BALANC­ING ACT

THE VOLKSWAGEN GOLF AND POLO MODELS ARE PER­FECT EX­AM­PLES OF THE AD­VAN­TAGES OF RIGHTSIZING.

Torque (Singapore) - - VOLKSWAGEN SPECIAL -

If you’re shop­ping for a new car, then chances are you’ve come across the term “rightsizing”. You may have seen the word in ads or heard about it from friends. Most dic­tionar­ies de­fine it as “to con­vert some­thing into an ap­pro­pri­ate or op­ti­mal size”.

For car­mak­ers, rightsizing means en­gi­neer­ing models that are just the right size for their seg­ment, and en­sur­ing that each one is pow­ered by just the right en­gine.

Nat­u­rally, this is eas­ier said than done. Who can say for cer­tain how big or small a par­tic­u­lar model in a seg­ment should be? And who can de­ter­mine for sure how much per­for­mance it should have?

One thing you can’t ar­gue with, though, is the fact that when it comes to hatch­backs, the Volkswagen Golf is the bench­mark.

SEG­MENT STAN­DARD The VW Golf, now in its sev­enth gen­er­a­tion, has been such a suc­cess that even the seg­ment it com­petes in is called the Golf seg­ment.

There are many fac­tors re­spon­si­ble for the Golf’s con­tin­ued pop­u­lar­ity. But the over­all one is the fact that it is a per­fect ex­am­ple of rightsizing.

Sure, you could buy an equiv­a­lent 1.6-litre sa­loon and lit­er­ally get “more car” for your money. But do you re­ally need a big­ger ve­hi­cle in the first place? The VW Golf is a lot more nim­ble and ma­noeu­vrable than a con­ven­tional sa­loon. And with its tail­gate and split-fold­ing rear seats, the Golf is also a lot more flex­i­ble when it comes to stow­ing cargo.

Prac­ti­cal­ity aside, the Golf, es­pe­cially the 1.4-litre EQP vari­ant, has plenty of stan­dard kit such as the snazzy Dis­cover Pro in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with an 8-inch touch­screen, bi-xenon head­lamps and an elec­tronic park­ing brake with auto hold func­tion.

There’s even a Park As­sist func­tion that can help you with par­al­lel park­ing ma­noeu­vres. Park As­sist can even pre­vent fender ben­ders by

also get­ting you out of tight park­ing spa­ces.

The Golf 1.4 not only has the right size and equip­ment. It also has the right amount of power. Its 1.4-litre might seem small on pa­per, but thanks to a tur­bocharger, this pow­er­plant churns out 125bhp and a very healthy 200Nm of torque from just 1400rpm. The Golf also av­er­ages up to 19.6km per litre of petrol.

This sort of per­for­mance and ef­fi­ciency is un­matched by any nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 1.6-litre en­gine.

SMALL AND MIGHTY

Volkswagen’s ex­per­tise at build­ing hatch­backs is also ev­i­dent in the Polo, which, like its larger si­b­ling, also de­fines a seg­ment – su­per­mi­nis.

Most su­per­mi­nis are en­try-level hatch­backs that func­tion as lit­tle city run­abouts. But un­like the ma­jor­ity of su­per­mi­nis, which still utilise nat­u­rally as­pi­rated motors, the VW Polo has a tur­bocharged 1.2-litre in­line-4 ca­pa­ble of 90bhp and 160Nm – the lat­ter from 1400rpm.

Like its big­ger Golf si­b­ling, the Polo de­liv­ers more torque than its seg­ment ri­vals. In city driv­ing, it is lowend torque, not horse­power, that ul­ti­mately mat­ters.

In our ur­ban land­scape, the Polo’s com­pact size and punchy mo­tor en­able its driver to zip past slower traf­fic with ease. Part of what makes the Polo such a fun drive is its gear­box, a rapid-shift­ing 7-speed dual-clutch. It is quicker than reg­u­lar au­to­matic trans­mis­sions, and its seam­less nature means a more ef­fi­cient transfer of power. So it’s no sur­prise that the Polo man­ages a com­bined fuel con­sump­tion of 21.3km per litre, a fig­ure its ri­vals can’t beat.

The Polo isn’t just more fru­gal. With fea­tures like LED head­lamps, six airbags and ESP, it of­fers higher se­cu­rity, too.

Rightsizing is a balanc­ing act that’s not easy to ac­com­plish. But the Golf and Polo models have cer­tainly proven that Volkswagen’s strat­egy of “smaller size, big­ger per­for­mance” is the right way to go.

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