Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Volkswagen Citi Golf

The Volkswagen Citi Golf was a car produced by Volkswagen in South Africa from 1984 until 21 August 2009. It was a face-lifted version of the original Volkswagen Golf Mk1 hatchback, which ceased production in Germany in 1983. The car was produced only with right-hand drive.

History: Volkswagen South Africa (VWSA) assembled the Mk1 Golf from 1978 to 1984 when it was replaced by the Golf Mk2. VWSA however decided to retain the Mk1 as an affordable, locally manufactured entry-level car. Tooling mostly came from the Volkswagen Westmoreland Assembly Plant when it ceased production there in 1988.

The original Citigolf was available in a limited range of solid (non-metallic) colours (a fact highlighted in the contemporary advertising campaign which used a tagline "Red, Yellow, Blue... Not Green!"). The early cars were distinguished by white bumpers and wheels, as well as white appliqués carrying the CITIGOLF and CITI graphics mounted on the lower door panels and on the tailgate.

Initially, the bodywork was identical to that of the superseded Mk1 Golf, but a locally penned facelift gave it a sloping grille, similar to that of the Mk2 model Golf, as well as more modern "deep" bumpers in body colour.

In 2004, the Citi Golf received a facelift that included a new dashboard lifted from the Škoda Fabia, as well as larger front passenger windows. Until a further facelift in the second quarter of 2006, it sported tail-lights similar to post-1980 Euro Mk1s. The 2006 facelift saw modifications to the front bumper (adding a second grille in the lower half) as well as new, unique-to-South-Africa taillights incorporating a circular inset taillight–brakelight combination.
A sedan version called the Fox (Volkswagen Jetta A1) was also produced, along with a coupé utility called the Caddy.

The Citi Golf and the Caddy are no longer in production but VWSA still has stock. VWSA now also produces the Golf Mk5, Jetta Mk5, the European VW Polo hatchback and its Brazilian sedan derivative. The Citi Golf was intended to complement this range as an entry-level vehicle.
"Special Edition" Citi Golfs carrying unique trim and equipment combinations have been released throughout the car's production run and include the "Designa", the "Blues", the "Ritz", the "Rhythm" and the "Citi.com" which, in theory, was available only if ordered over the Internet.

Another special edition called the "Deco" introduced colour-coded leather seats to the car in 1995. It was available in three derivatives, namely red, green and a special electric blue. The latter was initially only offered on the Citi but was later transferred to other Volkswagen models as well. The "VeloCiti" model, which included the 1.8iR, was one of the best sellers. Other limited editions included the Citi Billabong and Citi Xcite. The most recent special edition is the "GTS", which takes its cues from the original GTS.

The Citi Golf was, for a time, also available in a 1.8-litre CTi variant with Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection (at a time when other versions still had carburettor engines). The CTi was very similar to the original Golf I GTi. In addition, there was a 1.8-litre carburettor-engined Sport variant (with advertising tagline "New Citigolf Sport, drive it home, Sport, drive it home.").

The last addition to the Citi Golf lineup is the Citi 1.8iR, which was unveiled at the Auto Africa Expo during October 2006 in Johannesburg. It features enhanced styling and specification, including a full bodykit, partial leather front seats, and aluminium trim on the dashboard. The engine is a 1.8-litre fuel-injected unit which, although it shares its displacement with the iconic CTi, pushes out 8 kW of extra power, taking it up to 90 kW. VWSA claims that it can accomplish 0 to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds. This was also a limited edition and only a handful were made between 2006 and 2008.