2008 Volkswagen City Golf
2008 Volkswagen City Golf; photo by Greg Wilson. Click image to enlarge

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Volkswagen Canada

By Chris Chase

The City Golf and Jetta were Volkswagen’s solution to its lack of an entry-level model to offer Canada’s budget conscious car buyers. Rather than import a new model (say, the Polo), the company continued to sell its fourth-generation Golf and Jetta models in de-contented form after the fifth-generation Jetta and Rabbit models debuted in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

Therefore, when the City Golf and City Jetta first went on sale in 2007, they were essentially compacts priced to compete with subcompacts. Even given that the City models were built on a then eight-year-old platform, they still offered a little more comfort and interior space than many of their competition; what they perhaps lacked was mechanical refinement. The City models’ used the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine (115 hp/122 lb.-ft.), hardly a paragon of refinement when it was new, and which only matched or barely exceeded power offered by the City models’ competitors, despite a significant edge in displacement.

2007 Volkswagen City Golf
2007 Volkswagen City Jetta
2007 Volkswagen City Golf (top) and 2007 Volkswagen City Jetta; photos by Greg Wilson. Click image to enlarge

In 2007, the City models were offered with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. In 2008, the automatic was upgraded to a very nice six-speed with a manual shift function. These cars also got new styling to match that of the same cars sold in Mexico and South America, as well as a revised interior. (If you’re into trivia, impress your friends with this: VW of South Africa sells a car called the Citi that’s based on the first-generation(!) Rabbit.)

In 2009, the only change was to make 16-inch wheel standard on the City Jetta; for 2010, the City Jetta was discontinued to leave the City Golf as the sole entry-level model for a final year on the market.

The 2007 City models’ fuel consumption figures, according to Natural Resources Canada, were 9.8/7.1 L/100 km (city/highway) with manual transmission and 9.6/7.2 with the automatic. With the newer six-speed automatic, fuel consumption was rated at 9.9/6.9; in any case, fuel economy was more in line with four-cylinder mid-size sedans, rather than the subcompacts they were priced to compete with. A 2008 City Golf I tested with the six-speed automatic averaged about 7.5 L/100 km on a winter highway trip from Ottawa to Toronto and back, and a little more than 10 L/100 km in the city.

2008 Volkswagen City Jetta; photo by Paul Williams. Click image to enlarge
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