It seems no hatchback range is complete these days without a 'hiking boots' version boasting raised suspension, black plastic trim on the bumpers and wheel arches, roof racks and brightly-coloured upholstery.

Volkswagen is one of the biggest culprits in this respect, with a 'Cross' version of practically every five-door city car in its range.

But it has taken a slightly different route with the rough-road version of its locally-built Polo Vivo, already the top selling passenger car in South Africa with 34 873 registered in 2012.

The Polo Vivo Maxx, which is only available in five-door hatch format, has raised suspension, true, aluminium roof rails and special 17” alloy rims, but the rest of the exterior treatment is more boulevard bolide than beetle-crusher, with body colour side mirrors, twin exhaust tailpipes, and sporty stripes across the bottoms of the doors rather than all-round black plastic trim.

Power comes from the proven 77kW, 1.6-litre four and a five-speed manual 'box.

The upmarket theme continues inside with aluminium inserts in the pedals, titanium-colour paint on the centre console, power-operated front windows, central locking, standard aircon, a three-spoke steering wheel with chromed insert and contrasting grey stitching, a four-speaker radio/CD/MP3/Bluetooth audio system sound system and special floor mats, also with grey stitching.

Driver and front passenger airbags keep you safe, along with ABS and an alarm/immobiliser.

All of which will set you back R160 300 including VAT and emissions tax.