A plucky baby with attitude

2012-06-22 09:54

Baby models of car brands have to contend with a bad reputation.

Many drivers don’t give them much credit and assume they are not as powerful as their big brothers.

Think of Audi A1, BMW 1Series and now the Polo Vivo GT.

While the Vivo GT is compact, its 1.6-litre engine is gutsy enough to take on anyone who is up for a quick robot-to-robot race.

At first I thought this was just a Vivo with some stickers and that it wasn’t going to give me the kind of street cred I needed to uphold while testing it in Cape Town.

I noticed the GT stickers and badging on the front grille, the side panels and the rear but I still wasn’t convinced that it was worthy of the GT signage.

Despite the twin chrome exhaust tailpipes, the tailgate spoiler and the Cordoba 15-inch alloy wheels, I still wasn’t impressed.

I thought it was just a tease.

Gamers will know that GT either refers to a sports car, Gran Turismo – a series of racing video games – or lastly Grand Tourer, which is a high-performance luxury car designed for long-distance driving.

The Vivo GT didn’t portray any of that, or so I thought.

The interior is sportier than usual with red and black sports seats, red seatbelts and the iceblue and white instrument clusters.

The three-spoke leather steering wheel also has some red stitching. I didn’t like the gunmetal silver plastic centre panel as it makes the dashboard look a bit tacky.

It’s only when I realised that passers-by and other motorists at the robots were staring at the car that I thought twice about its credentials.

And the cute attempt at a growl from the exhaust humoured me. It was the key to the car’s plucky attitude.

With a top speed of 187km/h, and a zero to 100km/h dash time of less than 11 seconds, the Vivo GT has what it takes for a quick chase.

Trying to keep in line with the GT badge, this model is only available in four exterior colours – deep black, candy white, flash red and reflex silver.

The next week I had messages from a car forum about what the secret under the Vivo GT bonnet was.

Apparently, it gave some Toyota drivers a run for their money. I laughed, since it made me change my mind about the car.

The GT is top-of the-range Polo Vivo model, and although it doesn’t have anything to brag about, the sporty persona of the engine and lowered suspension speaks volume.

» Follow me on Twitter @SpeedQueen

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