Launch drive - Face-lifted Volkswagen Polo Range
Now in its sixth generation, Volkswagen has given the Polo a nip and tuck and while power outputs for the Polo GTI remain the same compared to 152kW for other markets, the updated models look completely different from their pre-facelift siblings. The Polo has grown in size so much since the second or third generation models, in fact, the Polo is now much larger than the MK3 Golf in terms of its interior capacity as well as on the exterior. Production of the models started in September 2021 at the Kariega plant which is now the sole manufacturing plant of the Polo Range for all markets (a massive feat not only for Volkswagen, but our economy and most importantly the people of Gqeberha) and by the time they officially went on sale, over 1400 units had already found their homes all over South Africa.
Built on the popular MQB platform (MQB-27), a platform that is shared by the T-Cross as well as the soon to be released Taigo, the Polo Range has been given an extensive list of enhancements on the facia, the rear as well as the interior. The Polo range has been digitalised from the base model to the range-topping Polo GTI with the Polo GTI as well as the Polo R-Line now coming with a digital Cockpit Pro, IQ.Light matrix headlights and touch-sensitive steering wheel controls. The bumpers have all been revised, with the major change on the Polo GTI coming in the form of the vertical fog lights in the. honeycomb grille (inspiration drawn from its eldest sibling the Golf 8 GTI) an LED light strip running from each end of the headlights while the rear receives sequential indicators.
The models also benefit from a 6.5-inch Composition Colour System, while the Polo R-Line and the GTI receive an 8.0-inch. Volkswagen’s IQ Drive Travel Assist driver-assistance suite is now available as part of the optional Safety Package, which includes Front Assist and Pedestrian Monitoring, as well as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and Lane Assist
We sampled the Polo Life as well as the Polo GTI at launch. The Polo Life is powered by a 1.0-litre turbo-petrol engine, which produces 70 kW and 175 Nm of torque and is paired to a 5-speed manual transmission. Surprisingly, this was our pick of the bunch, believe it or not! The ride is exceptionally pleasant, while fuel efficiency barely exceeds 6.8L/100km, something that the audience will appreciate. It reminded us of the T-Cross we spent time with in December. The overall ride is comfortable and the gear changes are smooth.
The Polo GTI is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that develops 147kW/nm of torque via its six-speed DSG gearbox with the power being sent to the front wheels, the punchy 2.0-litre engine delivers its power effortlessly and feels extremely sharp. We did however miss the "VRR-PHA" sound in the cabin, it feels understated even in its sportiest of settings. It however delivers satisfaction in terms of its updated looks and its eagerness to move. The six-speed DSG gearbox remains a champion.
The Polo range has always been a winner in its segment. Six generations after its first generation, it is still known as a safe, affordable, and reliable car. Pricing has however increased, with a starting price of R311 800 for the entry model and rising up to R489 400 for the range-topping GTI models. This might just be out of reach for some buyers in South Africa who have long had dreams of buying the Polo as their first ‘affordable’ purchase. Apart from all that, the Polo remains a true segment leader.
Polo 1.0 TSI 70kW Manual R311 800
Polo Life 1.0 TSI 70kW Manual R350 000
Polo Life 1.0 TSI 85kW DSG® R370 700
Polo R-Line 1.0 TSI 85kW DSG® R421 900
Polo GTI 2.0 TSI 147kW DSG® R489 400
The new Volkswagen Polo comes standard with a 3 year/120 000km warranty, 3 year/ 45 000km EasyDrive Service Plan and a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. The service interval is 15 000km. Customers have the option to extend EasyDrive Maintenance and EasyDrive Service Plans up to 10 years/ 300 000km.