There was an air of mild concern when I told my girlfriend my next long-termer would be a VW Polo. She’s well aware of the kerbside appeal of this B-segment hatch. Would I attract too much attention? When I informed her a Trendline was on the way, she relaxed: you’re only “someone” if you cruise about in a more prestigious Comfortline or Highline model.
That domestic serenity was short-lived when I pulled into the driveway in this striking Reef
Blue metallic version fitted with a set of optional 15-inch alloy wheels, seemingly aping one of the more premium models. The Polo Trendline is not a car that instantly stands out in a crowd – there are simply too many of them around – but, on closer inspection, its upmarket persona is quite clear. Greeting my other half with my R50 haircut and half-ironed T-shirt, however, it was obvious the car was doing most of the work when it came to setting an image.
The Polo hatch is well loved by South Africans. Along with its Vivo counterpart, it tops the sales charts monthly. There are many reasons for its appeal. For starters, it’s a proudly South African product we’ve assembled since 1996. It also offers impressive value. The model we’ve been assigned bears a price tag of R256 400 and, with that, you get all the essentials and a turbo-triple 1,0-litre engine linked to a five-speed manual gearbox. We’ve held the Polo in high regard since it was launched. Now it’s time for us to see what it’s like to live with.
Our unit features additional items such as cruise control, a multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel, park distance control, automatic headlamps and that set of 15-inch alloy wheels. All of these add R18 850 to the base price. While electrically adjustable mirrors and rear windows are absent, Trendline incorporates safety essentials such as curtain airbags, ESC and hill-start assist.
It’s been an enjoyable first month thanks to the Polo’s refined cabin and dynamic chassis (the personality traits of the cheekier GTI clearly filter down the range).
The only drawbacks so far are turbo lag – which should become less of an issue as I familiarise myself with the manual transmission and work around the delay in response – and it’s a bit heavy on fuel when commuting.