2007 Volkswagen Rabbit

VW's new entry level model for 2007, the Rabbit (which replaces the Golf) is priced just under $15k to start and comes in two bodystyles, a two-door hatchback or four door hatchback. Both versions come standard with an all-new 2.5 liter, five-cylinder engine producing 150 horsepower. Transmission choices include a standard 5-speed manual or, optionally, a six-speed automatic. Unlike the previous generation Golf, a diesel engine is not on the options list for 2007. All Rabbits are front-wheel-drive and there is just one basic trim level, regardless of bodystyle. Air conditioning and an eight-speaker stereo with CD player and MP3 capability are standard, but electronic stability control is optional. Traction control, ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, front-side and full-length curtain/head airbags are also included in the '07 Rabbit's base price.

2007 Volkswagen GTI

The first GTI -- a hot rodded version of the Rabbit econo-box -- appeared back in 1983, at a time when economy cars that were also fun to drive cars were virtually nonexistent. The GTI is an all-new model for '07 -- and many generations removed from its ancestor -- but the animating spirit is the same. Like the '07 Rabbit it is based upon, the new GTI can be ordered in both two and four-door hatchback bodystyles but comes standard with a 2.0 liter, 200 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine working through either a standard six-speed manual transmission or Direct Shift six-speed gearbox, a type of manual where the driver controls gear changes but the clutchwork is handled automatically. All GTIs come equipped with 18-inch wheels and performance tires, high-capacity brakes, sport suspension, metal-trimmed pedals and monochromatic exterior paint schemes -- in addition to air conditioning, cruise control and electric rear defroster. The standard safety equipment package includes anti-whiplash head restraints, a tire pressure monitoring system, front-side and curtain air bags as well as electronic stability control

2007 Volkswagen Eos

An all-new model for VW, the Eos is a four-seat retractable hardtop coupe -- scheduled to arrive at dealerships this fall. With a base price of just under $28k, it is also the least expensive retractable hardtop coupe on the market, undercutting Pontiac's G6 on both price and sport-performance credentials. Two engine choices are available in the Eos -- a 2.0 liter, 200 horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder or (optionally) a 250 horsepower version of VW's 3.2 liter V-6. Both engines may be ordered with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. It's possible a diesel engine option (available in European and otjer markets) may arrive later in the model year. Sixteen-inch wheels and an active, pop-up roll bar are among the standard features. According to VW, the power-actuated folding top takes about 25 seconds to lower and tuck away underneath its cover. Like other retractable hardtops, buyers should be aware that trunk space is compromised when the top is lowered, but there is a pass-through from the trunk area to the cabin that allows items that might not otherwise fit to be stored for the ride. Stability and traction control are standard -- as are head/thorax air bags which deploy from the front seats. These ar designed to provide the same kind of protection to the head and upper body that would otherwise be provided by curtain-style air bags (which can't be built into a retractable hardtop/convertible).

2007 Volkswagen Jetta

The current version of VW's Jetta compact sedan was introduced a little more than a year ago (in mid-2005) so the '07 version is mostly a carryover. There are a few changes to report, though -- including a significant price cut of more than $1,400 in the price of the base model (down to $16,490 vs. $17,900) and the addition of Apple iPod connectivity to the audio systems, so you can download/play your favorite hits. On the downside for fans of frugality, the TDI diesel option has disappeared (though it may return later in 2007). Engine lineup for the start of the new model year is limited to the two gas-burning engines, the same basic 2.5 liter, 150-horse in-line five also used in the Rabbit and, as the step-up option, the same basic 200 horsepower turbocharged 2.0 liter four used in the GTI. Buyers can select a five-or-six-speed manual with either engine (though not on all trim levels), or a six-speed automatic. A Direct Shift six-speed "clutchless" manual transmission can also be chosen with the 2.0 liter engine. A Jetta strong point has been (and remains) a relatively roomy interior and trunk relative to the car's exterior size. It offers almost mid-sized accommodations (including a 16 cubic foot trunk) in addition to a wide range of trim levels and options, ranging from the base (but decently equipped base and PZEV) model all the way through the sport-themed 2.0T and luxury-sport appointed GLI, which comes with features like Xenon headlights, 17-inch wheels and metallic interior trim, among other upgrades. All '07 Jettas feature front seat side-impact air bags, full-length curtain/head air bags and ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution. Electronic stability control is optional on the base and mid-trim models, standard on GLI.

