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to the online resource for everything Volkswagen Polo.

Find the latest Polo news from around the world, past-model flashbacks, road tests, spotlights on selected models, as well as views from contributors here. If there is a Polo story that you would like to share or if you would just like to get in contact, email us at info@polodriver.com

13 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

The Beats go on: special edition Polo Beats arrives in South Africa

2016 Volkswagen Polo Beats (South Africa)

As with other markets across Europe and the UK, Volkswagen has launched the special edition Polo Beats in South Africa. Costing from R260,700 (VAT and emissions tax included), the most obvious feature of the latest distinctive fifth-generation Polo is a 300 watt ‘premium sound system’, complete with an 8-channel amplifier and digital sound processor.

As the name suggests, the Polo Beats’ is the product of a collaboration between US audio specialist Beats Electronics – founded in 2008 by Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine – and Volkswagen. The special small VW is the first Volkswagen in South Africa to feature a Beats makeover, with the new Up to follow, replicating the European and UK model roll-outs.

Seven speakers
The Polo Beats seven speakers include a pair of A-pillar tweeters, two woofers in the front doors, twin rear broadband speakers as well as a subwoofer integrated into the spare wheel well in the luggage compartment. Volkswagen South Africa claims that ‘this combination delivers powerful, punching bass tones which makes the occupants feel the music’. A ‘Composition Media’ infotainment system is standard, too, with Bluetooth, iPod, iPhone, AUX-in and App Connect interfaces.

As with other global editions of the Polo Beats, the exterior of the South African car is the obvious differentiator: 16-inch anthracite-finished ‘Portago’ alloy wheels are standard, along with red door mirror caps, dark red rear lights, and ‘Beats’ branding along the side of the car and on the B-pillar. Inside there are ‘quilted’ front sports seats, uniquely-trimmed door panels, coloured seat belts and a leather steering wheel.

For more information on the Polo Beats for South Africa visit bit.ly/2dZbL6V. Volkswagen South Africa has even commissioned a unique audio track for the car, which can be downloaded here.

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11 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Special edition Polo Vivo
set to take the market by Storm?

2016 Volkswagen Polo Vivo Storm (South Africa)

Volkswagen South Africa has once again struck on the popularity of its Polo Vivo model by introducing a new special edition, the Storm. Based on the 1.4-litre 84bhp/63kW Trendline, the Storm costs R187 300 (including VAT and emission tax) and includes equipment and special styling to differentiate it from the numerous standard versions of Volkswagen South Africa’s budget Polo offering.

Prominent change
Outside, black metallic 15-inch ‘Tosa’ alloy wheels jostle for attention with the ‘Storm’ body decals, gloss black mirror caps, front fog lights with chrome surrounds and chrome-tipped exhaust pipes. Inside, a two-tone grey and ‘ceramique’ dashboard is the most prominent change, while a leather trimmed steering wheel, gear lever gaiter and handbrake lever are also standard.

Special features
Other special features include an anthracite-coloured roof lining, and exclusive three-tone seat upholstery. As standard, the Polo Vivo Storm is fitted with a CD radio system with Bluetooth and SD card connectivity, and six speakers. The Storm joins the GTS as one of the most distinctive Vivo models available.

The Storm follows an announcement in September that Volkswagen South Africa is to also manufacture the Polo Vivo in Kenya, expanding production to cope with the demand the popular car has. Continually a best-seller since its introduction in 2010 when it replaced the CitiGolf, the Polo Vivo is based on the facelifted Series 4 Polo which was sold in Europe from 2005-2009.

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10 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Kristoffersson claims second place in World RX series at World RX of Latvia

2016 Volkswagen Polo RX, World RX of Latvia: Kristoffersson

After a disappointing result at the World RX of Spain, Volkswagen RX Sweden travelled to the inaugural World RX of Latvia with one clear objective: to achieve a strong result. Round 10 of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship took place at the 1.29km-long Bikernieki National Sports Base on 30 September to 2 October, and the event saw Volkswagen RX Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson finish fifth overall. The result doesn’t tell the whole story, though: the Swedish star is now second in the series’ Drivers’ Championship points.

