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Juliet McGuire

First drive in the new Volkswagen Polo Vivo

Raise your hand if your first car was a Volkswagen Citi Golf? Mine too! Gosh they were cool back in the day, hey? Mine was white, which was not the colour I would have chosen for myself, but hey, who’s complaining? It had a 1,6-litre engine that would get me from 0-100 km/h in about 2 seconds flat. Who needed airbags or ABS? These were still the days when such safety features could only be found in the likes of my Grandad’s Volvo and it was only about image.

But the end of an era came when the Citi Golf was laid to rest and in its place arrived the Polo Vivo. I remember thinking this was utter crap! Who would buy a Vivo instead of a Citi Golf? Well, just about everyone in fact! The Vivo has been the best selling car in South Africa since it launched in 2010. Almost 200 000 units have been sold. Who is eating their words now? Me, that’s who!

In fairness to myself, the Vivo wasn’t exactly cool enough back then. But now, through more mature eyes, I can see that this second generation Vivo could one day, for our kids (or possibly grandkids) be their very own “Citi Golf.” It is an excellent product made even more likeable by the fact that it is made locally. That’s right! Almost 76% of the Vivo’s parts are sourced locally too. Local is lekker hey?

Volkswagen Polo Vivo interior

Now before you go all Courtney Love on me, I know you are thinking that this Vivo is just an old Polo so what is the big deal? You are right, it is based on the outgoing Polo, but it has been Vivo’d in a way that makes it more affordable. It has also had a tweak here and there to make it a slightly different car. We can’t very well have expected VW to put together a completely new product when it already had a best-seller on its hands.

The Vivo’s 1,4 and 1,6-litre engines have been carried over but they now consume less fuel. You can also now opt for the flagship 1,0 TSI 81 kW GT if you want a bit more oomph. But I was really impressed with the 1,6-litre 77 kW Highline. I don’t think you need much more, in fact. You get 153 N.m of torque and a smooth-shifting five-speed manual transmission. Could it do a with a sixth gear? Perhaps! But it is not as bad as many a five-speed I have had the not-so-pleasure of driving. It has all the bells and whistles like air con, electric windows, Bluetooth, a USB port, a driver and passenger airbag, ABS, Electronic Stability control and tyre pressure monitor. If you don’t want to cross over the R200 000 barrier, then the 1,4 Comfortline is the one you want.

It is truly an excellent offering from Volkswagen, once again, and when you consider that the Vivo has the best resale value in its class, it is hard to look at any of its competitors.

Here is the pricing of the new Volkswagen Polo Vivo:

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

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