The popular Polo
It is one of South Africa’s most loved hatch-backs and rightfully so. It offers great comfort and build quality, it is reliable and really encapsulates what the brand is all about, a car for the people.
Now though, Volkswagen has introduced an R-Line version of its Polo, for those wanting the GTI show without the GTI go. With the rapid improvements in turbo technology, manufactures seem to be able to squeeze even more power out of smaller engines. Take the 1.0-litre three-cylinder in the Polo; it delivers 81kW which is identical to the 1.2 TSI, yet makes 25Nm more for a total of 200Nm.
A seven-speed DSG is the only transmission option for the R-Line and that is fine by me. It’s a quick shifting gearbox which adds convenience. Volkswagen claims that the Polo, with the aid of BlueMotion technology, will return an average of 4.4-litres/100km.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get close to matching that on the twisty roads of the Eastern Cape, as this car proved way too much fun to drive. I did manage 6.0-litres/100km though so a better figure is not entirely out of reach. To be honest, this new 1.0-litre Polo makes the 1.2 TSI redundant.
As for looks, well the R-Line gets a number of exterior tweaks consisting of unique front and rear bumpers, R-Line grille, wider door sills, rear diffuser with integrated chrome exhaust, sporty boot spoiler and 17-inch Serron alloy wheels.
Interior changes are made-up of brushed aluminium inserts, cloth sport seats and a flat-bottomed R-Line multi-function steering wheel. In addition to the five-inch Composition Colour infotainment system with Bluetooth and USB, the R-Line can also specified with a larger 5.8- inch Composition Media setup, climate control, automatic headlights and wipers, daytime running LEDs, front and rear park distance control and a panoramic sunroof.
It’s priced at R290 200 and comes with a three year/120 000 km warranty and three year/45 000 km service plan as standard.
The Tiguan’s you really want
Let me start with the GTI-powered Tiguan. As mentioned, it punches out identical power and torque figures as Volkswagen’s iconic hot hatch; 162kW/380Nm, but includes 4Motion all-wheel drive and launch control to help it reach 100 km/h from standstill in 6.5 seconds. The Tiguan, in my opinion at least, rates as one of the best looking SUVs around and in combination with this new powerplant, makes for a potent family car.
However, as good as that sounds, the Tiguan you really want is one powered by the 2.0-litre TDI engine. I got to sample two derivatives of this engine; the 105kW/340Nm Comfortline which was also equipped with 4Motion and a DSG gearbox, and the more powerful 130kW/380Nm Highline 4Motion DSG.
Claimed fuel consumption is 6.1-litres/100km for the former and 6.4-litres/100km for the latter, but to be honest, the 105kW Tiguan is the one I would recommend. It has a decent amount of grunt plus it costs a few thousand less than the others, which means you will have money to pay for a the optional R-Line styling pack.
Tiguan 1.4 TSI Trendline - R384 100
Tiguan 1.4 TSI Comfortline - R425 300
Tiguan 1.4 TSI Comfortline DSG - R465 000
Tiguan 2.0 TDI Comfortline - R469 500
Tiguan 2.0 TDI Comfortline 4Motion DSG - R523 800
Tiguan 2.0 TSI Highline 4Motion DSG - R542 200
Tiguan 2.0 TDI Highline 4Motion DSG - R549 500
A three year / 120 000 km warranty and five year / 90 000 km service plan is included on all models.