Fastest time
Kristoffersson set the fastest time in the second qualifying heat on day one and also claimed the top spot in the third round, despite changeable weather conditions and torrential rain. With a time almost six seconds faster than any rival, the 600bhp Polo RX proved its capability and rewarded the Swedish driver with a first place at the end of the Intermediate Classification sessions. The rallycross and circuit star also started on pole position for the first semi-final, before crossing the line fifth in the final race.

The points boost saw Kristoffersson leap-frog over ex-WRC champion and reigning World RX leader Petter Holberg to take second place in the drivers’ standings, 27 points shy of leader Mattias Ekström. Kristoffersson was pleased with the improvement in his performance: ‘I was able do one very quick run in the dry and one in the wet this weekend, so that was good, and to be top after the qualifying races and move to P2 in the championship is great.

‘Lot of progress’
‘I have to thank the whole team because now we are scoring a lot of points at every race. We just have to keep pushing, to continue to try and fight for this championship. We missed a bit of pace in the semi-final and final, so it has not been an easy day for sure. We have made a lot of progress in the last few events and I’m looking forward to Germany in two weeks,’ he continued. A total of sixty points are available over the next and final two rounds of the season.

Kristofersson’s team-mate Anton Marklund endured a more challenging event in Riga. However, the former FIA European Rallycross Touring Car Champion also improved on his points tally in the championship standings at the Latvian event. A spin in the torrentially wet conditions of the third qualifying session cost Marklund time, without which he would have made the semi-finals. As it was he finished 15th in Latvia.

‘Very tough’
The young Swede conceded his result was not what he expected: ‘This weekend has been very tough for me. I got a brand new chassis for this round and the mechanics have done an amazing job. It looks like a show car, it’s stunning and I was really looking forward to racing it here. We set some good lap times but I didn’t have the feeling on the first day.

‘I had really good pace in the wet on the morning of dat two, but hit some water and had a 360-degree spin, which cost me a lot of time. If you take away the time I lost, I would have been P4 in Q3 and that would have got me into the semi-finals. It’s disappointing, but I’m testing here in Latvia all day on Monday to find improvements in myself and the car, so I can show what I can do in Germany,’ he added.

‘Huge effort’
Michael Schneider, Volkswagen RX Sweden Team Principal is pleased with the progress made in both wet and dry conditions, and says the team will do all it can to help Kristoffersson fight for the 2016 World RX Drivers’ Championship title. ‘Johan had a very good weekend. To be top qualifier takes a huge effort from the team and driver, and it proves again that we have the pace to run at the front,’ said Schneider. ‘We will work hard to do everything we can to finish in the best possible place after the last round in Argentina. Nothing is over until after the final round.’

Volkswagen RX Sweden remains third in the World Rallycross Teams’ Championship points. The next round the series will take place in two weeks’ time at the Estering in Germany on 15-16 October, where US TV star and rallycross driver Tanner Foust will join the Swedish outfit in a third Volkswagen Polo RX Supercar.



1 Mattias Ekström, Audi S1: 228
2 Johan Kristoffersson, Volkswagen Polo: 201
2 Petter Solberg, Citroën DS3: 194
4 Andreas Bakkerud, Ford Focus RS: 192
5 Sébastien Loeb, Peugeot 208: 180



1 EKS: 333
2 Team Peugeot Hansen: 345
3 Volkswagen RX Sweden: 265
4 Hoonigan Racing Division: 247
5 World RX Team Austria: 187

[Images: FIAWorldRallycross.com / Volkswagen RX Sweden]

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06 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

The great pretender? Road test: Volkswagen Polo R-Line 1.0 TSI

The Polo R-Line is the latest in a string of models to tempt the sports-focused driver, but with no direct link to the Polo R WRC rally car and a small displacement engine, does it deserve its performance-orientated badge?

