New WV Polo to shake the market

Andrew Muzamhindo

The all-new Polo looks crisp, clean and elegant, inside and out. Its turbocharged engine supplies great everyday performance without using much fuel. It will shake the market.

Features include cruise control with speed limiter, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, driver fatigue alert, and an air pressure monitor that lets you know if a tyre is going flat, an eight-inch colour touchscreen for controlling audio, phone and trip computer functions. The sound system comes with an AM/FM radio, a CD player, an SD card slot, and aux and two USB inputs. Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, and a reversing camera are standard.

The system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which work with Apple and Android phones. If you plug your phone in through the USB socket, many of its apps — including mapping and music — are mirrored on the touchscreen display and can be controlled from there. It has leather trim on the flat-bottomed steering wheel and gearshift lever. The display on the instrument panel can show your average speed and fuel consumption, among other functions.

It has headlight height adjustment. Daytime running lights make the car more visible to other road users, and there are rear fog-lights.

Hill-start assist, height adjustable front seats, six airbags, electronic stability control come standard. The interior gains an armrest between the front seats.

The all-new Polo has disc brakes on all four wheels, which are stronger and responsive. The most expensive Polo, the GTI, has the more powerful two-litre four-cylinder turbo engine with dual-clutch auto, plus unique features over the 85TSI Style including 17-inch wheels, traditional Clark tartan seat trim, adaptive sports suspension, and keyless entry/start.

If you part with more money, you can add a Driver Assistance package to the Polo 85TSI and GTI versions, which brings you Park Assist with front and rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor, rear-cross traffic alert, power-folding door mirrors, front and rear auto braking when parking, and a proactive occupant protection system that can anticipate a potential accident and take measures to mitigate injury. The Polo is very spacious for its class and seats four adults comfortably.

The front and rear seats blend comfort with side-support very effectively, holding you in place nicely through corners. The Polo 75TSI is responsive and relaxing in everyday driving. The 85TSI steps things up a notch, with more oomph in all situations, while the GTI offers genuine hot hatch excitement.
Every Polo comes with automatic emergency braking, anti-lock brakes, stability control, six airbags, daytime running lights, and a reversing camera. Also included is a driver fatigue monitor that assesses your use of the steering wheel over long journeys, prompting you to take a break if it concludes you might be falling asleep.

Volkswagen calls its auto-braking system Front Assist with City Emergency Brake, and it operates at city and highway speeds. A radar-type sensor scans the roadway ahead for obstacles, and the system will warn you of an impending collision. If you ignore the warning, at speeds under 30km/h it will initiate an emergency stop automatically.

At higher speeds, it will warn you via the audio-visual dashboard alert and pulse the brakes, encouraging you to brake yourself. If you ignore the pulsing it will brake automatically — although not at maximum pressure.

There are airbags ahead of the driver and front passenger, and another outside each front occupant that protect at chest level from side crashes. Curtain airbags extend down each side of the car at head level, protecting front and rear occupants.

For more money you also get adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor, rear-cross traffic alert and power-folding door mirrors. Proactive occupant protection system is also included in the package — this clever technology uses sensors to detect if an accident is more likely to occur and prepares the Polo and its occupants for an impending collision by automatically tensioning the seat belts and closing any open windows. The Polo has always been one of the very best city cars to drive and this model takes that driving enjoyment to a new level. It is built on an all-new chassis which is longer, wider and tauter than the previous model resulting in sharper handling. The ride is firm, but still comfortable and, despite the size increase, Polo still feels nimble around town. For a so-called city car, it lapped up B-road bumps with poise, giving up little in terms of rebound movement.

The suspension’s excellent control comes into its own on challenging, twisty roads. Teamed with good cornering grip, it makes for a car that is great fun, and feels a lot more like the Golf.

The steering is nicely direct, and front-to-rear balance is also sweet, meaning understeer is rarely an issue. The manual gearbox feels light and easy to shift, the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic felt very polished. In the default Drive mode it was a little tardy from a standing start, but this was overcome by flicking the gear shifter down to engage Sport mode, which lets the engine rev more while building up speed.

Once on the move, progress is smooth, without the delayed shifts at low speeds that plague some vehicles with similar transmissions. In more dynamic driving conditions the Polo’s dual-clutch selects gears intuitively so you’re never lacking for power.

And while the one-litre three-cylinder engine lacks the silkiness of the previous model’s 1,2-litre four-cylinder, it does reward you with a nice, throaty, sports-car-like noise when you put the foot down.

The Polo GTI offers genuine hot-hatch performance. It is seriously quick and the sharpness of its front end through corners is astonishing.
Engine: 1498 cc;
Mileage: 18 Kmpl to 21 Kmpl;
Fuel Type: petrol / diesel;
Transmission: manual/automatic;
Seating Capacity: Five;
Power: 88bhp@4200rpm;
Gear Box: Five Speed; and
Torque: 230nm@1500-2500rpm.
andrew@muzamhindo.com