2007 New Beetle

Though it still looks pretty much the same on the outside, VW's New Beetle now comes with just one engine -- the same 2.5 liter, in-line five that is also used in the Rabbit and Jetta. As in those models, it is rated at 150 horsepower and works through either a 5-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The 1.9 liter TDI diesel engine has been dropped from the roster -- along with the formerly available turbocharged 1.8 liter gas engine. That means there is no longer a "performance version" of this model (or an "ultra-economy" version) as in previous years. All New Beetles are front-wheel-drive. As in prior years, buyers may choose either hardtop coupe or convertible bodystyles. In 2006, both the exterior and interior of the New Beetle received some cosmetic tweaks, including revised front and rear fascias, fenders and side sills -- with elongated and restyled head and taillights and horizontal reverse light . Inside, you'll notice new chrome trim around the air vents and a redesigned instrument cluster, plus a revised center console features larger cupholders. Leatherette seating trim is now included, with full leather upholstery optional. VW's Electronic Stability Program is now standard across the line, along with traction control and ABS. Though it's been out there for awhile, like its namesake and ancestor, the Beetle has a timeless appeal that few other cars can match. It surprisingly roomy on the inside and the as-it-sits version is well-equipped, with standard AC, 16x6.5-inch wheels and a 10-speaker stereo with CD player.

2007 Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen's mid-sized sedan received a complete makeover for the 2006 model year; changes for 2007 include the introduction of a wagon version and the availability of Adaptive Cruise Control -- a system that automatically adjusts vehicle speed to compensate for changing traffic flow. The '07 Passat has 2.4-inches more rear-seat legroom than the previous generation Passat as well as an available 280 horsepower 3.2 liter V-6 and optional 4-Motion all-wheel-drive. The standard Passat engine is a 2.0 liter, turbocharged four-cylinder developing 200 horsepower. It can be teamed with either a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic with Tiptronic manual-shift capability. The V-6 comes only with the six-speed automatic -- but is about a second faster to 60 mph than the four-cylinder/manual transmission version of the Passat, which gets there in about 7.6 seconds. High-tech features abound on the Passat, including electro-assisted power steering, adaptive Bi-Xenon HID lighting and active head restraints to limit the potential for whiplash injury. Available equipment includes a premium Dynaudio sound system sourced from the Danish audiophile company of the same name. It is custom designed for the Passat. Front side and full-length head/curtain air bags are standard; side airbags for back seat passengers are optional. The Passat is a great choice in the entry-luxury/sport segment -- especially when ordered with the optional 3.2 liter V-6 engine.

2007 Touareg

Volkswagen's full-size SUV shares platforms and certain components with the Porsche Cayenne but has VW-specific engines, including the standard 3.6 liter, 276 horsepower V6 engine and optional 4.2 liter V-8. For 2007, the Touareg gets freshened with revised head and tail-lights, as well as the addition of a new-design navigation system with pop-up display. Big news for fans of the massively torquey diesel V-10 is the pending 50 state availability of this engine, which previously was limited to states where it could pass local emissions laws. New low-sulfur content diesel fuel helps the V-10 make the cut nationally. The gas 4.2 liter V-8 remains in the lineup as well -- offering 310 horsepower. A six-speed automatic is used with all engines. Unlike the surging crop of light-duty, car-based "crossover" SUVs, the Touareg offers a heavy-duty four-wheel-drive system with low range gearing and available locking differential. Properly equipped, a Touareg can also tow more than 7,000 lbs. While the Touareg is a legitimate off-roader, it also behaves in a more car-like manner than do many truck-based SUVs. A rear air suspension is available to further soften the ride and VW's Servotronic power steering makes handling this large truck easier as well. The Touareg comes standard with front side and head/curtain airbags, Electronic Stability Program, traction control, 17-inch wheels, dual zone climate control, heated leatherette seats, tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a 10-speaker stereo system with CD player.