SMALL CAR, WIDE APPEAL
PLENTY TO LIKE ABOUT THE POLO
IT'S tough choosing which car to buy these days. Almost all are pretty decent, and it seems the smaller they get, the fiercer the competition.
The light-car class accounts for about 10,000 sales a month and the under-$25,000 category has 20 competitors. Tough, indeed. But one of the newest and brightest lights in it is VW's latest Polo, all of them with all-new state-of-the-art 1.2litre engines and outputs of 66 or 81kW.
Our steed was the range-topping 81TSI Comfortline with seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
It costs $20,790, or you can get the six-speed manual from $18,290.
There's also the choice of a couple of option packs, Sport and Driving Comfort,very attractive at only $1500 apiece.
Ours came with the latter, which added adaptive cruise, city braking, driver fatigue detection, rain-sensing wipers and reversing camera.
The Sport pack comprises 17inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, cornering fog lights, lowered sports suspension and tyre pressure monitoring.
Under the Golf-like bonnet is a 81kW/175Nm direct-injection turbo petrol motor that provides better-than-expected pep, yet drinks only 4.8L/100km.
The car includes lots of VW's socalled BlueMotion technology, including Stop/start and brake-energy recovery.
The 1.2litre motor is a gem. Performance from the slightly snarly powerplant is more akin to that of a good 2.0litre and despite a fair bit of spirited driving, we still averaged the official figure of 4.8litres/100km.
Drive is to the front wheels through an electric diff lock system for extra grip and stability.
The interior has excellent seating, a good infotainment system with a 5.0-inch touchscreen, USB port, CD player, SD card reader and six-speaker audio.
There's also the sophistication of remote opening and closing of windows, internal headlight adjustment, a chillable glovebox and daytime running lights. Plus hill start assist, alloy wheels and disc brakes all-round.
Best of all, it's a fun drive, is very well put together, looks super and we almost had to reach for the tissue box when it was time to have to return it.
Verdict: A heart-stealer.