Words by Khanye Ngwenya
South Africans are rather particular with what they decide to grant iconic status, with the list of fan favourites including Nik Naks, chappies bubble-gum and, more importantly to the growing adolescent, The CitiGolf. Far more than the basic four wheels and a motor that it boosted, it is a car that brought a sense of mobility to the vast majority. It was freedom – freedom from the rigmarole of negotiating vehicle usage rights with the parentals, and freedom from the taxi mathematics that were the burden of those who sat in the front seat after a lengthy day at the office. The CitiGolf was an affordable means of transport in theory, but in practice, it was a very good little car that had a fruity little motor and distinct character that made it a standard feature in parking lots for generations. Put simply, if you didn’t have or experience one, you wanted to.
After 25 years of service, VW pulled the plug on the Citi, with over 377 000 units tugging at the heart strings of their owners. The succeeding Vivo took over the reins in 2010, with the same basic formula of a reliable daily commuter and ever since has been the best-selling passenger model in South Africa; it has sold 229 300 units to date.
As a homage to the original 1984 model, VW has introduced the CitiVivo, which offers styling that draws directly from the original. Based on a 1.4 Conceptline, it boasts 15inch wheels, side mirrors, door and rear hatch handles in white with the ‘Citi’ decals, much like those of the original. Offered in the classic Citi colours, its available in Flash Red, Sunflower Yellow and Cornflower Blue exclusively.
The 1.4litre motor produces 55kw and 132nm, but feels rather enthusiastic and does a good job of propelling the Citivivo around town and at freeway speeds. Obviously, it’s no GTI and remains a small naturally aspirated engine at altitude, which means overtaking will require some planning. Driving the CitiVivo is easy and unlike the original power steering, the wheel is light and perfect for cutting up the proverbial ‘citi’.
The interior equipment includes a Silver, Blue, Orange and Grey trim, and the CitiVivo comes equipped with air conditioning, radio, USB, SD card slot and Bluetooth functionality, which is connect devices to and has rather good quality audio for its price.
Luxuries come in the form of optional features like metallic paint (R950), cruise control (R1 350), smokers package (R250), alarm/immobiliser (R 1 100), front electric windows (R1 250) and front fog lights (R1 400).
Only 2000 units will be made and with a price of R177 300, inclusive of a 3-year/120 000 km warranty. Service intervals are at 15 000 km and, as with other Polo Vivos, service & maintenance plans are optional.