First drive in the updated Volkswagen Polo

Did you know that the Volkswagen Polo is the second best-selling passenger car in South Africa? Beaten only by the Polo Vivo? It is the second most sold car for Volkswagen. Did you know that 18 million Polo’s have been sold? Did you know that South Africa is the second biggest market, after Germany, for the Polo GTI? Did you know that the Polo is built right here in Kariega? And that 75% are exported to other parts of the world? I realise this is a lot of info, but I flipping love a “Did you know.”

I will talk about the updated Polo in a second, but first, a few more “Did you knows.” Did you know that the first Beetle was produced at the VW plant here in SA in 1951? I had no idea. This plant is also the only plant in the world that produces the Polo GTI. I did not know that either.


Fine, I will lay off the questions, for now. We saw the very first Polo way back in 1975, well, I did not see it, I wasn’t born yet. It was set to provide basic mobility. It follows on from the Beetle and the Citi Golf as being the safe choice. Even I have owned a Citi Golf, a Polo and a Golf. It was the natural progression when I was growing up. I never had a Beetle, but that’s because we had a Morris Minor instead, a convertible one noggal.

This current sixth generation Polo was launched in 2017, which is the year I got married…not that it is related, but I thought you might like to know. This updated version sees a redesigned front and rear bumper, new foglamps, new taillights, a digital cockpit as standard throughout, new seat trim and interior inserts as well as a new multi-function steering wheel.

VW Polo


The naming convention of the Polo has changed. You now have the standard Polo, the Polo Life, the R-Line and of course, the GTI. I am not going to list everything on each model because it will get laborious. But what you must bear in mind is that there is a helluva list of optional extras, as we have come to expect from VW, which can take a price from zero to hero rather quickly.

For the first time, the Polo is offered with a system called IQ. Drive Travel Assist which brings together the functions of the new Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist to create a new system which enables semi-automated driving.


You can choose between the 1.0 TSI 70 kW engine with 175 Nm. It is mated to a five-speed manual transmission. I drove this model from Gqeberha to Jeffrey’s Bay and all it did was remind me how much I love a Polo. Regardless of the engine, everything works so beautifully. I can’t fault it. Sure, I wouldn’t mind more power, and so I could choose the 1.0 TSI 85 kW with 200 Nm, mated to a seven-speed DSG transmission. Or even the GTI with its 20-litre 147 kW and 320 Nm engine. Although, it must be said that the ride on the GTI is far too firm for my liking. I would opt for the middle of the road 85 kW and pick R-Line trim, if I could.

VW Polo


  • Polo 1.0 TSI 70kW Manual R311 800
  • Polo Life 1.0 TSI 70kW Manual R350 000
  • Polo Life 1.0 TSI 85kW DSG® R370 700
  • Polo R-Line 1.0 TSI 85kW DSG® R421 900
  • Polo GTI 2.0 TSI 147kW DSG® R489 400

The Polo comes standard with a three year/120 000km warranty and three-year/ 45 000km EasyDrive Service Plan.

Many will complain about the pricing of the new Polo. And look, I know I couldn’t afford it. But one has to look at the current state of the car market. It is terrifying to think that one could potentially spend close to half a million rand on a Polo. In fact, it is downright insane. But it is where we find ourselves at this point and all I know is the Polo is an excellent product. Always has been, always will be. It will continue to be a success, for good reason. It is a bit like a Golf, there is not much to fault about it. Speaking of the Golf, I will leave you with one more “Did you know.” Did you know that the exterior of the current Polo is bigger than the Golf 3 and that the interior is bigger than the Golf 4? I bet you didn’t know that!

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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