Are you in the market for a new car? It can be daunting, but we’ll help you choose. One of South Africa’s most popular passenger vehicles is the Volkswagen Polo. A variation of the car has been around since 1976.
These superminis crept into the hearts of South Africans around about the mid-90s. They exemplified a good balance between budget and features. Certainly not from the lower end of the spectrum, while not costing the arms or legs of consumers, these plucky vehicles became associated with young people on the rise.
Now with this year’s model, there have been bold new design choices: including ridged lines that look like 3 dimensional decals, an almost intimidating grill, a chrome trim, and a very sportscar-like bumper.
The latter exuding confidence – and is sure to fill you with some while driving it too.
As the years have gone on, the Polo has become ever more feature rich, with excellent specs.
Now we have the 2018 model.
According to trusted sources, the handling in this beauty is a thing to behold. The steering and manoeuvrability of the Polo make it excellent for city driving. One of the biggest issues facing motorists on the roads, especially in Johannesburg, are street hazards.
Pot holes have become a real problem, breeding faster than rabbits and seeming to appear out of nowhere. The tight, taunt controls of the latest 2018 Polo help you avoid them in emergencies.
There are four models to pick from. The Polo Trendline retails around R237,800 and is 5-speed manual with a 70kW TSI engine. By no means the runt of the litter, you’ll still be able to enjoy a solid performance with this entry level vehicle. The Polo Comfortline comes with the same engine specs, but more features. It goes for around R266,800. You can always get a direct-shift-gearbox (DSG) version if you prefer.
The second-most premium of the four is the Polo Highline. Here you’ll pay around R288,500 for a 85kW TSI engine that goes all the way to six gears. There’s also the option of a DSG.
Finally, top dog is the Polo GTI. Like it’s Golf cousin, it’s a hefty monster in the engine specs department. A whopping 147kW TSI engine that provides plenty of torque power, and with only a DSG model available, you’ll fly the highways in negligible traffic.
The opinion of most experts is that the Polo GTI is a powerful addition to the ranks of Polo’s alumni, and moreover, it presents cash-strapped consumers with the opportunity for a premium car with the ‘GTI’ tag.
It’s a lot cheaper than the Golf GTI, around R150 000 cheaper at that. Yet what you get with it is a very sports-infused car built with a solid-chassis, with a lowered centre of gravity and the ability to distribute weight differentiation between its tyres… so that if you’re taking a sharp corner, it isn’t a big deal when a wheel lifts.
Although the GTI only comes with a DSI, manually changing gears while taking corners would be onerous. Performance has been marked as very tight.
The 2 litre engine makes this a Polo many have been waiting for. But its features, solidly built as it is, mean that driving isn’t about cutting loose and being fancy-free.
It is still Volkswagen and that means you’ll still be driving in a more technically-styled way. It’s about precision.
Inside, all Polo models benefit from a redesigned cabin, and the further up the models you go, the better your interior experience. Sadly, the Trendline only has automatic front windows, but from there on up, the rest are all around.
Finally, with the GTI, the magnificent Active Info Display replaces physical dials with digital ones. The entire set up is cutting edge 21st Century. The infotainment system is generous, though there has been a revert to physical knobs on it as opposed to last generation’s pure touchscreen.
This probably will make things easier for you, as more concentration is required when inputting on a pure touchscreen.
All in all, if you’re looking to upgrade your ride, and you’re already a fan of the ambitious little Polo who thinks it can, then this generation will impress you, because we’re finally at the not-so-little Polo that definitely does.