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16 May 2022 ~ 0 Comments

Car & Classic Auction watch: 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

The 2000-2002 Volkswagen Polo GTI established the model’s name in the UK, building on the fun factor of the early Nineties Polo G40. A fun car with a bright personality, PoloDriver.com editor Rich Gooding owned one for almost a decade. Now you can, as a low mileage example comes up for auction on the Car & Classic website.

Oh my. Look at this. I have very happy memories of this one. Although the Polo GTI first gained VW’s legendary go-faster badge almost 25 years ago, the first cars released in 1998 were limited in number. Only 3,000 of the 120bhp Polo GTI were available to Polo fans in Europe. Once they were gone, customers had to wait until the refreshed third-generation Polo was launched in the autumn of 1999 to get their hands on, what was billed at the time, the spiritual successor to the original 1976 Golf GTI.

Zippy personality
But it was worth the wait. The revamped cars gained 3bhp, and a more ‘GTI’ look, even though they shared much with the original run of cars. The 15-inch BBS alloy wheels were the same, slightly bonkers – and bright, unless the optional posher leather trim was specified – interior was the same, and the re-invigorated hot Polo’s get-up-and-go was the same, too. The 0-62mph dash was dispatched in 8.7 seconds, although the Polo GTI’s 1.6-litre engine’s revvy and zippy personality made it feel faster.

I ran a 2001 Polo GTI for almost 10 years and loved it. Well-built with a colourful interior and many ‘big-car’ appointments such as xenon headlamps – the Polo GTI was the first small car to have them as standard – ABS, and traction control, it was never the sharpest driving tool in the box, but it was still a lot of fun. Which is why this 2001 Polo GTI which goes under the Car & Classic online auction hammer later today, piqued my interest.

Low mileage example
Only sold in the UK from 2000-2002, the ‘6N2’ Polo GTI is a moderately rare car, with only 3,300 imported during that period. Many have been modified or written-off (as happened to my beloved car, but only because it was involved in a rear-end smash in the summer of 2021), so there tend to be few chances to find a low mileage example. And what a gem this car looks to be.

The headline stats are one owner, and 86,000 miles. Yes, that’s right, this car has had just one owner, and has covered under 90,000 miles in 21 years. Externally, aside from its headlamps, which could do with a polish, it looks perfect, the Reflex Silver paintwork – the millennial Polo GTI was only available in black, red or silver like the original Golf GTI – contrasting nicely with the red tail lights.

Refurbished wheels
The brake calipers peeping out from behind the 15-inch BBS rims are red, just as they left the factory, and the split-rim wheels themselves have been refurbished. The listing stated that there is a very small imperfection on the paint on a wheel arch, but you’d be hard-pressed to see it. Inside, the Lupo-derived dash is fantastic, the red door cards look clean, as do the strangely-upholstered (I’ve never understood the number 1) sports seats. There’s a little wear on the outside bolsters which seems odd, as my car seemed to not suffer this, even after 148,000 miles, however, it’s all more than presentable.

The Sony six-CD autochanger is present and correct in the boot, and under the bonnet, the engine looks great, with its red HT leads still in place. A full service has just been undertaken, including a cambelt change, and the car has new Toyo tyres as well as new brake pads and discs. It also has a full service history and even the original bill of sale.

Potential modern classic
All in all, this Polo GTI is a great starting place for a potential modern classic. Although not quite at ‘classic’ level yet – the car has always lived in the Golf GTI’s shadow – as they get rarer, who knows what the future might hold for the 6N2 Polo GTI. But you’ve only got to look at the pictures to see the potential: tidy, understated styling that looks just right, wheels in a classic design that really suit the car, and an interior which screams ‘fun’ in a rare break from the Volkswagen norm. Add in a fantastically solid build, a zesty engine and that GTI practicality, and it looks a winner. I know, I owned one.

If you fancy owning one, too, head over to the Car & Classic listing to see full details and lots of photos of the car. The Polo GTI Car & Classic Auction starts at 14:30 today, 16 May.

