VW Polo (the real one)
So the new Polo came out a while back. Looks pretty good right? I don’t like VW and even I’m suitably impressed with the striking front end they’ve come up with. I’m not sure what happened at the back though. Fell apart a little bit – obviously there’s only so much creativity that goes around a German auto-manufacturer, but still, not bad at all.
I enjoyed a week with the little 1.6 Tdi. And yes I mean enjoyed. I derive a great sense of satisfaction when thrashing about in a little car with a little engine. From inside that cabin you feel like Michael Schumacher in his glory days at Ferrari, breaking track records from your house down to the local supermarket (or pub). Yet from the outside you have about as much promise as Lucas Di Grassi in his HRT, so you’re never actually going fast enough to break any traffic laws.
The way the Polo handles the road did seem to emphasise my euphoric feelings. It felt sharp and alert, pointy if you will. Pushing hard you encounter a fair bit of understeer which is nice and safe for all those plonkers who will inevitably end up behind the wheel, with their spikey hair, massive sound and silly 20 inch rims.
The new diesel engine is an immense improvement on the older models (granted it’s no longer a 1.4). I drove a mates Tdi a couple years back and a moth-eaten donkey with three legs would’ve given more drive to the front wheels. There’s at least some grunt from the 2010 model. It’s more economical these days as well. As I said I drove my Polo like Michael Schumacher and still managed 6.1l/100km. Drive like a granny and I’m sure you’ll manage below five.
Taking a look at the interior, I can’t say I noticed any changes from the previous model. I guess if you’re pedantic the equipment and materials may look slightly different. But from a holistic, functional point of view, Polo’s have had the same interior for the last eight years. I think it’s all a con really – boils down to lazy manufacturers trying to save a buck. There certainly isn’t anything hideous or intrusive about it though. Adequate is a good description.
I don’t normally like to talk cost in my reviews. Price blurs the picture too much and causes immediate prejudice against giving an objective opinion. So once I’ve given the car back I look up the price and make judgements from there.
But because of all the hype around the launch of the Polo I was inadvertently dragged into a discussion at the office about small cheap cars. With a price tag starting at R144,900 for the base model and R209,900 for the Tdi (being the most expensive) it does still creep into the cheap category. And for a VW, at least it’s not outrageously priced like the Golf. Reasonable seems a good description.
So is it worth R209,900 of my money. And the answer has to be no. Because I have an inherent dislike of VW and every car they’ve ever produced. For about the same money I can buy an Opel Corsa Turbo – and yes, build quality may be slightly worse, as will fuel consumption and probably resale value. But those are sacrifices I’m willing to make to avoid owning an adequate and reasonable VW.
Price: R209 900
Engine: 1598cc turbo charged diesel
Power: 77 kW
Torque: 250 Nm
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 10.4
Top speed (km/h): 189
Fuel consumption: 6.1
Verdict – a good, adequate, reasonable car from the world’s average manufacturer