Sao Paulo - For more than 40 years the Brazilian-designed Volkswagen Gol has been the company’s entry-level product in that region, but now the sun is setting on the compact hatch.
Ready to take its place is the new Volkswagen Polo Track, which is actually a stripped down version of the current-generation, albeit pre-facelift, Polo. But will we eventually see something similar to this in South Africa?
While it’s unlikely that the current Polo Vivo, which is based on the previous-gen Polo, will be replaced any time soon, it seems inevitable that it will eventually make way for a newer version based on the current Polo. And when that does happen, it’s certainly possible that VWSA might look to South America’s Polo Track for some componentry and inspiration.
The Volkswagen Polo Track has some unique exterior features, including a new halogen headlight design and fresh honeycomb grille. At the back end it retains the pre-facelift model’s taillight shape, but gets a fresh bumper design, with a skidplate that lends some crossover flavour. To save on cost, Volkswagen has evaded alloys in favour of 15-inch steel wheels with newly designed matte black wheel covers.
Perhaps the biggest cost-saving component is the fitment of a normally aspirated 1.0-litre MPI petrol engine in place of the regular Polo’s 1.0 TSI turbocharged unit. The 1.0 MPI unit produces 62kW and 101Nm. But that torque figure is unlikely to cut it at South African altitudes, so don’t be surprised if VWSA opts to retain the current 1.4-litre MPI engine, which offers a far heartier 132Nm.
Cost-cutting is evident on the inside too, where we see new front seats with integrated headrests, as well as lower-grade plastics in various places, and the Polo’s touchscreen infotainment system has also made way for an old-fashioned radio unit.
While South Africa won’t necessarily be getting this car, it could certainly influence our next Polo Vivo, whenever that arrives. And when that day comes, it could certainly help to streamline production at the local Kariega plant, given that the Polo Track is based on the current MQB-AO architecture.
VWSA hasn’t confirmed its exact plans for the Polo, but during a recent press conference the local division did state that the Polo hatchback would live beyond 2025. The company is also hoping to build a new and yet-to-be-revealed compact SUV (read more on that here), which would serve to lessen the company’s reliance on Polo exports to Europe, which are in jeopardy given the rapid move towards electrification in that region.
Meanwhile the Brazilian Volkswagen Gol is being ushered out of existence with this special Last Edition hatch.
Incidentally the Gol forms the basis of the Saviero bakkie in Brazil and it seems inevitable that the compact pick-up will also fall away in the not-too-distant future. Question is, will VW replace it with a production version of the Tarok Concept that was revealed way back in 2018?