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 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.
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.
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.
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.