VW’s global Polo updates finally arrive in South Africa

Crossovers might have all but displaced the sedan as a vehicle category in South Africa, but VW’s hatchbacks remain popular.

The German brand’s Vivo and Polo are the most successful compact hatchbacks in the local market. And VW’s latest Polo has now been added to its domestic product portfolio – after making a global debut, last year.

Featuring a styling theme that relates closely to the Golf8, and slicker infotainment, new Polo should continue to dominate the South African hatchback segment.

Although the current Polo platform has been around since 2017, it is one of the most overengineered products in automotive history. VW spent a terrific amount of money developing the MQB platform, used by most of the company’s mid-sized vehicles.

VW improves the infotainment offering

The new Polo offers a quiet and refined cabin architecture with outstanding noise, vibration, and harshness suppression. And inside, owners have a choice of three infotainment systems to relay their favourite podcast or Bluetooth media.

VW’s most affordable Polos use a 6.5-inch screen, which grows to 8-inches with the mid-range variants.

Drivers prioritising a more immersive infotainment experience can opt for VW’s Discover media package. This pairs an 8-inch display with integrated navigation, wireless app-connect, voice control, wireless mobile charging and a digital cockpit. The latter is beneficial for long-distance driving at night, reducing eye fatigue.

New tech – and one engine size for all

Turbodiesels engines were once the mainstay of Polo’s powertrain options, delivering excellent fuel economy. But as VW has transitioned away from diesel, only petrol engines are available with the new Polo.

Powering the most affordable Polo is 1-litre three-cylinder turbopetrol, boosting 70kW and 175Nm. This Polo 1.0TSI base model prices at R311 800 and has a five-speed manual gearbox. It rolls comparatively small 14-inch steel wheels.

More power – when you need it

The R350 000 Polo 1.0TSI Life adds 15-inch alloy wheels and park distance sensors embedded in the front and rear bumpers. Inside there is digital instrumentation and a leather-trim steering wheel.

If you will be regularly venturing outside one of South Africa’s urban centres, and need better overtaking acceleration, there is an 85kW version of the 1-litre engine. This more powerful version of the turbocharged three-cylinder engine, also has 25Nm more torque than the entry-level Polos.

The R370 700 Polo 1.0TSI Life DSG version uses this more potent engine. As loyal VW followers will notice, there is also a drivetrain upgrade, with the 85kW engine linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch (DSG) transmission.

If you want to add a more dynamic appearance to your 85kW Polo, an R-Line styling package increases the price to R421 900.

*Images: VW South Africa

Lance Branquinho


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