Volkswagen City Golf Hatchback Spotted on the Streets of Montreal

Jackson Wheeler
5 Min Read

With the VW Golf turning 50 this year, it’s a good opportunity to take a look at each generation and examine the incremental design evolution of Wolfsburg’s hatch legend.

And it’s also a good time to note just how much the Golf has grown in size from generation to generation, to the point that not one but five other models were eventually added below the Golf: the Polo, Gol, Up, Fox, and Lupo.

While each generation of the Golf offered an updated exterior design, at one point buyers could opt for something in between generations four and five—at least buyers in Canada and a few other countries.

It was called the City Golf, and it was at its core a visually updated fourth-gen Golf that was sold alongside the fifth-gen model for a few years. And we spotted one of them on the streets of Montreal.

The updated City Golf did not arrive immediately when the fifth-gen model debuted in 2003. Instead, it arrived a bit later in 2007 and stayed on sale in Canada through 2010, almost overlapping with the sixth-gen hatch in North America that arrived for the 2010 model year and a bit earlier in Europe.

VW switched names of the hatch and sedan and started selling them as the Golf City and Jetta City.

As you might expect, the range of options was a bit more limited for this facelifted Mk4 model. The 2.0-liter four-pot was the only engine on the menu, offering 115 hp. The interior was lightly updated from the fourth-gen model when it came to some features, but due to the fact that this was a deep facelift more than anything else, most of the goodies stayed in the fifth-gen Golf.

As the City Golf was meant to be a budget model, this meant that wheel covers and cloth seats were standard, with alloys being an option. And on this car, that box was certainly ticked.

The Mk4 VW Jetta, we should note, was similarly updated along with the Golf and was offered alongside the hatch in Canada as the City Jetta. But we haven’t seen the latter as frequently in our trips to Quebec.

Closer to the end of sales in Canada, VW switched around the names of this hatch and sedan duo and started selling these as the Golf City and Jetta City. (For some reason, VW North America was preoccupied with names at this time and dropped the Golf name in favor of the Rabbit in the US for a brief spell).

The City Golf was certainly a ticket into a less expensive new Golf for Canadian buyers, but curiously enough VW Canada did not offer the smaller Polo in the country, despite the fact that demand for small and inexpensive hatches was actually quite high for most of the 1990s and 2000s.

A few other small models stayed out of Canada including the Touran, which was a mini-MPV, and the tiny Lupo successor Fox.

The Golf Mk4.5 may have been the only example of such Golf facelifts by VW in North America, but the Chinese market has seen quite a few unique updates like these.

Headshot of Jay Ramey

Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum. Despite being followed around by French cars for the past decade, he has somehow been able to avoid Citroën ownership, judging them too commonplace, and is currently looking at cars from the former Czechoslovakia. Jay has been with Autoweek since 2013. 

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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