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Refreshed Polo plays a different game


THERE’S a reason why the VW Polo range is the most popular selling car in South Africa. It’s like one of those love-to-hate nerds at school who can just do everything perfectly, well… almost perfectly.

An overachiever would be an understatement and it seems Volkswagen has made this little German hatch even better. The Polo has undergone a host of changes, both visually and technically. I recently used the Polo as my daily commute for a week and I feel like I’m part of ‘team Polo’ after being behind the wheel.

Fair enough, at first glance, the cosmetic changes aren’t that noticeable, but being an overachiever like the Polo, the best is always striving to be that much better and when parked next to the outgoing vehicle, the newly designed headlights and taillights are immediately evident. The front bumper sees the addition of larger air intakes and two fog lights are also housed in the sharper-looking bumper. From the rear, the reflectors are now embedded in the bumper and the lights have new styling cues. The Polo also sports a new pair of 16-inch shoes in the highline version Autodealer tested.

Inside, the Polo plays a different game. It’s finally fitted with a five-inch screen radio as standard and has CD player and MP3 functionality along with USB and Bluetooth, ushering this car further into the mainstream. The new climate control interface and centre console layout are a nice touch, so is the use of the new steering wheel.

The car looks and feels modern, allowing you to stand out. But probably the biggest talking point is the newly equipped 1.2-litre engine. At 81kW and 175Nm it was no slouch. The petite engine has a strong pull and offers some nippy performance characteristics and has a top speed of around 196km/h.

The ride and drive is typical VW and while it feels the same as the outgoing generation that’s not a bad thing as the versatile car soaks up the bumpy, war-torn roads well.

Ultimately it’s rather a difficult task to fault the Polo. It’s no wonder South Africans love this German piece of machinery. It’s sporty, well-finished and in typical German style, does everything spectacularly.

However, with a cool price of R237 400 for our 1.2 TSI 81kW Highline test mule, it’s rather hefty considering its competitors. And that’s before ticking the optional extras list.

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