Punchy new Polo hogs top spot in Europe

2010-01-24 11:58

VOLKSWAGEN has entered 2010 with a bang by introducing the new

­Polo to South Africa this week.

While the tears have dried after we said goodbye to the legendary

Golf Mk1, Volkswagen SA has a busy year ahead and the Polo is an indication of

good things to come.

The car is already this year’s ­European Car of the Year and is one

of the two models in the group that are being built locally at the VW plant in

Uitenhage, Eastern Cape. It currently has an export market of 55?000


One thing is for sure: the fifth-generation Polo has a totally new

personality as the third Volkswagen product to display the VW DNA styling. The

sporty Scirocco and the Golf VI were the first two.

Launched in Cape Town, the new Polo carries the distinctive narrow

grill and headlights, so it will not come as a surprise if it adopts the title

of “baby Golf”. Even the smaller rear windscreen is almost similar to that of

the Scirocco.

For the time being, only a five-door hatch model is available. The

line-up currently has three engines – two petrol and a diesel. The petrol models

are available in 1.4i and 1.6i, while the diesel comes in the 1.6i TDI form. The

popular TSI engines – on the Golfs – are not yet available in the new


The two specification levels are the Trendline and


All the three engines have been carried over from the previous

model and all have five-speed manual transmissions, with an optional six-speed

tiptronic gearbox.

The common-rail turbo-diesel ­engine is new and while the 1.6 TDI

model only delivers 77 kW of power, it boasts a torque of 250Nm, which is in

fact a heap of fun to drive down at the coast. More figures to brag about here

are that it sprints from ­zero to 100 km/h in 10.4 seconds and reaches a top

speed of 189km/h.

VW is claiming the TDI CO2 emissions come in at a low


As for the styling, space and interior, it is all a big step up

from the previous-generation Polo. Besides the distinctive characteristics on

the exterior, the new Polo looks so much better and will, as always, ­appeal to

the younger market.

VW designer Oona Scheepers pointed out that for the first time the

Polo’s bold shoulder-line is rather prominent, emphasising its sporty looks. She

also said that VW’s chief designer Walter da Silva is very particular when it

comes to the smallest details. So the stitching on the seats of this Polo and

the soft feel to the equipment on the ­inside add to the quality of the


In the interior, the driving equipment and the centre console are

designed around the driver and look the same as that of the latest Golf. The

digital instrument cluster is nifty too. Everything lights up and the fuel gauge

displays quarter, half and three-quarter readings.

On the safety front, VW is proud of Polo’s five-star Euro Ncap

rating and claims it is the safest compact car in the market.

It comes with dual front airbags, front side airbags and head

restraints. It also has anti-lock brake system with electronic brake-force


Only the 1.6i TDI comes standard with an electronic stability

­programme, and is optional on the other model except for the 1.4i.

While there are a three-year/120?000km and a 12-year anticorrosion

warranties, the Polo doesn’t come standard with service or maintenance plans.

These need to be bought optionally. The price for the five-year/60?000km service

plan is from R6?856.

The VW Automotion maintenance plan is priced from R9?141.

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