Vintage Vehicles

This cute Volkswagen cabrio was compared to a picnic basket but buyers loved it

The Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet is a classic convertible that has been forgotten by many.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Remember the simpler times? Before amusement in the car was measured by whether or not it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there was a tremendous amount of joy that people received just from having a car with a sunroof. Pop-up, pull-down, electrified - it was all good. Even more fun was had by those that were lucky enough to have a convertible.

The original Beetle was a popular cabriolet though the top didn't win many accolades. It was often ill-fitting and less rainproof than what is ideal. Owners found carwashes to be a perilous experience. Volkswagen sold 332,000 Beetle Convertibles worldwide.

Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet The model was beloved though its roof was not.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In 1976, Volkswagen replaced the Beetle with the first-generation Golf, which was known as the Rabbit in the U.S. But that wasn't good enough. VW wanted to make a Golf cabriolet with safer and affordability in mind. The result was the 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet with a five-layer roof that folded all the way back.

Globally, the model was sold under a number of different names and in a variety of special editions including the Wolfsburg models in the United States.

The Rabbit Cabriolet was the first model in its class to have a permanently installed roll bar attached to the B-pillar. This feature improved rollover protection and structural integrity, and quickly led to the model being compared to a picnic basket. However much fun of it people poked, they couldn't ignore its relative spaciousness and fuel efficiency.

Five years later the Rabbit was updated for its second generation and the Cabriolet received slight exterior updates though it kept its original underpinnings.

Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet The Volkswagen Rabbit Cabriolet was sold in the U.S. up until 2002.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen continued to sell the model in the U.S. through 1993 updating it over the years adding options like power windows and larger wheels. By the time production of the first-generation Cabriolet ended in 1993, Volkswagen had sold 388,552 of them worldwide.

The second-generation of the Cabriolet was launched in the U.S. in 1995 and included updates from the third-generation Golf as well as an available power roof with glass rear window. Buyers loved it and would make this version of the Cabriolet the best-selling convertible in the world with more than 600,000 produced over the next seven years.

In 2002, production of the model halted as customer preferences changed and safety regulations became more stringent.

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Interesting backstory

Volkswagen Bus part inspired popular dog toy

The classic VW Bus inspired one of the most popular dog toys of all time.

Volkswagen

Product designs sometimes take inspiration from the places we expect the least. Moments of genius are driven by finding solutions to unique problems, and as it turns out, that's exactly how we ended up with KONG. The beefy, durable dog chew toy is modeled after a Volkswagen Bus part.

Joe Markham's shop Markham needed a dog for security, but he unexpectedly got a chew-crazy pet.Volkswagen

KONG's inventor, Joe Markham, adopted a German Shepherd to help with security at his auto repair shop in downtown Denver, CO. The dog, while a great addition to the shop, came with a few bad habits. The dog's most worrisome hobby was chewing, which he would do with almost anything he could find, especially rocks. As you might imagine, chewing on rocks is not good for the dog's teeth. Markham needed a durable chew toy, but nothing seemed to work, from animal bones to radiator hoses.

The solution came from an unlikely place: While working on a 1960sVW Type 2 Bus, Markham discovered that the rubber axle stop made a perfect chew toy. The dog had gotten ahold of the rubber stop, and while he was chewing viciously, neither the stop nor his teeth were damaged.

The discovery led Markham to spend the next six years experimenting with various rubbers, sizes, and shapes for his dog toy. After working with rubber experts in Germany, the design was finalized and the KONG was born. The shape for the toy ended up being very close to that of the axle stop. The funky, bulbous design meant that the toy wouldn't bounce like a ball, and would instead flop around randomly, which is similar to the way that small animals run away from predators.

VW Bus axle stop The axle stop from a VW Bus inspired KONG's shape.Volkswagen

It's worth noting that you should not intentionally let your dog chew on any part of your vehicle. Even unused automotive parts can contain chemicals and other harmful materials that could make your dog sick or worse. This isn't a pitch to buy a KONG, just a warning about the hazards of car parts being used as dog toys.

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The new Tiguan sports an all-new front-end design.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Tiguan is an interesting compact SUV with a fun-to-drive personality and plenty of style. After 14 years on sale, the Tiguan is just in its second generation, but VW has given it a significant update for the 2022 model year that brings new tech, updated styling, and a refreshed interior.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan The rear has been massaged with new badging and standard LED taillights. Volkswagen

The restyled Tiguan is available in four trim levels: S, SE, and SE R-Line Black. All models get a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 184 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, but VW's 4Motion all-wheel drive can be optioned in.

Styling updates are the big story for the 2022 Tiguan. The front end is entirely new and carries design cues from the larger Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. LED headlights are now standard, and an illuminated light line is available for the SUV's grille. On the rear liftgate, the Tiguan model name lettering also mirrors that of the Atlas, with the name spelled out underneath the VW logo.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Most trims get an 8-inch touchscreen.Volkswagen

Inside, the Tiguan now comes standard with heated seats, while a heated steering wheel and ventilated seats are available. Cloth upholstery is standard, while mid-range trims get leatherette. The top SEL R-Line comes with leather and a perforated leather-wrapped sport steering wheel. Front-wheel drive models come standard with three rows of seating as well, making the Tiguan one of the more family-friendly vehicles in its class.

2022 Volkswagen Tiguan The top trim gets upscale leather upholstery.Volkswagen

The base Tiguan S comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen running Volkswagen's excellent MIB 2 software, but all others get MIB 3 infotainment software running on a glass-covered 8.0-inch touchscreen. The automaker notes that it's a capacitive touch system, which functions more like a smartphone than other infotainment systems, which sometimes require pressure to register a touch input. All Tiguans get a digital gauge cluster with an 8-inch display, while the top SEL R-Line upgrades to a 10.25-inch configurable gauge cluster that offers full-screen navigation and other views.

Pricing for the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $25,995 for the base S trim with front-wheel drive. Adding all-wheel drive pushes the prices to $27,495. All Tiguan models will see a $1,195 destination charge tacked on at the bottom line.

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