Our Cars: Thunder Bunny's New Kicks

2007 Volkswagen Rabbit This Candy White 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit, owned by my wife, is affectionately known as the Thunder Bunny. It’s served faithfully as our daily driver for the past six years, an end of the year model that stuck around the lot until 2008 when we ran across it in just the right color and options (white, like my father in law’s Mk.I Rabbit). It had everything but wheels, which we said we’d get “eventually.” Eventually took some time. 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit Starting back six months ago, it was developing a rumbling noise over 65mph, but as of this past weekend, that’s now gone. And “eventually” has become “finally.” The excellent, but now worn-out Yokohama Avid Envigors in the factory 195/65R15 size on basic 15”x6” steelies and wheel covers were replaced with some new 17″x8″ OZ Racing Ultraleggeras wearing Continental ExtremeContact DW in a 225/45R17. 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit The focus on this car is fast road fun and daily driven safety. For a factory car of its time, it was hard to beat the comfort and handling of a VW Rabbit, or Golf as it is now known, so emphasis has been on keeping good tires on it and Hawk HPS performance brake pads pushed together with Motul DOT 5.1 brake fluid. Go-fast bits are minimal at just a K&N drop in filter, but it’s got adequate power and a healthy amount of torque for mostly city driving at 150hp and 170lbft. Suspension is stock for now until the shocks wear out, but cornering performance feels on par with my previous Mitsubishi Lancer that had a Progress rear sway bar and Tein coilovers. The ride is relatively silent and more importantly the grip is back. It’s surprising how much brake efficiency is determined by the condition of the tires. 2007 Volkswagen Rabbit Not so surprising is how the right wheels and tires can set a car off and really make it pop.   Flickr slideshow available here. [Disclosure: There is a Rocket Bunny body kit in existence but this nickname coincidentally pre-dates its existence and has no relation to it or the company that produces it. These photographs were taken on the first warm day of May on the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Florida.]  Photos Copyright 2014 Hooniverse/Bryce Womeldurf

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