2019 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, fuel system, engine and transmission issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners


2019 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI

Many people immediately fall in love with the look of a 2019 Volkswagen GTI. There’s a unique appearance to this hatchback that truly sets it apart from its competition. The company’s slogan for this car is “Raw Power. Fully-Cooked.” While we agree that this vehicle has some raw power, it’s the lack of function that causes us to dislike it. In fact, the power is anything but cooked, because many people can’t seem to get it going in the first place.

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Powertrain

As we move on, we see more of the same issues, but this time with people classifying it as a powertrain concern. A lot of the confusion stems from the automaker not addressing the problems. No one really knows what the root cause is.

One owner wrote this on Edmunds, “Just picked one up Jun 27. Within a few days the car began stalling at low speed stops in neutral, and in gear with clutch depressed. After reading various online threads it is clear this is a systemic issue with all trims of the 2019 GTI. VW does not have a fix yet.”

Do you think the company addressed this problem either? If you said no, you are correct. What they did take their time to do was issue Tech Bulletin #TT 34 18 01 which instructs their staff how to fill a transmission with fluid. Honestly, if the automaker needs to share this information with their mechanics, we have to wonder if they know anything about cars in the first place.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW GTI Transmission Problems:

I PURCHASED A 2019 GTI RABBIT EDITION 6MT. CAR STALLS WHILE COMING TO A STOP IN NEUTRAL. ALSO STALLS STARTING FROM A STOP WHILE IN 1ST GEAR WITH CLUTCH FULLY DEPRESSED. CAR SHUTS OFF QUIETLY, DOESN’T SOUND/FEEL LIKE NORMAL STALLING. HAD THIS PROBLEM SINCE THE FIRST DAY I BROUGHT THE CAR HOME FROM THE DEALERSHIP AND KNOW OF MANY OTHERS EXPERIENCING THE SAME THING.

VEHICLE FREQUENTLY STALLS WHILE COMING TO A STOP, WITH CLUTCH DEPRESSED, OR IN NEUTRAL GEAR. ENGINE SPUTTERS AND RPMS DROP TO 0. CAR HAS TO BE MANUALLY RESTARTED. NO WARNING LIGHTS APPEAR ON SCREEN. SEEMS TO HAPPEN IN GROUPS. AFTER THE FIRST TIME IT HAPPENS IT REPEATS THROUGHOUT THE DURATION OF THE DRIVE.

WHEN COMING TO A STOP IN 1ST OR WHILE STOPPED AT A LIGHT IN NEUTRAL, THE CAR WILL STALL OUT.

Engine

Of all the complaints you will see regarding this car, they all relate back to the engine. The engine provides no reliability whatsoever and continues to leave motorists confused about what’s causing the issues.

One writer on the NHTSA website said, “Engine stalls when coming to a stop specifically in warmer weather. The car can be in first or neutral when it stalls. It feels like the auto stop feature in some automatic cars. My model is manual. The speedometer says anywhere from 0-8 mph when it loses power. It is very subtle and at first, I didn’t even notice until I started to accelerate at a green light. I have a 15 mile commute. The first 10 miles consist of some city driving to get to the highway—no problems there. After getting off the highway, every stop I made (approximately 10), the car stalled. It does immediately restart with the start button.”

Surprisingly, the company is extremely quiet regarding any trouble with the engine. That’s interesting considering they’ve issued three separate bulletins related to what engine oils are acceptable in their motors. For a company that’s so focused on details such as oil, you would think notice would have been given about cars that stall when stopped. Apparently, that’s not as important as what lubricant you put in.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW GTI Engine Problems:

2019 VW GTI S WITH THE 6 SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION IN WHITE. THE CAR STALLS OUT. IT HAPPENS WHEN IT’S IN NEUTRAL, AS I COME TO A STOP (NOT IN GEAR, AND THE CLUTCH IS NOT DEPRESSED). IT STALLS OUT THE WAY A CAR WOULD STALL WHEN YOU COME TO A STOP WHEN YOU ARE IN GEAR. THE CAR WAS JUST PURCHASED 7 DAYS AGO. IT CURRENTLY HAS 105 MILES ON IT AND THIS HAS HAPPENED 5 DIFFERENT TIMES.

Fuel Propulsion System

Is it any wonder what we will find in the fuel propulsion system complaints on this car? It shouldn’t be. Many owners think it’s a fuel problem causing the stalling, and it could be. We wouldn’t know because up until now, there’s been no word from the automaker.

This owner wrote the following information on the NHTSA website, “Bought a new 2019 VW GTI Rabbit Edition in 6 speed manual. The vehicle stalls and has stalled at least 10 times and I’ve had it for 2 days. It’s very concerning. I’ve made an appointment to take it in, and I’ve called VW Customer Care to let them know. It happens while coming to a stop, has happened in the middle of the intersection.”

It won’t surprise you that there are no service bulletins related to the fuel system either. We hope this owner got the help needed when it went to the shop. We are certain the mechanics knew what oil to use and how to fill the transmission fluid, so everything should have gone fine.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW GTI Fuel System Problems:

BOUGHT A NEW 2019 VW GTI RABBIT EDITION IN 6 SPEED MANUAL. THE VEHICLE STALLS AND HAS STALLED AT LEAST 10 TIMES AND I’VE HAD IT FOR 2 DAYS. ITS VERY CONCERNING. I’VE MADE AN APPOINTMENT TO TAKE IT IN, AND I’VE CALLED VW CUSTOMER CARE TO LET THEM KNOW. IT HAPPENS WHILE COMING TO A STOP, HAS HAPPENED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION.

Electrical

We are left with one more area that owners of the GTI continue to complain – the electrical system. This time around, it’s not related to the equipment in the car or the battery, but back to the engine.

This user wrote on the NHTSA website, “Car will stall every other day or so. May also stall twice in one day.Seems to be more common when it’s warmer out. It stalls in neutral or in gear with clutch depressed when slowing down to a stop. Already had it to the dealer twice. Still stalls.”

Now if this owner had needed oil or a transmission fluid change, we think everything would have worked out well. Too bad what was needed was some expert diagnostics that VW doesn’t seem to give freely. In fact, almost every complaint regarding this car (and there are a lot of them) goes back to the engine that stalls. Whether it is an engine, powertrain, fuel or electrical system problem, the world may never know. All we do believe is that this isn’t the raw power you are hoping for.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2019 VW GTI Electrical Problems:

I HAVE BEEN DRIVING MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS FOR ALMOST 10 YEARS. I HAVE HAD THE CAR STALL ON ME THREE TIMES WHILE MOVING AT LOW SPEEDS WHILE IN FIRST GEAR, SPECIFICALLY WHEN PARKING AND WE STARTING TO MOVE AGAIN FROM A STOP AT A LIGHT. THE ENGINE SHUTS OFF ALMOST AS IF THE ENGINE’S START/STOP FEATURE ENGAGED, NOT LIKE A TYPICAL STALL. THE CAR IS BRAND NEW WITH 350 MILES AS OF TODAY WHEN IT HAPPENED FOR THE THIRD TIME.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes VW pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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2 COMMENTS
  • Toby D

    I bought a 2019 VW Rabbit GTI. Im having the problems with stalling, in addition to electrical problems. Ive contacted VW, and have brought the car in, but they refuse to do anything. I need legal representation. Thank you

  • Greg

    April 2019 – I had this issue, they scanned my car and saw it was partially still in transport mode. They put it back into transport mode and then removed it. I have not stalled since and it happened 8 times in 6 days of taking delivery which was ~300 miles and I am just shy of 1200 now. I opened a ticket with VW so it was documented.

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