Of course Toyota’s Hilux remains SA’s top selling vehicle. The VW Polo is so popular is SA, we lie third overall in world sales of the vehicle, behind China in first spot and and Russia in second.
So what you are about to hear from me next might sound a touch crazy: To be blunt, their advertised prices might have been good, but you had to make do with naturally aspirated engines and old school auto boxes. And if you wanted a radio or aircon or service plan or just about anything else, you had to pay for it.
The VW Polo’s competitors had moved on in recent times to turbocharged smaller capacity engines, slick double clutch gearboxes and offered a host of standard spec that even included such luxury as SatNav.
None of this, it would seem, stopped people from buying VW Polos, but brand loyalty is slowlydying and people nowadays chase a good deal at the right price, with the most spec they can afford.
And I think VW know that if they want to keep the likes of Renault’s Clio, Ford’s Fiesta and Hyundai and Kia behind them, they will have to up the ante.
Visually, the new VW Polo has by a sharper front and rear design but it will still take a well informed motoring-type person to immediately spot the differences. All I want to say on the styling is think sharper Golf 7 styling and you will have nailed it.
The new VW Polo comes in three equipment levels, Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. Customers who want a Polo with rugged but sporty looks can opt for the CrossPolo.
You currently only get one engine to choose from – the punchy 1.2 TSI which comes in two power output levels, 66kW and 81kW.
You can also choose from three transmissions, a five and six-speed manual and a seven-speed DSG box for the first time, all model dependant, of course.
The claimed combined fuel consumption of the 1.2 TSI Trendline and Comfortline 66kW engine is as low as 4.9 litres per 100km.
It is said to have a top speed of 184km/h and accelerate to 100km/h in 10.8 seconds.This engine is mated to a five-speed manual transmission.
The 1.2 TSI Highline with an output of 81kW is said to use only 5.1 litres per 100 km of fuel. It has a claimed top speed of 196km/h and accelerates from nought to 100km/h in 9.3 seconds.
As an alternative to the standard six-speed manual transmission, this engine can also be ordered with an optional seven-speed DSG.
This is the same engine spec that does duty in the Highline CrossPolo that comes only with a DSG box for now.
Diesel and BlueMotion engines will be available towards the end of this year or early next year and the GTI should get to us by the second quarter of 2015.
Just as the drivetrain spec has been upgraded, you now also get first classs assistance systems like Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, Driver Alert System and ESP to go with the usual airbags and stuff to keep you safe.
A new radio infotainment system has been added and depending on the equipment level, these include functions such as Bluetooth connectivity and a proximity sensor.
There are still some optional convenient features on offer for new VW Polo customers who want to individualise their cars.
These optional features include Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights (only available with CrossPolo at launch), panoramic sunroof, removable towbar, climatronic air-conditioning, light and vision package (includes auto-dimming interior mirror, rain sensor wipers and low beam assist), park distance control (front and rear), rear view camera “Rear Assist” and cruise control.
All in all, I think the VW Polo has been given a much needed technical update and this, combined with the qualities I have already mentioned, will keep this classy little hatch at the top of the sales charts.