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Volkswagen Polo Vivo steps its game up


It is a known fact that the Volkswagen Polo Vivo is South Africa’s best-selling passenger car with nearly 200 000 units sold since its debut in 2010

The Vivo offered customers an affordable alternative to the Polo. Now, there is a new Vivo based on the previous generation Polo, and I got to sample it at the recent national media launch in Port Elizabeth.

A familiar face

Although distinguishing the previous Vivo from its Polo derived sibling was easy, it really is a lot more difficult with the latest Vivo. It looks near identical to the Polo albeit with a number of minor changes.

For example, the grille and lower air intake have been changed, the indicators integrated into the mirrors have been moved to the front quarter panels, the tail lamps redesigned and the rear bumper has been slightly altered. There are also a host of new wheel designs and colours on offer for customers to personalise their Vivo.

The interior

As with the exterior, the interior remains fairly unchanged from the model on which it is based. I was highly impressed with the fact that all models feature soft touch materials on the dashboard. The plastics are also of high quality for this segment.

At launch, the Vivo will be offered in four trim flavours; Trendline, Comfortline, Highline and GT. The cars get front electric windows, ISOFIX and a new radio with SD/USB and Bluetooth functionality. The Highline and GT models however get a colour-touchscreen infotainment system with smartphone pairing, as well as two extra speakers.

The GT adds to this by getting a leather wrapped steering wheel and handbrake lever, as well as sporty leather seats. Boot space is rated at 280-li­tres but can be enlarged to 952-litres with the rear seats folded down.

The power

For the new Vivo, Volkswagen will be offering three four-cylinder engines and one three-cylinder TSI motor, the latter a derivative from the unit cur­rently doing duty in the regular Polo.

Serving as the base engine, the 1.4-litre mill found in the Trendline delivers 55kW/130Nm, but in the Comfortline, has been upped to 63kW/132Nm. On both models, only a five-speed manual gearbox is offered. The next step up 1.6-litre motor develops 77kW/153Nm, and can be paired to a six-speed manual or similar ratio Tiptronic, with trim levels consisting of the Comfortline and Highline.

Now, for the car which I think is the highlight within the line-up, the new Vivo GT. This model features a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo which de­velops 81kW/200Nm and is mated to a six-speed manual ‘box. It features large sporty rims, lowered suspen­sion, a black boot spoiler and black side skirts as well as a chrome tail pipe. It is an eager little car which definitely delivers a few smiles when driving.


Here’s the thing; the new Polo Vivo is basically the old Polo minus a few luxuries. It does however have a decent options list which includes items such as cruise control, a removable tow-bar and Vienna leather trim. 

Items removed to keep costs down are some sound deadening and of course the lowered airbag count to name but a few, but this by no means detracts from the fact that the Vivo is actually a B-segment car now competing in the upper regions of the A-segment.

It is also the only car in this class which is locally made and uses nearly 76% of locally sourced parts. The new Polo Vivo is most definitely a winning recipe, not just for Volkswagen South Africa, but with the improvements and price, it’s a win for customers as well.


On models, a three year / 120 000km warranty is standard with a service plan optional


1.4 Trendline - R179 900
1.4 Comfortline - R192 000
1.6 Comfortline Tiptronic - R221 900
1.6 Highline - R214 900
1.0 TSI GT - R245 000

Article written by Justin Jacobs
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