What exactly is the VW Fox?

Here you'll find some detailed information about the VW Fox

A Brief History:

"The VW Fox was intrusted to Italy's Giorgietto Giugiaro.  He is also the same man who designed the Audi Fox and the VW Dasher.  The Dasher started production in 1973 just as the Type 3 was coming to an end.  The Dasher shared mechanical specifications with the Audi Fox.  The VW was a fastback and 173.1 in. long.  This is 10 in. longer than the Audi Fox.  He kept the same type of suspension and the longitudinal engine that the Audi Fox had.  The idea for the longitudinal engine comes from the Mercedes-Benz designed Audi 100 in 1966."
Info taken from Volkswagen Buyer's Guide, by Peter Vack 1993.
[Thanks to Mike for the info.]
Here's is Italdesign's official web page.  This is the company run by Giorgietto Giugiaro.  I strongly urge anyone with automotive interested to spend some time looking through their web page.  I didn't realize so many cars were designed by Italdesign!

The first BX-platform car went into production in 1980 in Brazil.  The first Brazilian models were powered by a 4-cyl aircooled boxer engine (mounted at the front) borrowed from the Beetle;  the 4-cyl gasoline engine which we got in the Fox was introduced shortly thereafter, albeit in a carburated form.  Although the VW Fox was essentially the same as it's Brazilian couterparts, many modifications were made before it was brought to the North American market.  "Development of these vehicles started in December, 1983 for the United States.  To aid in development, pilot fleet vehicles were sent to the United States and Canada for testing and evaluation.  Over 2,400,000 miles have been driven to ensure quality and reliability." (from "Volkswagen Fox Service Training", VW Part # WSP 521 143 00)  In a very lucky coincidence, I have seen one of these test vehicles in person, and have more information and pictures here.

For more information about the history of the Fox and other BX-platform cars from Brazil, please click here (coming soon).

Available models:
In North America, the Volkswagen Fox was available in 3 different body styles:  2-door sedan, 4-door sedan and 2-door station wagon.  Brazil and other countries in the Americas also had a 2-door pickup version as well as a 2-door hatchback.

Sales started in 1986 (for the 1987 model year) in both the USA and Canada, and at that time only the 2-door sedan and 4-door sedan models were available.  For the 1988 model year, the 2-door station wagon was added to the lineup, and the 3 models were available through 1990.  Starting from the 1991 model year (with a few exceptions, which will be described later on), the styling was somewhat altered, and the station wagon was no longer available.  Furthermore, the 4-door sedan version was dropped from the Canadian model line up starting in 1991.  Sales of the 2-door sedan in Canada continued until 1992, at which point the Fox was no longer available.   The USA got both the 2-door and 4-door models through the 1993 model year.

A "Wolfsburg edition" Fox was also available, but unlike other Volkswagens from the past that were branded "Wolfsburg edition", the Fox was still built in Brazil (and not at the Wolfsburg plant in Germany).  Incidentally throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s other Volkswagens branded "Wolfsburg edition" were also made outside of Germany, thereby losing the special designation which the Wolfsburg emblems once stood for.

The Fox was available in several model extensions:  a base model (just badged "Fox"), Fox GL, Fox GTS, Fox GLS, Fox GL Sport, Fox Polo, and the above-noted Wolfsburg Edition.  There was never a "GTI" model available in North America.  Also of note is the fact that all Foxes had the same engine and power rating.

The styling change:
A styling change occured starting in the 1991 model year.  1987-1990 Foxes had one look to them, and 1991-1993 had a slightly altered one.  The differences were purely cosmetic - front (fenders, rad support, hood, grille, headlights and turn signals), rear (taillights, and license plate backing trim on GL models), a different font for the "Fox" badge, a "Volkswagen" badge on 1987-1990 models versus a large "VW in a circle" logo in 1991-1993, and on the inside, approximately in 1989 a different, safer dashboard with a knee bar was introduced.

Earlier (1987-1990) Foxes can be converted to look like the later ones, but it involves swapping all of the parts over (i.e. the hood, fenders and rad support need to be switched over, if one wants the newer headlights and turn signals).

