BATTLE OF THE B
VOLKSWAGEN POLO VS TOYOTA YARIS
The rivalry between South Africa’s top automakers is most evident in two market segments – the light commercial vehicle, or bakkie segment, and the sub-compact hatch, or “B” segment. Recently both Volkswagen and Toyota introduced new versions of their B-segment cars, and BERNIE HELLBERG looks at the pros and cons of both.
Motor industry pundits who keep a keen eye on the monthly industry sales statistics will know that South Africa’s top-selling automakers pull no punches in either the bakkie or the small hatch market. Vying for an ever-shrinking piece of the sales pie, Volkswagen and Toyota specifically, are at constant loggerheads in these segments.
That is why, when SA’s Top Two launch rival products within weeks of one another, you know that sparks will fly…
This year, both VW and Toyota entered the market with the new Polo and new Toyota Yaris nipping at each other’s heels, and we look at the key differentiators between these two traditional rivals.
LOOKS ARE EVERYTHING
South Africans are emotional car buyers. We identify personally with our preferred brands and live or die by how the looks of our cars make us feel.
And, while neither of the VW Polo or the Toyota Yaris is known for their progressive designs, it is more important than ever to keep pushing the design envelope.
In this respect, Toyota has been pushing the design envelope much harder than ever before, and it is obvious in the new Yaris. Not only is the new Yaris bigger than ever (we now get the Asia-spec car rather than the European shape), it is also sharper, more masculine, and more athletic.
Being perennially more conservative, Volkswagen has stuck to the familiar Polo shape for the 2018 iteration of its subcompact hatch. It too is larger than any Polo of the past, and sharper crease lines are evident, especially at the front of the car, but it is becoming increasingly harder to differentiate new VW models from their predecessors. The Polo is no exception.
In the hotly-contested sub-compact market, whoever delivers the newest gadgets and goodies to a tech-savvy buyer market, is likely to walk away with the lion’s share of the spoils.
Toyota may be the king of reliability, but bringing new tech to market in the lower segments has never been the brand’s strong point. Until now…
Yaris not only looks great, but it is surprisingly well specified. Included as