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New Volkswagen Polo moves more upmarket

29.01.2018

The Polo is a seminal product for the Volkswagen brand both globally and within the South African market

As the second best-selling passenger vehicle locally and trounced only by the Polo Vivo, the Polo is a common sight on our roads and is admired for its premium build quality, reliability, low service costs and aftersales back-up. It’s hard to believe that the 6R/6C Polo has come to the end of its lifecycle and has been replaced by an all-new sixth generation model.

For those of you lamenting the end of the outgoing Polo, fret not, because the upcoming Vivo will be based upon the 6C model. Recently, I had a chance to drive the sixth generation in the Eastern Cape, more specifically Uitenhage, where the new model and the aforementioned new Vivo are built.

New look

The latest Polo has certainly matured in the styling department. We now have a car that looks larger and features more upmarket styling cues. Take the highly stylised side profile for example, which now features a very prominent shoulder line. 

Up front, we see new headlamps and a front bumper arrangement that emphasises width. This theme continues at the rear where the taillights and bumper design create an impression that the car is wider. Overall, the exterior is rather restrained, which has always been the Polo’s trump card, a sophisticated, conservative exterior that appeals to a broad audience.

Premium inside

The latest Polo is certainly an impressive product once you step inside. Even the more basic models feature a good mixture of high quality materials and great ergonomics. There are various interior options in the Polo range now, which is encouraging.

Take the infotainment systems for instance; there are three options available that range from 6.5 to eight-inches. Entry level Polo models come with the Composition Colour 6.5-inch unit, higher spec versions with the Composition Media eight-inch system, while the same unit with navigation is an option. Models can also be specified with the Active Info Display, which turns the instrument cluster into a fully customisable information hub.

More grown up

The latest generation Polo not only looks bigger, but indeed is; some 81mm longer, 69mm wider and its wheelbase 94mm longer. The only area that has seen a decrease is its overall height, which is now seven millimetres lower than the outgoing model. These dimensions translate to more rear passenger space with Volkswagen claiming more head and leg room while offering 350-litres of boot space.

The space inside the Polo is respectable, and will allow taller passengers to sit comfortably in the rear, while the bigger boot is certainly a welcome addition in terms of luggage hauling ability.

Platform possibilities

The latest Polo is underpinned by the impressive MQB modular platform that is used in the current Golf models. This means that various driver assist systems such as adaptive cruise control, Park Assist, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert are now optional.

Driving Polo

At launch, we had a chance to drive the 1.0-litre TSI Highline DSG as well as the 1.0-litre TSI Comfortline manual equipped with the optional ‘Beats’ 300-watt sound system and a funky cream, red and black interior. The Beats, along with the R-Line package, are both optional within the Polo range.

First up was the Highline, which is available with either a six-speed manual or the aforementioned DSG with seven-speeds, and which is the only Polo in the range to have the higher 85kW/200Nm output.

The refinement, consumption and overall drive quality I experienced during our test drive was commendable. The latest Polo feels solid, handles well and is composed over less than perfect road surfaces. The little three-cylinder motor is a great combination with the DSG ‘box.

The Comfortline felt less urgent, with 70kW/ 175Nm on offer and a sweet five-speed manual gearbox. The motor, even in detuned form, still provides enough in the way of overtaking power and reasonable efficiency. Our test route registered a figure of 7.1-litres/100km, which I’m sure can be bettered with less spirited efforts.

Verdict

The latest Polo will almost definitely retain its place near the very top of the passenger sales chart. It is only marginally more expensive than the car it replaces and it offers a far superior platform, more features and is overall a much improved product. We’ll explore the latest Polo in more detail during our upcoming road test.

Service plan and warranty

All new Polo models come standard with a three-year/45 000km service plan as well as athree-year/120 000km warranty.

Pricing

1.0 TSI Trendline - R235 900

1.0 TSI Comfortline - R264 700

1.0 TSI Comfortline DSG - R280 700

1.0 TSI Highline - R286 200

1.0 TSI Highline DSG - R302 200

Article written by Sean Nurse
29.01.2018
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