Other notable differences:

2-door 4-door  2-door wagon
1991 Fox Here is one of the oddities I mentioned above.  This car is as it came from the factory (with the exception of the rim).  The front has earlier-style headlights, while the rear has later-style taillights.
1991 Fox Here is a picture from an official VW Fox broshure.  Note that the front headlights are the later style, while the taillights and the earlier-style.
[The actual pictures will be posted soon.]
Available options:
The Fox didn't have many options to choose from: .
Engine and transmission specifications:
The only engine available was a 1.8L 8v gasoline powerplant.  It varied somewhat throughout the Fox's model years, but remained essentially the same.  The engine carried 3 different engine codes, although there were also some minor changes between engines branded with the same code.
Engine Code -->
Engine type
Fuel-injected, gasoline,
inline 4-cylinder, 
mounted longitudinally
Fuel-injected, gasoline,
inline 4-cylinder, 
mounted longitudinally
Fuel-injected, gasoline,
inline 4-cylinder, 
mounted longitudinally
1781 cc (1.8 L)
(109 cu. in.)
1781 cc (1.8L)
(109 cu. in.)
1781 cc (1.8L)
(109 cu. in.)
Bore x stroke
81.0 mm x 86.4 mm
(3.19 in. x 3.40 in.)
81.0 mm x 86.4 mm
(3.19 in. x 3.40 in.)
81.0 mm x 86.4 mm
(3.19 in. x 3.40 in.)
38 mm intake /
33 mm exhaust
hydraulic valve lifters
38 mm intake /
33 mm exhaust
hydraulic valve lifters
40 mm intake /
33mm exhaust
hydraulic valve lifters
Compression Ratio:
9.0:1 9.0:1 9.0:1
Fuel injection type
CIS CIS-E Digifant I or II (see notes below)
81 HP @ 5500 RPM
93 ft. lbs. @ 3250 RPM
81 HP @ 5500 RPM
93 lb. ft. @ 3250 RPM
83 HP @
xx lb. ft. @
65 amp (non-A/C)
90 amp (cars with A/C)
65 amp (non-A/C)
90 amp (cars with A/C)
65 amp (non-A/C)
90 amp (cars with A/C)
"UM" was Canada-only.
The differences include:
- CIS fuel injection
- no catalytic converter
- no oxygen sensor

No knock sensor.

No knock sensor. California cars had Dignfant I,
which stores error codes and has an EGR.

All others (both Canada and USA) were
Digifant II.

6000 RPM redline.

Like all other Foxes, no knock sensor is present.

Other specifications:
Overall length
(bumper to bumper)
4151 mm (all)
Wheelbase 2358 mm (all)
Front wheel track 1349 mm (all)
Rear wheel track 1370 mm (all)
Overall width 1601 mm (2d and 4d)
1622 mm (wagon)
Overall height 1362 mm (2d and 4d)
1379 mm (wagon)
Turning circle 9.70 m
(3.65 turns lock to lock)
~33.5 ft.
Ground clearance (with
gross vehicle weight)
5.5 in.
Curb weight 2,006 lbs (2d)
2,072 lbs (4d)
2,094 lbs (wagon)
Front Brakes 239 mm solid rotors 9.4" solid rotors
Rear Brakes 180 mm drums (2d and 4d)
200mm drums (wagon)
Rims / tires
(stock sizes)
Steel rims:
5Jx13H2 ET 45 with 155/80-13 (2d)
5.5Jx13H2 ET 45 with 175/70-13 (4d and wagon)

Fox Wolfsburg aluminum rims:
5.5Jx13H2 ET38 with 175/70-13

Fuel tank 47 liters 12.7 gallons
Cooling system 5.8 liters
6.2 liters (with A/C)
6.4 quarts
6.9 quarts (with A/C)
Engine Oil 3.5 liters (with filter change)
3.0 liters (without filter change)
~1.0L (amount between low 
and high on the dipstick)
3.7 quarts (with filter change)
3.2 quarts (without filter change)
Transmission fluid 1.6 liters 1.7 quarts
Windshield washer fluid 1.4 quarts
How is the Fox different from other Volkswagens? Credits
Please E-mail me with comments and additions
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