Port Elizabeth - Volkswagen has just launched the ‘new’ version of South Africa’s most popular passenger car and in the process it has essentially graduated from being based on the fourth-generation Polo to the recently-replaced fifth-generation.

While the all-new MQB-based sixth-gen hatchback takes the reins at the premium end of the B-segment market, the new Polo Vivo continues the fight in the so-called Sub-B segment where affordability is the focus and to that end, the new Polo Vivo matches the pricing of its predecessor at the lower end of the range, while moving a few notches upmarket at the higher end of the range.

The sedan version falls away, however, as the fifth-gen four-door (still for sale as an Import) was never built locally.

The five-model range is priced between R179 900 and R245 000, and in a very sensible ploy to keep prices down while not trampling too hard on the toes of those who invested in the previous Polo, VWSA has carried over the previous Vivo’s normally aspirated MPI petrol engines rather than opt for the 1.2 TSI motors. Only the range-topping GT model gets turbo power, in the form of the latest 1-litre TSI with 81kW and 200Nm.

In the Trendline entry model the 1.4-litre engine is tuned to 55kW and 310Nm, while the Comfortline’s version is good for 63kW and 132Nm. The 1.6 MPI, which is fitted to the comfortline automatic and the Highline manual, is rated at 77kW and 153Nm.

Besides the engines there are signs of cost cutting - such as the side indicator repeaters moving from the mirrors to the fenders and some stripping down in the cabin, including the loss of side airbags - but we’ll get to that in more detail in our launch drive feature later this week.

For now, let’s take a walk through the range and standard features list.

THE RANGE

Trendline kicks the range off with standard air conditioning, front electric windows, height and reach adjustable steering, a  four-speaker SD/USB/Bluetooth audio system, dual front airbags and ABS brakes. 

Comfortline adds a multi-function steering wheel, trip computer, height-adjustable driver’s seat, upgraded seat cloth, front fog lights as well as body-coloured door handles and side mirrors.

Highline comes with all that plus a six-speaker Colour Touchscreen Radio 340G with App-Connect, a leather-covered steering wheel with alloy inserts and 16-inch Rivazza alloy wheels. On the safety front, Highline adds ESC stability control and a tyre pressure monitor.

GT tops the pile with unique exterior styling - including GT lettering and a rear spoiler - and a racier cabin to match, featuring front sports seats upholstered in ‘Space’ cloth trim and ‘sport’ pedals. On the standard amenities front, it gains cruise control.

Options: All models can be ordered with ‘Vienna’ leather seats, while base models can be specced up with cruise control, ESP and tyre monitoring, front fog lights and 15-inch alloy wheels.

PRICING

1.4 55kW Trendline R179 900
1.4 63kW Comfortline R192 000
1.6 77kW Comfortline Tiptronic R221 900
1.6 77kW Highline R214 900
1.0 TSI 81kW GT R245 000

Prices include a three-year/120 000km warranty, and a service plan is optional. Service intervals are pegged at 15 000km.

IOL Motoring