Cars­guide’s 2010 Car of the Year faces its new­est chal­lenger in a con­test ad­ju­di­cated by BRUCE McMA­HON and MARK HINCHLIFFE

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -


Po­los start at $16,990 for a three-door hatch but the more pow­er­ful Com­fort­line five-door from $19,850 is the best value of the bunch. This is Euro-chic at a great price. Fea­tures in­clude air, stereo and power win­dows plus a raft of driver aids that are not of­ten seen in this mini class.


It’s hard to ig­nore a 1.2 litre en­gine, tur­bocharged of course, push­ing out a frisky 77kW for 5.5 L/100km on com­bined cy­cle. It has man­ual or seven-speed auto and misses lit­tle from brake as­sist, elec­tronic diff lock, to au­dio con­trols on the steer­ing wheel and elec­tri­cal­ly­heated mir­rors.


This is a hand­some ma­chine. The Polo looks and feels re­fined, with an or­dered ap­proach to in­stru­ments and con­trols. But it is a small car in­side – the driver’s footwell is pretty cramped and the ped­als are a tad small for larger and taller driv­ers. This is one area where other com­pacts, such as the Swift, win out.


VW has crammed ev­ery last bit of safety gear into the Polo’s six airbags, ABS, brake as­sist and brake force dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem. There’s trac­tion con­trol and sta­bil­ity pro­gram, aided by a well-be­haved chas­sis and ex­cel­lent road dy­nam­ics. It earns a 5-star NCAP rat­ing.


The small VW is a spir­ited city run­about, eas­ily mix­ing it with traf­fic, slot­ting into gaps in the traf­fic or park­ing lot. Steer­ing re­sponse and feel are fan­tas­tic, as is this en­gine and six-speed man­ual gear­box com­bi­na­tion. The op­tional DSG auto can stop-start at park­ing speeds.


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