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07 May 2022 ~ 0 Comments

Car & Classic Auction watch: 1989 Volkswagen Polo CL

It’s strange – and shocking – to realise that early examples of the second-generation Polo are now over 40 years old. However, that means that while it’s not quite a fully paid-up member of the bona-fide ‘classic car’ scene, it is starting to earn a reputation as a starter modern classic. Its cult currency is growing in VW circles, too.

Sloane Ranger darling
Very popular in its heyday – indeed at one point in the mid-1980s, Volkswagen UK sold more Polos than Golfs – the high-spec Polo ‘breadvan’ was the darling of ‘Sloane Rangers’, and was a common sight on the streets of London. (Though we doubt it influenced Volkswagen’s own decision to rename the top-spec GL the ‘Ranger’ from 1987, following a 1986 special edition with the same name.) Seen as an upmarket adversary to the Austin Metro, Fiat Uno, Ford Fiesta, Renault 5, and Vauxhall Nova, a top-rung Polo was a thing to behold.

As is this Polo, due to go under the online hammer on 8 May on the Car & Classic website. Very much a ‘Sloanie’ Polo in appearance, this 1989 Polo CL has covered just 42,700 miles since it rolled off the forecourt, and has an amazing 23 service stamps in its full and unmolested service book.

Fitted with the 55bhp 1,272cc engine, it has a little more get and go than the standard 1,043cc Polo. It’s a five-speeder, too. The listing states that it has barely ventured further than the local area in Sussex where it’s based, and going on the condition, we believe it!

Supplying dealer sticker
High points include the interior, which, thanks to constant garaging throughout the car’s life, is in fine fettle, with no damage to the plastics or fabric trim. The ashtray and cigarette lighter have never even been used, and the carpets have been protected by official Volkswagen floor mats.

While the exterior isn’t quite so blemish-free – a couple of rust spots and some minor paint issues – there is a supplying dealer sticker in the rear window, and all four of the distinctive ‘flat-face’ wheel trims are in place. There is even a pop-out sunroof, which, in period, could leak, but the listing points out this would appear not to be the case with this car.

All in all, G895 WOR looks like a ‘classic’ case of a very well-looked after and very low-mileage second generation Polo. Ironically, it’s its exceptional condition that makes it a car which deserves to shine at events such as Hegarty’s Festival of the Unexceptional. We hope it finds a good home and has its time in the spotlight.

If you fancy a slice of 1980s Sloane Ranger action, the Polo CL Car & Classic Auction starts at 14:25 on 8 May. Head over to the Car & Classic listing to see full details of the car and lots and lots of photos.

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04 March 2022 ~ 0 Comments

2022 Volkswagen Polo awarded five stars by Euro NCAP

The 2022 Volkswagen Polo has been awarded a maximum five-star safety rating by European safety testing body Euro NCAP. In the first round of 2022 tests, the Polo gained its ratings in all four areas of safety: adult and child occupant protection, vulnerable road users – cyclists and pedestrians – and standard assist systems.

Based on factors including frontal and lateral impacts and whiplash tests, the Polo scored 94 per cent in the ‘Occupant protection for adults’ category. One safety feature of all new Polos is a centre airbag for the front seats, which, in the event of a side collision, can help to prevent or reduce possible head contact between front seat occupants.

Child protection
For child protection, the Polo achieved an 80 per cent rating. Assessing the protection provided by child restraint systems in frontal or lateral impacts, the score also takes into account the options for the installation of child seats of various sizes, and the equipment a vehicle offers for the safe transportation of children.

In the ‘Assist systems’ category, the Polo achieved 70 per cent. As standard, all Polos feature a Driver Alert System, a Front Assist emergency braking system with city emergency braking function and pedestrian detection, as well as a Lane Assist lane keeping assistant.

Emergency braking systems
Euro NCAP also examines how well automatic emergency braking systems protect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. Here, the Polo scored 70 per cent. Its standard-fit Front Assist system recognises critical distance situations by using a radar sensor and camera, helping to shorten stopping distances. In more dangerous situations, the system warns the driver both visually and acoustically, and by issuing a braking jolt and automatic braking.

