VW Rabbit │ What Is The Difference Between Volkswagen Golf And Rabbit?

Last Updated on February 2, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

The VW Golf and Rabbit are not significantly different. Actually, you can say that the VW Rabbit is a ‘type’ of VW Golf. They are the same car, but they have many nameplates. Around the world, VW Golf keeps its name. But in the USA and Canada, we know the VW Golf as the VW Rabbit.

Key Takeaways

  • The name Rabbit was used by Volkswagen for the vehicle “VW Golf” in the North American market from 1975 to 1984
  • Volkswagen used the name Rabbit to attract the US customers as rabbits are typically seen as cute and friendly
  • Volkswagen did not ‘stop’ the Rabbit car, they dropped the “Rabbit” name and began selling the car in North America as the Volkswagen Golf
VW Rabbit




You can see that the cars are pretty similar, except for some slight modifications. 

Now, keep reading for more answers and explanations.

Is The VW Rabbit The Same As A VW Golf?

Yes, it is. But the 2019 VW Rabbit model has its differences. It comes with the underpinnings of the GTI. Those underpinnings include:

1. A turbo engine

2. Heavier brakes

3. Sports suspension

4. Sports seats

The official name of the 2019 model is the Volkswagen Golf GTI Rabbit Edition.

CarsAmazing 101:

Volkswagen sold the Golf Mk1 as the Volkswagen Rabbit in Canada and the United States. But in Mexico, they sold it as the Volkswagen Caribe.

Is The VW Rabbit Discontinued?

VW did not ‘stop’ the Rabbit car. Instead, what Volkswagen did was drop the name, but they brought it back in 2019.

They may have dropped it because of marketing reasons. When the American VW plant closed in the 80s, VW gave Canadians and Americans the VW Golf. But before that, it was all Rabbit.

About The 2019 VW Golf GTI Rabbit Edition

So, VW brought the Rabbit back in 2019. But what’s in it for car lovers and motorists? Well, here’s a table showing its specs:

2019 VW GTI Rabbit Edition
EngineTurbo, 2.0 liter I4
Output258 pound-feet or 228 Horsepower
TransmissionSeven-speed Dual Clutch
Drive TypeFWD (Front-Wheel Drive)
Speed from 0 to 60 mphAbout 6 seconds
Max. Speed154 mph
WeightAround 3000 pounds
Seating Capacity5

Where The Volkswagen Mk 1 Came From

In this section, you’ll get to know how we came down to the VW Rabbit. And where do we start?

Well, lo-and-behold, the VW Beetle! 

Where The Volkswagen Mk 1 Came From


VW first sold the Beetle in 1945, whose design dates back before World War I. But in the 1970s, VW Beetle sales fell hard. Since car design was changing, Volkswagen needed a new product.

So, they designed the Volkswagen Golf Mk 1. It had a hatchback which was front-engine, water-cooled, and of front-wheel-drive style. It came out looking this way:



Believe it or not, the car has set a precedent for modern-day automotive design. If you look at the VW Beetle, you see why this was such a big jump. 

Explaining The VW Golf

Some people say that the word ‘Golf’ comes from ‘Golfstrom,’ which is German for gulf stream. That fits in perfectly with other names that VW has used for its cars like:

1. Scirocco – the Mediterranean hot wind

2. Jetta – ‘jet stream’ in German

 But although Golf was the name in Germany, the US and Canada got it as Rabbit.

Why Was The Volkswagen Golf Renamed The Rabbit In The US?

The Golf became the Rabbit because VW had made the car to be quick and small. Since VW was targeting the younger market, Golf would have sounded too high class.

From Rabbit To The MK2 Golf

It wasn’t until 1983 that VW replaced the Rabbit. In its place, they introduced a wider, longer MK2 Golf. Earlier in 1980, VW made the following facelifts:

1. Larger rear lamps

2. Square headlights (US)

3. New bumpers

All the changes made from 1979 helped VW to stay in the market. Datsun (Nissan) and Toyota were also doing excellent jobs with their vehicles.

From Rabbit To The MK2 Golf


What Is The Difference Between GTI And Rabbit?

The GTI is an improvement for the Rabbit (or Golf). Since Volkswagen makes it for performance, it has more powerful specs.

Look at this 2021 Golf 8 GTI Clubsport for a second:

What Is The Difference Between GTI And Rabbit


Here’s what you’ll enjoy with the VW GTI:

1. A thrilling power train 

2. Adaptive suspension

3. Nice seats

Compared to the VW GTI, the 2009 Rabbit is a little far behind:

1. It doesn’t have as much fuel economy, both in the city or on the highway.

2. Its torque is not as powerful (177 pounds per foot).

So, the GTI is better than the Rabbit.

What Does The GTI Mean On A Volkswagen?

For some Italian models, GTI is Gran Turismo Iniezione. But, when Volkswagen uses it, it mostly means Grand Touring Injection.

What Does Grand Touring Injection Mean?

GTI is a technology that VW uses to make its cars achieve powerful long-distance journeys. And GTI engineers don’t sacrifice comfort and performance to attain powered trips.

CarsAmazing 101:

VW first deployed the GTI in its 1976 Golf.

This day, the most powerful vehicle is the 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI.

What Does Grand Touring Injection Mean

THE VOLKSWAGEN GOLF GTI TCR, 2019 MODEL: karlis dambrans

How Much Do GTI Volkswagens Cost

Time for a table!

2019 Trim LevelsPrice ($. MSRP)
Golf GTI S27,595
Golf GTI Rabbit Edition28,895
Golf GTI SE31,795
Golf Autobahn35,995

So, if you’re looking to get these models, prepare to pay as much.


So, there’s no difference between the VW Golf and the VW Rabbit. They’re birds of the same feather. Car companies experiment with names for the sake of brand recognition. And that’s what Volkswagen was doing.

Also, the line between GTI, Rabbit, and Golf is subtle. You’ll only see the differences if you pay attention to these specs:

1. Fuel economy

2. Number of cylinders

Engine power

Cargo volume

Maximum payload

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