Curbside Outtake: Diesel Rabbit “Trailhawk 4×4” – The Spiritual Antecedent To My xBox

I have been noticing lifted little FWD cars for some time now, and they undoubtedly were something of an inspiration to lifting my xBox. I ran into this bright blue diesel Rabbit a month or so back, and added it to my collection. Speaking of collections, I bet I’ve shot and posted a good dozen or more diesel Rabbits over the years. There’s still more to find, but a “Trailhawk 4×4” edition is not likely to be repeated.

Here’s the Trailhawk part.

And the 4×4 part.

My favorite one is this Golf “SUVW”, which I posted back in 2016, and saw regularly out our popular close-by trailhead parking lot for a couple of more years before it fell…off a cliff. Or maybe moved away.

When I first saw it, I thought maybe someone had brought over one of the very rare “Country” AWD Golfs only sold in Europe. But the self-aware “No Country” sign on the roof top carrier made it clear that it was just a pretender. That’s a pretty healthy lift. I just finished mine, and took it for a bit of a drive in the country, and it feels about like I expected: a bit less planted, but not at all problematic or scary. I took it through some fast sweepers at ever higher speeds to make sure it was not going to do something untoward.

This one could use some wheels and tires that are a bit more mission-appropriate. With 54 hp under the hood, it’s not going to be charging up steep hillsides at great speed, but the key is in getting there.

This one has the four speed. I’m trying to remember how the gearing worked in these diesel Rabbits: was the 5-speed the same plus an overdrive fifth, or where the intermediate gears a bit different too? It’s too late to dig that up right now. And does anyone care?

This looks to be a 1.5″ lift like mine; maybe 2″.

And as to the spiritual antecedent part, the xB does remind me very much of a gen1 Golf/Rabbit, with a taller and roomier body. But not the diesel version; I’m thinking more like a good-running FI 1600 (78 hp) or even the 90 hp GTI. The engine is willing, the steering is tight, the handling…was superb. But now they’re both ready for some new and different adventures.