As well as the five stars achieved by the Polo, the new Volkswagen Taigo small SUV – closely related to the Polo – and the all-electric ID 5 were also awarded maximum Euro NCAP safety ratings. First launched in 1997, 2022 marks 25 years of the Euro NCAP safety assessment programme, and in that time, testing procedures and the requirements of standard assistance systems and passive safety have become increasingly rigorous.

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27 January 2022 ~ 1 Comment

Viva la Vivo! Second-generation Polo Vivo celebrates 100,000th production milestone

Viva la Vivo (as Coldplay very probably wouldn’t sing)! Volkswagen South Africa has a reason to celebrate, as the 100,000th example of the current Polo Vivo rolled off the production lines at its Kariega (formerly Uitenhage) factory. Based on the Series 5 Polo, the milestone car was a 108bhp Polo Vivo GT finished in Flash Red.

The 100,000th Polo Vivo arrives just four years after production of the second-generation model began in 2018. Over 354,000 examples have now been made at Kariega, the first-generation Polo Vivo made from 2017-2017, based on the fourth-generation Volkswagen Polo built from 2005-2009. A unique model only sold in South Africa, the Vivo replaced the Mk 1 Golf-based Citi Golf, introduced in 1984 as a cost-conscious and fun entry-level car.

Sales chart topper
It’s very safe to say that the Polo Vivo is popular: the best-selling car in South Africa since its introduction in 2010, over 350,289 Polo Vivos have been sold up until December 2021, Its most popular year was 2019, when Volkswagen South Africa sold 29,618 Polo Vivos in a single year. October 2018 was the car’s most popular month, when 3,009 examples were registered.

Alongside the Polo Vivo, the current sixth-generation Polo is produced at Kariega. The latest model not only joins the Polo Vivo in its production home – it often appears below the Vivo in the sales charts taking second place. Kariegan-built Polos are exported to all global right-hand-drive markets, and Volkswagen South Africa additionally supplements production for left-hand-drive markets.

‘A proud moment’
‘This milestone means a lot to our team, both in production and in the rest of the company,’ said Ulrich Schwabe, Production Director at Volkswagen South Africa. ‘Given the challenges of our industry and of the Covid-19 pandemic, this achievement is a proud moment that sets the tone for a successful year ahead. I am grateful to every Volkswagen South Africa employee for their dedication, and the part they played in making this milestone a reality.’

As well as a road car aimed at younger and more cost-conscious buyers, the Polo Vivo has also taken to race tracks as the star of the one-make Engen Volkswagen Cup racing series, and has pounded rally routes in S2000 guise, contesting the South African National Rally Championship. A phenomenally successful model for Volkswagen South Africa, the Polo Vivo’s appeal shows no signs of dimming yet. 

For 2022, Volkswagen Polo Vivo prices start at R232,500 for the 1.4-litre Trendline, rising through Comfortline and Highline trims to the range-topping 108bhp GT, which costs from R314,300.

2017 Volkswagen Citi Vivo (South Africa)

POLO VIVO: A POTTED HISTORY

2010 Polo Vivo hatch and saloon launched in South Africa, replacing the Citi Golf.

2011 Polo Vivo S2000 rally car takes on 2011 South African National Rally Championship.

2011-2014 Polo Vivo circuit racing cars star in Engen Volkswagen Cup race series.

2011 103bhp Polo Vivo GT launched.

