Surprising old school Polo Sedan brings boot back to VW

Dunlop Sort Maxx

Volkswagen had always looked after travelling salesmen, reps, Uber and taxi drivers and maybe even mobsters by selling a reasonably priced car with a monster boot. But the Jetta, and then the Polo Sedan both quietly disappeared from the market. Leaving VW without a boot to stow that stock, school bags or luggage, or maybe even the gumba’s carcass.

VW happily has now solved all those dilemmas by reintroducing the Polo Sedan, complete with a massive 521 litre boot. To as Kariga puts it, fulfilling the mobility needs of all customers, and redefine the South African A0 Sedan segment.


A big boot to do the business

4.5 meters long, 1.7 m wide and 1.5 m tall, more or less, there’s nothing too flashy about the new Polo Sedan. There shouldn’t be. Most people who need one of these prefer to go incognito. Still, our metallic carbon steel sedan came with LED head and taillights, foglamps, a smiling chrome grille and window strips, and 16-inch Scimitar alloys on this Life version.

Use chrome door knobs to access a cabin that VW calls premium. It’s a pleasant and elegant ambient lit, dual-tone beige finished, Climatronic conditioned space. Even the gear knob has a leather jacket. Best of all, the good old school leather-clad multi-function steering wheel loses those useless touch pads for solid, dependable, and easy to use buttons and switches.

Sadly, the step back to buttons has not yet affected the dash. We had a competition one day, to see if any of us in the car could select a specific temperature via those sliders. None of us could get it right. How it is possible that these useless ‘touch pads’ ever got into cars, will soon become one of the greatest puzzles in motoring history. Yes, they are that dire!


Get it right and the cartainment is a treat

If by chance you can get the 7-inch touchscreen radio and App-Connect and wireless charging 10-inch Apple and Android mirroring inch touchscreen cartainment to do what you want it to do, it’s pretty good. The trick remains to get it to do what you want it to do. Throw it all away, Volkswagen. Give us knobs and buttons back everywhere. Please!

Anyway, some may be concerned that the light hues of the handsome cabin soil easily, but the carpets are at least black. Polo Sedan also has tyre pressure monitoring, and a rear-view camera with park distance control in the rear. It also has two airbags, ESC, and multi-collision braking assist.

It gets even better under the bonnet. Another good old school new Polo Sedan advantage is its 81 kW 152 Nm MPI four-pot petrol engine mated to this one’s 5-speed manual turning the front axle.


Old school four cylinder another bonus

It may well be out of the Ark, but this MPI lump still does a far better job than the launch failure plagued litre turbo triple. Especially if you happen to be driving on a good old Summer Highveld afternoon. That much is patently clear in overtaking acceleration, where this old 1600 gives that newer turbo litre lump another significant hiding.

Our test car also thrashed VW’s performance claims by close to a second to 100 km/h and was also slightly quicker than the Hatch we recently tested with that 3-pot turbo mill. We also found the Polo Sedan reported better sub-6 litres per hundred overall fuel consumption than its claims promise.

Best of all, this Volkswagen Polo Sedan Life 1.6 81 kW Manual sold for just R345K as we wrote. It comes with a 3 year 120,000km warranty, and 3 year 45,000km service plan expandable to 10 years and 300,000 km, at 15,000 km intervals via VW’s extensive and trusted dealer body.


Sedan fills a vital hole in the Polo range

A vital arrow to Volkswagen South Africa’s Polo bow, the Sedan not only returns to fill a vital gap in the range, but it also does it pretty darned well. Just throw those stupid climate and dash pads away, replace them with buttons and this solid, old school cool Polo will do any sedan job better than well – Michele Lupini

Testing & Images: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Volkswagen Polo Sedan Life 1.6 81 kW
Engine: 81 kW 152 Nm 1.6-litre petrol I4
Drive: 5-speed manual FWD
0-60 km/h         4.57 sec
0-100 km/h:       10.32 sec
0-120 km/h        14.18 sec
0-160 km/h        27.20 sec
400m:             17.2 sec @ 132 km/h
80-120 km/h:      7.28 sec
120-160 km/h:     13.03sec
Vmax:             190 km/h
Fuel Economy:     6.2 l/100 km
CO2:              147 g/km
Range:            725 km

Warranty/Service: 3y 120/3y 45K km
PRICE:            R369K
RATED:            8
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