• Apr 17, 2006

Given Volkswagen's recent announcement that it is pulling a Rabbit out of a hat Golf, and that Easter has just fallen off the calendar, we thought we'd remind readers that they can still purchase something very close to VeeDub's original bad bunny. That is, provided you call South Africa home.

In fact, Volkswagen's just announced that it's freshening the hot hatch icon. Known in SA as the Citi Golf, the 2006 facelift includes new rear light clusters and a reworked chin spoiler, among other alterations.

Inside, buyers and Windows-shoppers expecting the boxy hard-plastic first-gen era dashboard will be shocked to find that VW has massively updated the interior to appear more-or-less current. A split three-spoke steering wheel with metal-effect trim dominates the interior, and the instrument panel is slightly dated standard-VW fare, but SA consumers now have five new color choices from which to chose. Of course, the classic 'golf ball' shift knob has been retained.

(More photographs, information, and video links after the jump!)

With a starting price of 67,780 Rand (@ $11k U.S. dollars) and a 1.4-liter engine putting out 54 kW (74 horsepower) in base 'Chico' trim, the Volkswagen Citi Golf isn't cheap by American standards, but it is in line with local competition. Top-rung 1.6i models put out 101 horses and base at (around $16k U.S.). The pickup variant soldiers on in South Africa, as well.

From looking at Citi Golf, one might get the impression that VWSA's entire lineup is made up of Jurrasic castoffs, but interestingly enough, this Rabbit Redux shares showroom space with the current-generation Passat and Touareg. Perhaps this VW's less Rabbit and more Energizer Bunny, but its durability is nothing short of incredible. The reworked Citi Golf shown here is just now starting to hit dealer forecourts.

Check out these pre-facelift Citi Golf commercials, some of which trade on the 'Forever Young' theme:

Alright. So a few of us on the Autoblog staff have always had a soft spot for A1 GTIs with their sublime-for-the-day handling, hot hatch daddy rep and ridiculously cool tartan seat fabrics. This cinches it. We need a new project car.

[Source: Volkswagen South Africa]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      citi golf? I was wabbit hunting
      • 8 Years Ago
      "(the A1 Rabbit turns 21 this year)"

      The VW Rabbit was introduced in the US in 1974. Wouldn't that mean that it's now going into its 32nd year or production (in a somewhat more evolved form of course)?
      • 8 Years Ago
      The top photo clearly shows the rear end of an A1 Rabbit. Are saying that they based it on the A2 (which was introduced in the US in 1985) yet kept the A1 sheetmetal? Even the red one is clearly not from the A2 era of Golfs.

      (sorry for using the US dates here and I do understand that the Rabbit/Golf intros vary depending on which country we're talking about)

      On the other hand, I've always liked those cars and with the updated interior I'd give one some serious consideration were it to be sold here. If it were more throughly updated to take modern safety standards into consideration of course.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Does the new Rabbit retain the same hopping bunny logo?
      `78 still going strong
      • 8 Years Ago
      Oops, I meant to say "Caddy GTi"
      • 8 Years Ago
      wow, i would love to get that as a project car and send it to hpamotorsports to do a 3.2L 4Motion conversion. with a sub 2000lb curb weight, that thing would be amazing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      > SA decided to skip all the crap years of the Golf. Smart. Someone should really tell them the new one is worth lifting the ban for though.

      What ban? Nope, SA has had all the versions of Golfs, and many other models that have never made it to the US. VWSA was smart enough to realize that there's still a market for a minimum-frills, cheap(er), fun vehicle.
      http://www.vwsa.com/helpmechoose/
      • 8 Years Ago
      That Rabbit pickup could sell in the U.S. I know it failed last time out, but the idea of a unit body car based truck/ute is more welcome now. And I bet it great mileage.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sorry guys but the Citi Golf is based on the A2 Chassie used in the Golf II / Jetta II NOT on the A1 Rabbit(Golf I)/Jetta I platform.

      The A2 based Golf is also still produced in China but it's been given a front end facelift that looks something like a first generation Passat.

      Fact check, fact check, fact check...

      I own a 1990 Golf 1.8L 8v and I love it.

      --Noah
      • 8 Years Ago
      "nope, it's an A2, even though it totally looks like the A1 in the front and rear ends, compare the profile and the shape of the doors/windows with both old models."

      With all due respect, it's an A1. :) It's the same dimensions and weight as an A1. 2400mm wheelbase, (Mk2 is 2475mm). The web is your friend. Wikipedia has tons of info too.

      Pictures:
      VW Citi Golf:
      http://www.vwvortex.com/artman/uploads/004_009.jpg
      from:
      http://www.vwvortex.com/artman/publish/article_985.shtml

      Mk1 GTI:
      http://www.vwvortex.com/artman/uploads/004__scaled_600_044.jpg
      from:
      http://www.vwvortex.com/artman/publish/article_1685.shtml

      Mk2 GTI:
      http://www.vwvortex.com/artman/uploads/002__scaled_600_020.jpg
      from:
      http://www.vwvortex.com/artman/publish/article_877.shtml

      They wouldn't take an A2 Golf, shrink it, and put a new front and rear on it to make it look like an A1. :) Most telling is the rear of the Citi Golf (pre 2006 facelift) and the Mk1 GTI. Identical.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Here's a pretty good history of the Golf:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VW_Golf

      The version being discussed here is based on the A1.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ...and it's being built in South Africa since 1978, so the South African version is actually 28 years old.

      More shocking is the fact that VW in Brazil still builds the second gen. bus...this time with a rear mounted water-cooled 4 cylinder:

      http://www.mundovertical.com/utilidades/novakombi.htm
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