The Vivo Storm adds a lim­ited ed­tion to the Polo range and we test the Polo Blue Mo­tion TSI.

BRIAN BAS­SETT drives the new VW Polo Blue­mo­tion one-litre TSI

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

THE most pop­u­lar of the VW range in this coun­try is the Polo se­ries, which is a Su­per­mini pro­duced by VW since 1975, and is now in its fifth gen­er­a­tion.

In 2010, it was World Car of the Year and it is built on the tried and tested VW AO plat­form. Re­cently, the one-litre Blue­mo­tion TSI was in­tro­duced. This makes good sense as in a re­ces­sion, with fall­ing cur­rency, the av­er­age South African fam­ily is buy­ing down. It is, how­ever, good to know that the VW badge means that the car re­tains its qual­ity and dura­bil­ity, while Blue­mo­tion tech­nol­ogy re­duces fuel con­sump­tion and low­ers emis­sions.

Styling

The Volk­swa­gen De­sign Stu­dio in Wolfs­burg is known for its dis­tinc­tive de­signs and the Polo is cer­tainly dis­tinc­tive.

The front end is ag­gres­sively styled with swept back head lamps con­nected by a black up­per grill and cen­trally placed VW badge. Be­low the colour-coded bumper the car has fog/run­ning lights, sep­a­rated from a lower grille by chrome un­der­lin­ing.

The bon­net sweeps up to a large, raked wind­screen, which gives the car a sporty feel and the sides have folds that add in­ter­est.

The rear tail-gate is badged Blue­mo­tion and the cen­trally placed VW badge dou­bles as the tail­gate han­dle, while the large tail lights lend dy­namism to the tail­gate area.

The colour-coded, elec­tri­cally-op­er­ated side mir­rors com­ple­ment the ex­te­rior de­sign and the 16-inch al­loys are quite sporty.

In­te­rior

The in­te­rior is typ­i­cal VW sim­plic­ity and al­most min­i­mal­ist. Ev­ery as­pect speaks of qual­ity and at­ten­tion to de­tail, as well as good de­sign.

The front seats are eas­ily moved back and forth and a roller-type ad­just­ment deals with the seat back. Both front seats are height ad­justable. The in­te­rior fin­ishes are fine qual­ity and in the car we drove the leather seat fin­ishes were very well crafted.

The leather-cov­ered, three-spoke, multi-func­tion steer­ing wheel, which is height and reach ad­justable, looks to come straight out of a Golf 7.

It con­trols the CD/aux/ra­dio/MP3/ USB au­dio sys­tem, which in­cludes space for an SD card. The car also has Blue­tooth as part of its con­nec­tiv­ity pack and there is a 12V plug for your elec­tronic toys.

Be­low the vents on the cen­tral stack is a 5,8-inch touch­screen with colour dis­play, which pro­vides a range of in­for­ma­tion and op­er­ates eas­ily at fin­ger­tip touch.

Be­low the screen there are sen­si­bly placed con­trols for the ef­fec­tive air­con­di­tion­ing unit. In­ter­est­ingly enough, run­ning the air-con af­fects the car’s per­for­mance very lit­tle, which is a com­pli­ment to the power of the small en­gine.

Rear-seat space is not bad con­sid­er­ing the na­ture of the car, but some­one of my bulk and height will need the front-seat pas­sen­gers to ad­just their seats for com­fort. The Polo is billed as a four- or five-seater. Four adults will, how­ever, be more com­fort­able than five on longer jour­neys.

The boot pro­vides 280 litres of stor­age space, which is about av­er­age and the rear seats fold down in 60/40 fash­ion to cre­ate 952 litres of space.

Safety and se­cu­rity

The Polo has a five-star NCAP rat­ing so it is as safe as your driv­ing can make it. It has a whole host of safety fea­tures, as one would ex­pect from Volk­swa­gen and we men­tion a few of those here.

The car has discs all round, as well as a multi-col­li­sion sys­tem, which you won’t no­tice un­til you need it, at which stage it could save your life.

There is also Hill Hold As­sist and Elec­tronic Sta­bil­ity Con­trol, ABS with EBD, Isofix clips to hold the kids’ seats and seat belts and head re­straints for all. There are also four front and side air bags for all-round pro­tec­tion.

The car has cen­tral lock­ing and a built-in alarm sys­tem, which the cats in my area set off at mid­night and sent me rush­ing out­side bran­dish­ing a heavy walk­ing stick.

Per­for­mance and han­dling

The Polo Blue­mo­tion’s turbo-petrol, three-cylin­der, 999cc en­gine roars de­light­fully when­ever you put your foot down.It de­liv­ers 70 kWs/ 160 Nm via a five-speed man­ual gear­box and zero to 100 km/h comes up in about 10,5 sec­onds, with top speed be­ing around 190 km/h.

The Polo Blue­mo­tion is a great city car. Us­ing the gears, you can eas­ily slip in and out of traf­fic.

Park­ing is easy and par­al­lel park­ing is sim­ple with the dash­board dis­play.

On the N3 the en­gine is peppy and cruis­ing at 120 km/h is no prob­lem.

How­ever, with a small en­gine, if you let the revs drop you are go­ing to need to use the gears and the same ap­plies to long hills.

Us­ing the gears al­ways makes me feel in con­trol, so it was no prob­lem.

The car is sta­ble on tar and gravel even at speed, and the Macpher­son struts at the front and the twist beam rear sus­pen­sion, well damp­ened, kept me out of trou­ble.

Costs and com­peti­tors

The Polo Blue­mo­tion will set you back around R260 000. It comes with a three-year or 120 000 km man­u­fac­turer’s guar­an­tee, a 12-year cor­ro­sion war­ranty and a three-year or 45 000 km ser­vice plan.

Also look at Toy­ota Yaris, Ford Fi­esta, Mazda2 and Kia Rio among sev­eral oth­ers.

His­toric fuel test

Fuel con­sump­tion is a claimed 4,9 litres per 100 km, but dur­ing next week, Wheels will be mark­ing the 112th year of mo­tor­ing in Mar­itzburg with an econ­omy run done with Barons Pi­eter­mar­itzburg to de­ter­mine the real world con­sump­tion of the Polo Blue­mo­tion. We look for­ward to the re­sult of six runs to Dur­ban and back with all of the trucks, traf­fic jams and mad driv­ers on the N3. Watch this page.

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

PHOTO: YOUTUBE

Next week, Wheels will fol­low in the pi­o­neer­ing tracks of a for­mer Wit­ness ed­i­tor Ho­race Race, who in 1904 was a pas­sen­ger in the first car jour­ney from Pi­eter­mar­itzburg to Dur­ban, in a 4Hp Ori­ent Buck­board, with a max­i­mum speed of 25 km/h. This year, we will see how many times the new one-litre Polo Blue­mo­tion can do the jour­ney on 45 litres of fuel, aim­ing to beat the 4,3 litres per 100 km achieved in Europe.

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