2011 More fuel efficient Polo Vivo Blueline introduced.

2012 Polo Vivo Zest added to the range.

2013 Polo Vivo Maxx launched with off-road styling and 103bhp 1.6-litre engine.

2014 Refreshed and updated Polo Vivo introduced.

2015 Special edition Polo Vivo Eclipse introduced.

2015 Style-conscious Polo Vivo Street hatchback launched.

2016 Polo Vivo Xpress light commercial launched.

2016 Polo Vivo GTS replaces Polo Vivo GT.

2016 Polo Vivo production boosted by additional Kenyan manufacture factory.

2016 Polo Vivo Storm introduced based on 1.4-litre 84bhp Polo Vivo Trendline.

2017 New Polo Citi Vivo revives Citi Golf colour schemes and spirit.

2018 Second-generation Polo Vivo launched based on Series 5 Volkswagen Polo.

2018 New Polo Vivo Maxx revealed.

2019 Polo Beats-like Polo Vivo Sound Edition introduced.

2019 Polo Vivo Dune concept unveiled at 2019 Festival of Motoring.

2020 Special edition Polo Vivo Mswenko goes on sale.

2021 Polo Vivo Black Style launched to offer a more distinctive appearance.

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13 January 2022 ~ 0 Comments

Johan Kristoffersson to drive VW in 2022 World Rallycross – will it be a Polo?

Four-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Johan Kristoffersson is returning to the series in 2022, with his sights set on a fifth Drivers’ prize. Three of those four series wins were at the wheel of a Polo RX, and the 33-year-old has confirmed that for 2022, he will be back in a Volkswagen. So, will it be a Polo?

Kristoffersson’s association with the rallycross Polo is legendary, so we can only hope that as the fire-breathing cars in the top-tier series are based on small hatches, there’s a good chance a Polo could make an RX return. But, what we do know is that if Kristoffersson’s machine does have ‘POLO’ on its backside, it won’t be like any other Polo, because it will be electric.

Electric powertrain
Yes, that’s right. Kristoffersson Motorsport (KMS) is fielding three Volkswagens in the World RX’s inaugural electric campaign. Alongside Kristoffersson will be two team-mates, and underpinning the cars will be the Kreisel Electric-developed RX1e electric powertrain. With a pair of motors, up to 500kW – equivalent to 680bhp – and 880Nm of torque available instantly will mean the cars will have acceleration faster than an Formula 1 car.

The idea of an electric motorsport isn’t so outlandish. Baumschlager Rallye & Racing GmbH has been event testing Kreisel’s similar RX-E1 electric drivetrain in rally situations, using a Skoda Motorsport-prepared Fabia, so the concept isn’t new – and the Fabia is a Volkswagen Group product – but it will be interesting to see the technology into another discipline. Ideally suited to RX because of its short spring race format, Kristoffersson is energised by the move to electric. As in 2020, KMS will run under the Volkswagen Dealerteam BAUHAUS banner.

‘Really inspiring’
‘It’s really inspiring to be part of rallycross’ new electric era right from the outset,’ he stated. ‘The last time we undertook a project on a scale of this kind was in 2014, when we built our own cars for the first season of the World Rallycross Championship. The big difference is that back then, I was completely inexperienced in rallycross – whereas things are a little different now..

‘There are a lot of unknowns when everything is so new. In recent years, we have all followed proven concepts, so the development steps have been comparatively small – but there is much greater potential with these new cars,’ Kristoffersson continued. ‘Electric is the future for both motorsport and the automotive industry in general, and helping to drive that development is, for me, one of the most fascinating aspects of the sport. I expect an incredibly tough, competitive season ahead, and I’m excited to get started!’

‘Wealth of knowledge’
‘This will be the largest project in KMS’ history,’ said Tommy Kristoffersson, team manager of Kristoffersson Motorsport. ‘A small family business building and developing three new cars in accordance with a new concept clearly comes with great personal responsibility, but we can rely upon a team of extremely skilled individuals, and a wealth of knowledge and experience from Germany and within our own workshop in Arvika.’

‘Johan Kristoffersson is one of the biggest motorsport names Sweden has ever known,’ stated Sten Forsberg, CEO, Volkswagen Sweden. ‘Four FIA World Rallycross Championship titles is an outstanding accomplishment, and we wish him all the best now that he is taking the step into the sport’s new electric era – most importantly, with a Volkswagen emblem on the front of his car.’

The action will get underway at the Swedish rallycross track Höljes on 2-3 July, but details of the car itself and the remaining pair of drivers are expected to be announced soon. We’re keeping everything crossed for a Polo-shaped return to the premier rallycross series, and an exciting step into its possible electric future…

 

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