a Turbocharged Personality

More Galleries

2023 Nissan Z Gains Sharp Looks and a Turbocharged Personality

47 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

More Galleries

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

80 Photos
2023 Toyota BZ4X Is a Smooth, Comfortable Electric SUV

More Galleries

2023 Toyota BZ4X Is a Smooth, Comfortable Electric SUV

33 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games

More Galleries

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos