By Mike Goetz
The Rabbit is roadkill. Run over, so to speak, by the introduction of the sixth-generation Golf, which had its North American debut here at the Toronto show. When it arrives this fall, as a 2010 model, it will go back to being called Golf, and not Rabbit.
Golf VI appears to be a mid-cycle refreshening (new front and rear grilles, new interior), although a very heavy one. The front and rear fascia are characterized by more horizontal lines, like the original Golf. The interior and switchgear borrows much from the cabin of the new Passat CC, and a big effort was made to make Golf one quiet ride; witness new sound damping film in the windshield, thicker side glass, and more aerodynamic side windows.
Three-door models are matched with the 170-hp five-cylinder 2.5-litre engine and will be available in Trend Line and Sport Line trim levels. The latter throws on sports seats and suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels. Five door models have three trim lines: Trend Line; Comfort; and High Line, which features leather and satellite radio. The pocket rocket icon, GTi, will also join the family, packing the 2.0-litre turbo. Also coming will be a Golf Wagon (eventually replacing the Jetta wagon), and both wagon and hatch models will eventually be available with the 2.0-litre TDI diesel.
The 2010 model year will be the last for the City Golf and City Jetta models, perhaps to be replaced by the smaller Polo line. VW Canada chief, John White, remarked that with the new Golf models, VW Canada aligns itself more with Europe than it does with the U.S. He also noted that the U.S operation is still deciding on whether to go with or Golf, or stick with Rabbit.