Polo is the new game in town

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

TWO­days is a very long time in the car world. It takes only two days for Mark Web­ber to go from nearly-a-win­ner in the 2010 For­mula One world cham­pi­onship to a dom­i­nant win­ner in the Span­ish Grand Prix. He slaps his ri­vals through qual­i­fy­ing at Catalunya, then drives away from them on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

‘‘It was my day to­day. It was a spe­cial vic­tory. The first one is good but this one is right up there with it,’’ Web­ber says.

Those two days of work also in­stal Web­ber as one of the favourites for this year’s world ti­tle, be­cause he and Se­bas­tian Vet­tel share a Red Bull racer that is now clearly the fastest car in the field and un­likely to be threat­ened through 2010.

Two days at home last week also brings a stag­ger­ing con­trast be­tween two new cars: the lat­est Mazda2 and the new Volk­swa­gen Polo.

I’m im­pressed by Mazda’s de­ci­sion to price the new Two from $16,990 drive away, even if the cos­metic and me­chan­i­cal changes for 2010 are fairly mi­nor. The car al­ways drove well enough and the update is good for the class, though not as sharp as the Ford Fi­esta and not as quiet over­all as I had hoped.

The new Mazda2 also picks up a sedan for the fam­ily, which could give a show­room edge.

Then I drive the Polo— and re­alise the rules have changed.

The new Volk­swa­gen baby is a mini-Golf and clearly the best in the class, even ahead of my pre­vi­ous per­sonal favourite, the Fi­esta. It’s even priced well, with a $16,690 bot­tom line for the ba­sic three-door car.

What makes the Polo so good is a qual­ity feel, solid driv­ing dy­nam­ics, and the sort of safety— six airbags, anti-skid brakes and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol— which should be stan­dard in ev­ery new car to­day.

cars­Guide read­ers con­tinue to ques­tion Volk­swa­gen qual­ity, and the spate of en­gine fail­ures in the Golf is a big worry. But when it has cars as good as the new Polo it should be strong for the long haul.

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