There are plenty of B-Segment cars available for the taking, but it is just the matter of choosing one that suits your taste and requirements. If you’re reading this, then it is highly likely that you may opt for the Volkswagen Polo and to find out what it is like to drive on Malaysian roads.
Being the most affordable car in the company’s model line-up in Malaysia, the Polo is a simple and practical city runner that does everything you’d expect. You’ll be greeted with a clean, simple and inoffensive look similarly to current Volkswagen products. Getting bruised while opening the doors are very unlikely, as there are no sharp protrusions that gets in the way when you swing them open.
The other thing I like about Volkswagen cars is that the chrome elements used are minimal and subtle. Besides the badges, the Polo has a thin chrome accent on the front grille and across the lower half of the front bumper.
There are no modern LED lighting systems to be found on the Polo; instead, it comes with height adjustable halogen headlights as standard. The halogen lamps may not be as sophisticated than the modern light-emitting diodes, but does the job well in illuminating the dark road ahead. In addition, the Polo comes with front and rear fog lamps and cornering lamps as standard.
Although being the baby in the model line-up, the Polo has an impressively upmarket aura with all of the switches offer solid tactile feedback and are located in areas within the driver and passenger’s reach. The leather wrapped steering wheel feels nice and soft to the touch and not overly bulky to hold in your hands. The seats are comfortable, plush and supportive, and being clad in fabric keeps them relatively cooler than PVC or leather wrapped seats when parked under the hot sun.
The Polo gets a height-adjustable driver’s seat, plus a height and reach-adjustable steering wheel that would fit drivers of different heights and sizes comfortably.
The seats are comfortable and by class standards it’s not bad, and even long journeys are tolerable – especially with the retractable centre armrest that does double duty as a storage space.
The Polo’s rear boot capacity measures at 280-litres, which rivals most cars in its class, especially shadowing the Ford Fiesta’s 276-litre boot capacity. Folding down the rear seats increases the total load capacity to 952-litres. The Volkswagen Polo offers unobstructed visibility outside, with its boxy shape and tall windows providing a great all-round view. Four corner reverse sensors are available as standard as well.
Entertainment comes from the Polo’s RCD 330G five-inch touch screen head unit with USB, iPod interface, SD card slot, AUX-IN and Bluetooth connectivity featuring easy-to-use menus and responding fairly quickly. The four speakers also impresses, delivering good sound quality by the standards of the B-segment offering crisp and near faithful sound reproduction.
The Polo may be a small car, but fitted with a quite substantially sized engine. Its powered by a 1.6-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine making 103 hp at 5,250 rpm and 153 Nm of torque at 3,800 rpm. The 1,598cc engine is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission. The characterful four-cylinder engine feels genuinely spritely and easily keeps up with traffic in town and on the highway.
Fuel economy is where the Volkswagen Polo shines. As tested, the 1.6-litre engine consumes 5.8L/100Km highway, 7.8L/100Km Urban and 6.3 L/100km combined as officially claimed.
Ride comfort is where the Polo does exceptionally well, where it’s supple enough to take the sting out most bumps and potholes. In addition, the Polo settles down at higher speeds, making one of the more stable and comfortable cruisers in its class. It may suffer from a fair amount of body lean through bends but it’s a predictable car to drive with plenty of grip and easy manoeuvrability when being guided through city traffic.
If you do opt for one, the Volkswagen Polo 1.6 is priced at RM69,888 without insurance and registration with 5 years manufacturer’s warranty, 5 years roadside assistance and a lengthy 15,000km service schedule.
+ Simple design
+ Upmarket interior
+ Frugal fuel consumption
– 1.6-litre engine struggles
Volkswagen Polo 1.6
Price Msia: RM69,888 (retail)
Engine: 1,598cc in-line four cylinder
Power: 103 hp
Torque: 153 Nm
Fuel Economy: 5.8 l/100km (Tested)
Transmission: Six-speed automatic transmission