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2001 Volkswagen Cabrio REVIEW

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 4/6/2017

Con: Sluggish off-the-line power, dated styling, limited storage space.

Pro: Germanic ride and handling, standard side airbags and ABS, glass rear window, exceptional warranty.

Edmunds Say: A fun-in-the-sun ride. If it's good enough for Gidget, it's good enough for you.

What’s New: A top-of-the-line GLX trim level has been added to the existing lineup for 2001. All models get an anti "trunk entrapment" button to keep people from getting stuck in the cargo hold.

Review: Volkswagen's Cabrio is good fun. A four-seat convertible with simple good looks, spry performance and premium sound, the Golf-based drop-top is the perfect summertime cruiser. Road feel is superb, and the thick four-spoke steering wheel falls readily to hand. At high speeds, the VW feels solid and sure; this is a car that will get you speeding tickets, if you're not careful. Handling is excellent, in the Volkswagen tradition. The chassis and suspension communicate clearly with the driver, and Cabrio's multi-adjustable seats are comfortable. All Cabrios come with a fixed integrated rollbar and a stout top, sporting six layers and latching tightly to the windshield header. Three trim levels are available for 2001: value-packed GL, mid-level GLS and high-end GLX. All three come with CFC-free air conditioning, ABS, an AM/FM stereo with CD changer pre-wiring, a glass rear window with defogger, side airbags and an anti-theft system. The GL has a vinyl top and a leather-covered steering wheel, while GLS models add power windows, power mirrors, heated seats, cruise control and a cloth top. Pop for the GLX, and you get all of the GLS' features plus a power top, leather seating, newly designed 14-inch wheels and foglights. For 2001, all Cabrios receive an anti-entrapment button that allows individuals to escape from the trunk.

All models are powered by the same 115-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that motivated previous-generation ragtops. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard and an automatic tranny is optional. Despite its 122 foot-pounds of torque, this inline four is no barnstormer and will feel downright sluggish underfoot if mated to the automatic. Nonetheless, the latest Cabrio is a solid, refined and comfortable ride, whether cruising at highway speeds or clipping apexes on your favorite mountain road. Capable underpinnings include MacPherson struts and an antiroll bar that controls front-end movement, while Volkswagen's own "independent track-correcting torsion-beam rear axle" keeps the Cabrio's hindquarters in line. This suspension is complemented by a perfectly weighted, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering system that offers excellent turn-in and fantastic feedback.

Inside the Cabrio, you'll find classy chrome accents and an instrument panel that illuminates with indigo blue and red lighting. Climate and radio controls are within easy reach and have a logical layout. Front seats offer substantial bolstering, firm padding and a wide range of adjustments to satisfy drivers of all sizes. This is one of the few small cars we've driven recently that had front legroom to spare. The Cabrio imparts a sense of class and sophistication, and with a conservative price tag, a fantastic 2-year/24,000-mile new vehicle warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, two years of free roadside assistance and free scheduled maintenance during the first two years or 24,000 miles of ownership, we think this Volkswagen will appeal to those who appreciate a capable drop-top.

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