That all changed in 1975 when the automaker exported the Rabbit to the United States. This compact hatchback with a small engine and light curb weight hit the market at exactly the right time. Americans were reeling from the effects of an energy crisis, one which saw gasoline prices skyrocket. On top of that, recently introduced EPA regulations had choked domestic car engines with pollution-restricting gear, lowering horsepower and increasing fuel consumption. The nimble and economical Rabbit leapt into the hearts of thousands of buyers looking to break the cycle of extreme fuel costs.
By the middle of the 1980’s, the Rabbit was reaching the end of its first generation and was close to being replaced by the Golf. Engine options had matured to the point where buyers could choose either the base model or a sportier GTI edition. The standard Rabbit featured a 1.6 liter, 4-cylinder engine that produced just 65 horsepower – not much by drag strip standards, but more than enough to get from point A to point B using as little gas as possible. The GTO upgraded to 1.8 liter 4-banger that cranked out a much healthier 90 horses. A 5-speed manual transmission was the gearbox of choice for both vehicles, although that which was fitted to the GTI featured closer ratios for more spirited acceleration. Even in its performance-oriented trim, the Rabbit GTI was still capable of turning in an impressive 30 miles per gallon in highway driving – not bad for technology that is over 20 years old. While the engines found in the Rabbit have held up well, rust is typical of most of the body shells, particularly in colder, wetter states like Washington.
The Volkswagen Rabbit has achieved somewhat of a cult status amongst collectors and Volkswagen enthusiasts, and that was before it was Jacob Black's car in Twilight. There are tens of thousands of these vehicles out there on the roads, so it is easy to source parts for and also quite easy to work on – something Jacob Black surely appreciates. A convertible version was also released, known as the Cabriolet, and it continues to find a strong audience in the used car market even after several decades.
Jacob's Volkswagen Rabbit is one of the lesser appreciated cars in the Twilight Saga but it is stilled loved by everyone on Team Jacob. Jacob also gets a Harley Sprint and the keys to Edward's Aston Martin V12 Vanquish.