The Volkswagen Polo Sedan is finally here in Malaysia, having just been launched by Volkswagen Group Malaysia in Langkawi, with simultaneous launches in every VW showroom across the country. The media launch on Langkawi Island was beamed to every showroom so that all the VW guests could view what was actually happening and the unveiling at the showrooms was done at the exact moment the Polo sedan appeared on stage in Langkawi.
The Volkswagen Polo sedan is equipped with a 1.6 litre, 16-valve, 105PS fuel injected engine with class-leading torque of 153Nm. Mated to the engine is a 6-speed automatic gearbox that helps to accelerate the Polo sedan from zero to 100 kph in 12.3 seconds while enabling a fuel consumption of only 6.5 litres per 100 kilometres (Combined cycle, NEDC). The Polo sedan is designed as a ‘mainstream’ car, and is aimed at family types who want a good and safe car that is economical to run. At the asking price of RM99, 888.00, it is the ‘people’s car’ from Volkswagen – in our context, it offers an affordable German-engineered car.
In terms of value for money, the Polo sedan, whilst being priced at a premium over its Japanese competitors, does offer four airbags (driver and front passenger and 2 side airbags), along with the givens such as ABS, and EBD. In addition, all four windows feature ‘one touch’ activation, something we only see in more expensive cars, and on top of it all is the German technology, engineering and quality that comes with every Volkswagen. Inside, the quality of the interior is pretty good when compared to its Japanese rivals, with nicely contoured seats. The dashboard, instrumentation is similar to other cars in the range, and if you are a Volkswagen person, you will feel very comfortable in the Polo sedan.
In terms of looks, the Polo sedan is more ‘establishment’; I don’t mean ‘old-fashioned’, as it looks quite good – what I mean is that those who want a hatchback will still go for the hatchback models, but those who want a sedan will find this car very attractive. What is good about the Polo sedan is that it looks like a real sedan, and not a hatchback with a tail added on to bring in those buyers who want a car with a boot. One of the reasons why it looks good is because the Polo sedan, although sharing the DNA of the Polo, is actually built on a different platform, with a longer wheelbase and a wider track. I have been told that although the body panels may look similar to the Polo hatchback, they are not interchangeable – what you are getting is a totally different body.
Driving the Polo sedan around on Langkawi Island, we did not have a chance to hit top speed of 183 kph, but it easy got up to 160 on a stretch where it was relatively safe to do so. This car does not have a turbocharger, and thus does not have the ‘kick’ that is associated with charged induction engines, but what it does have is a great seamless transmission that delivers smooth power all the way. The engine has a sweet spot at around 90 to 100 kph, where everything is super smooth and quiet, and with the engine just ticking over at a little more than 2000 rpm, it explains why the fuel economy is so good. Sound insulation is excellent, with very little noise from the outside, and there is virtually no wind noise while we were enjoying our cruise around the island.
I don’t suppose the Polo sedan would appeal to the types who would want a car like the Polo GTi, or the golf GTi – an out and out performance car the Polo sedan is not, but it will appeal to those who just want a good and safe car that is continental-made. Anyway, for those who want a little more excitement, there is always the Polo hatchback with the TSi engine, or the Polo GTi. The Polo sedan is here to fill up the gap for those who want something more establishment.
Overall handling is good, with the car being very sure-footed around the twisty roads near Pantai Cenang. This is a car that you will feel quite secure in. Inside the car, there is plenty of legroom and headroom, and the boot with 454 litre of capacity is big enough for normal usage.
Generally, I find the Polo sedan to be what most mainstreamers would want to have in a sedan; safe, comfortable, well-built, easy to drive, and economical to run – and in any market, it is the mainstreamers that make up the bulk of the purchasers – the non-conformists and the detractors would be the ones who will go for the GTi’s and the hatchbacks. Volkswagen has all of these other cars in its line-up – therefore the Polo sedan will make the model line-up even more complete.