Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Driveway - Bill Buys

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.

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