2016 Volkswagen Polo R-Line 1.0 TSI

The Volkswagen Polo R WRC is the most successful rally car in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) when it comes to win ratios (40 wins from 49 events), but there has never been a mainstream production model to capitalise on its success. Yes, the Polo R WRC Street of 2013 celebrated its motorsport relative’s first year of success, but a very limited continental market-only production run of just 2500 left-hand drive examples meant it was never going to be widely seen.

And while Audi produces a four-wheel drive version of its Polo-based small car, the S1 slots nearly into the Ingolstadt company’s Quattro range of cars. Four-wheel drive Polo prototypes have been built – and driven – but they remain just that: prototypes. A high-specification, high-power Polo R is seen as expensive to produce and therefore expensive to sell, and like the the R WRC Street before it, would be produced in such small numbers to make it unfeasible.

Enthusiasts’ machine
With road-going versions of current World Rally cars no longer needed to be produced to satisfy homologation requirements, a Polo R will most likely never materialise. That’s a shame, as with no correlation between its rally (and rallycross) counterparts, the Polo road car will never be seen as enthusiasts’ machine.

The 189bhp GTI currently sits at the top of the Polo tree and even with that there’s the debate about whether it is reined in to not clash with arguably one of Volkswagen’s crown jewels, the Golf GTI, which itself celebrates four decades of success in 2016.

So where does that leave the Polo driver who admires the motorsport style of the WRC car but also, like many traditional buyers, has one eye on economy and comfort? Enter the Polo R-Line. With a sporty external appearance, a high specification and a choice of economical petrol and diesel engines, the R-Line might not be the mythical full fat R, but is arguably the nearest buyers of the current car will get.

Prices start at £16,455 for the 89bhp 1.2-litre TSI three-door, and rise to £19,190 for the five-door 108bhp 1.0 TSI DSG. Our test car, a five-door six-speed manual fitted with the smaller capacity turbocharged petrol engine weighed in at £17,815, although a handful of extras (more of which later) nudged that price to a near-GTI £19,440.

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05 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Polo sits steadfastly as the sixth most popular car in the UK

2016 Volkswagen Polo (UK)

The Polo is a continued UK success, even as the current fifth-generation car edges ever closer to the end of its lifecyle. The latest batch of registration figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that the the Polo remains the sixth most popular car in the UK, following a rise to the spot just outside the top five in August. A total of 9765 versions of the small Volkswagen were registered in September. In the year-to-date chart, the Polo remains in seventh place.

In a repeat of what has happened throughout 2016, the Ford Fiesta tops both charts: 19,769 examples of the small Ford were registered during September, while 96,139 Fiesta registrations have been recorded during 2016 so far. As a whole, 469,696 new cars were registered in plate-change September, which the SMMT quotes as a steady rise of 1.6 per cent and the highest September on record. 

The total number of cars registered in the UK so far during 2016 so far has grown to 2,150,495 units – up 2.6 per cent compared with the same period last year. It is only the second time that the two million mark has been passed in September since 2004. The UK’s top 10 most popular passenger cars during September 2016 and the year so far (sales figure and position in brackets) are as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 19,769 (96,139, 1st)
2 Vauxhall Corsa: 14,570 (64,295, 2nd)
3 Volkswagen Golf: 11,003 (54,954, 4th)
4 Ford Focus: 10,992 (57,137, 3rd)
5 Nissan Qashqai: 10,619 (50,293, 5th)
6 Volkswagen Polo: 9765 (43,642, 7th)
7 Vauxhall Astra: 9495 (44,771, 6th)
8 Audi A3: 9252 (33,240, 10th)
9 Mini: 9025 (36,738, 8th)
10 Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 8603 (34,994, 9th)

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