Sprint Review: Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSi 85kW R-Line

I feel a bit sorry for Volkswagen, and so should you. Although they were probably part of the culprits, our demand for ever-modernised vehicles has left us with countless premium brands and a handful of weird cheapies. Guess which one “the people’s car” now belongs to?

You should know: Yup. VW is a proper premium brand, which anyone will attest to after spending just a few minutes behind the wheel of a new Polo. My local Volksie-whisperer agrees with me when I proclaim that their (mostly interior) quality levels had some recent wobbles which no longer put this German marque ahead of the pack.

More info: That doesn’t mean this car’s cabin is garbage; far from it. It’s certainly on a level with the Hyundais and Kias of this world while differentiating itself with the sober layout one expects from this nation. Everything just works, nothing’s confusing and – hurray – this model had a physical volume knob!

Why you shouldn’t: The double-clutch automated-manual gearbox is a bit naff at low speeds; not my words, every one of my colleagues pointed it out first. The upside of this commuter-friendly self-shifter is that the lively 1L engine has an extra degree of vooma and, once on the move, this drive train is properly impressive.

Why you should: Besides the sensible brand and great execution of this compact hatchback, you could also choose this for its on-board technology, funky and comfy furniture, excellent ride and headlights, generous dimensions and great fuel efficiency.

VWSA claims 5.4L/100km from the 40L tank.

What else? I guarantee that this dearer R-Line model (which costs a whopping R52,500 more) will be everyone’s first choice. Our press vehicle’s Vibrant Violet Metallic paint job, most certainly not. I thought it looked superb. Almost unique. Something I would certainly want on such a popular and excellent vehicle.


Engine:999cc in-line 3-cylinder turbo-petrol
Transmission:7-speed DCT, FWD
Max. Power:85kW @ 5000rpm
Max. Torque:200Nm @ 2000rpm
Avg. cons.:Claimed 5.4L/100km
0-100km/h: seconds (claimed 9.7)
Top Speed:Claimed 200km/h
List Price: R445,500  

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