The Mark 1 VW Rabbit was sold as a 3 or 5 door hatchback. In some markets, it was also sold as a 2 door convertible or 2 door pickup truck. Try to imagine this car as a pickup truck. Uggh. The Rabbit was a front wheeld drive car and was water cooled. The engine was an I4, although there were several different options there depending on the market it was in. Many places even got the I4 diesel option, a very fuel efficient car.
The Volkswagen Rabbit was not as well received in the United States as it should have been, and there were some good reasons for that. For one, the VW Rabbit was an inferior car to the VW Golf being sold in other markets. The American car had a soft suspension and a really cheap and tacky interior. Volkswagen purists - and there are plenty of them - felt like they were getting gipped just because they were American, and they were right. Following 1983, Volkswagen would correct their mistakes and make the Rabbit more like the Golf they sold elsewhere. They even made the popular GTI performance model for the first time for the American market.
The new VW Rabbit was first sold in the United States in 2006, although it has been sold in other markets since 2003. It is sold as a value option for VW fans. The U.S. model gets an I5 engine with more horsepower than is available in some other markets with the I4 engine. Despite fantastic reviews, the Rabbit is due to be replaced by the Mark VI Golf in 2009 or 2010, after just a few short years in production in the U.S.
As I mentioned before, Volkswagens tend to have their followers. For that reason, they retain their value better than many other cars. If you would like to buy a used VW Rabbit, I suggest checking out the listings on eBay. You'll find better deals there than in your local newspaper.