The perfect line between comfort and support

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The brand new VW Polo looking striking in front of Rhodes University Great Hall.
Photo: Daniel Goldberg

This week the test car being reviewed was the all-new, redesigned Volkswagen Polo TSI for 2018. The car belongs to the Highline spec category, with an all-new 1.0 litre TSI engine designed to keep fuel economy as low as possible while maintaining a reasonable power output, as the new engine produces 85 kW at 5000 r/pm with 200Nm of torque being available as low down as 2000 r/pm.

The new Polo’s appearance is striking to say the least. It appears as an evolution of the old Polo, in that all of its design serves to improve on that of the previous. The interior is luxurious and easily gives the driver the feel of a pilot in a cockpit.

The infotainment system is German in nature – it’s efficient and has clearly been through a couple thousand assessments before being set into production. It took me less than 20 seconds to add a Bluetooth device following which my music auto played into the cabin. The speakers, like the infotainment system, have clearly been thoroughly checked through by their German automaker.

This car is designed to be a city run about, and essentially be perfect for student life. Dealers have been describing it as a companion to everyday life, and the best one for the money. Base price for the Polo Trendline starts at R235 9000, with the Comfortline going for R264 700 for the manual and R280 700 for the DSG variant. So far the GTI and R model ranges have not been released, however the manual Highline starts at R286 200 and DSG at R302 200.

What makes a city car good? City cars are the most difficult to quantify as the criteria is so vast. City cars in summary need to simply be light on fuel, comfortable to sit in and drive, and easy to park. Immediately I loved the seat in the Polo, it walks the perfect line between comfort and support. The clutch is a work of art by Volkswagen and a massive improvement on the old one. Gone is the ridiculously high bite-point however torque seems less accessible with the new clutch, as I learnt on the infamous Beaufort/Somerset street intersection.

On the highway the Polo is comfortable, and road noises are kept to a minimum, noticeably less than the previous model. It cruises along and is extremely capable of maintaining highway speeds as well as accelerating to over-taking speeds.

Around areas like Grahamstown, suspension is vital. The self-proclaimed pothole capital of South Africa is known for ruining control arms, springs and shock absorbers alike. Volkswagen has clearly built the New Polo to take a beating, as the seamless ride and clearance over bumps illustrated during the review.

To sum up my experience with the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Polo, it is pure evolution from the previous model. Volkswagen have branded it as the New Polo however almost every aspect of the new car is designed based on the previous car with the mindset of improving on it. From the start I loved the car and could see the effort by the German automakers to truly make a consumers’ car that would function as a pure companion to everyday life. Every aspect of the New Polo has been thoroughly designed and redesigned to make sure it does nothing but make your life easier.

As a consumer, it is your choice whether to opt for the Conceptline/ Trendline’s 70kW or Highline’s 85kW output, as both should serve as reliable and tough hearts of the Polo, however my personal recommendation goes to the Highline’s massively impressive 85kW TSI engine. It thoroughly impresses any of its drivers and feels extremely capable, especially owing to the fact that it is a 3 cylinder turbo built to feel as if it’s closer to a 4 cylinder engine.

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