January 20, 2015 @ 11:27 PM

Review: Volkswagen Polo 1.6 MPI

Comfortable seating for four, good economy and elegant styling, could the Polo sedan be the pick of the VW bunch.

Comfortable seating for four, good economy and elegant styling, could the Polo sedan be the pick of the VW bunch.
 
It’s in the name – Volkswagen, simply translated to mean ‘peoples-car’. The very pillars of VW are built around providing the masses with cheap, reliable, robust and versatile modes of transport. But with acronyms such as DSG, TSI and GTI headlining most of the local VW line-up, we forget that they can also produce simple cars like the Volkswagen Polo sedan. And as history proves, are still very good at it.

Exterior (Score: 3/5)

Simplicity is the order of the day, although the Polo sedan has small proportions, it flaunts its well rounded edges rather well. The elegant front ends sets the tone for streamlined glasshouse proportions, and the clean-cut belt line is nicely complimented by the six-spoke 15-inch alloys. One would not classify the design as exciting, but the design is relatively grown-up, purposeful and very functional. 

Interior (Score: 4/5)

For a car that is compact in size, the Polo sedan makes very good use of it. Cubby holes and drink holders are exactly where you need them. The switchgear is well laid out, dials and knobs notch into place with tactility and exterior visibility is abundant. I would appreciate a less ‘plastic-ky’ dash and door cards but then again, this is the entry model. The seats are supportive enough and are wrapped in visibly durable fabric. Rear seat legroom is also commendable and quite comfortable for four adults over long journeys. NVH levels are pretty serene too, there’s not much tyre roar or impact noise that filters into the cabin space.

Power and handling (Score: 3/5)

Well, the Polo sedan is not going to break speed records anytime soon but as far as a city car goes, it’s great. The 1.6-litre multi-point injection (MPI) eekes out 103bhp at 5250rpm and 153Nm at 3800rpm and is coupled to a six-speed conventional auto. The engine is strong up to a 120kph which means city driving and highway cruises are dispensed with relative ease. Progress is slightly better when the gearbox is in ‘S’ mode but ultimately the package is tuned for good economy numbers. And it does delivers that in spades, 328km of travel over three days and the car still had half a tank left, which roughly translates to 8.3-litres/100km. A very good figure for a car of its size. 

As it’s optimised for city driving, it’s not the sharpest tool in the VW toolbox as far as handling goes. However, the dampers do soak up bumps very well and remain flat during long sweepers on the motorway. The tyres are quiet and the adequate feedback coming from the front axles to keep you pointed where you want go.
Tech and Safety (Score: 3/5)

The Polo is equipped with four-airbags and ABS with EBD. Definitely not cutting edge, but more importantly no traction control. More and more manufacturers are starting to offer these features and perhaps the Polo could use it as well. But as far perceptions go, when you drive the Polo, you would feel that you are in a safe and well-engineered car. The audio setup also deserves a mention here, the Bluetooth hooks-up beautifully and the 4-speaker setup sounds quite good.

Summary

The Polo is a very honest and capable car. There’s not much frippery to distract you from the purpose of getting from A-to-B frugally and comfortably. It’s very hard to hate it but rather easy to like it for what it is. On an emotive perspective, and one I came to realise after a while, maybe given its German heritage and origins, feels slightly more special than turning up in a Honda Jazz or Suzuki Swift. It feels matured, elegant and perhaps even classy – maybe that even makes it a good people’s car. 

Overall score: 13/20
Volkswagen Polo Sedan 1.6 MPI
Price
RM92,628 OTR without insurance
Engine
1598cc, 4-cyl, DOCH in-line petrol engine 103bhp @ 5250rpm, 153Nm @ 3800rpm
Transmission
6-speed conventional auto, front wheel drive
Performance
12.3sec 0-100kph, 183kph, 6.5l/100km(claimed), 154g/km
Weight
1182kg
 

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Topics:  First Drives

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