28 September 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen adds swagger to Polo Vivo with Mswenko special edition

Riding on a decade of success, a new special edition derivative of the Polo Vivo has been launched in South Africa. The Polo Vivo Mswenko has been named after the isZulu word for ‘swag’, which is an expression of attitude and confidence in the Bantu language of the Zulus. Aimed at ‘dynamic and young at heart’ buyers, the R246,900 Polo Vivo Mswenko has some eye-catching features.

Outside, there are ‘Mswenko’ (pronounced ‘m-swe-nkoh’) diamond door decals, a black roof, coloured mirror caps, 16-inch anthracite ‘Portago’ alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, and a chrome exhaust tip. Inside, there are even more statement features. The most notable change over a standard Polo Vivo are the very bright ‘Ocean Blue’ seats, but there is also anthracite headlining, silver dashboard inserts, six speakers, a leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel and gear knob, and App Connect.

Style and attitude
Along with that little lot, and the available four colours – Limestone Grey, Pure White, Reef Blue, and Reflex Silver – the Polo Vivo Mswenko should easily live up to the ‘mswenko’ tag. In South Africa, a self-confident and stylish person is said to have ‘swag’. The word ‘mswenko’, which is unique to South Africa, also refers to a person’s style, attitude and general demeanour.

In Volkswagen South Africa dealers from October 2020, the Polo Vivo Mswenko is based on the 1.4-litre 63kW Polo Vivo Comfortline, and costs R246,900. A three-year/120,000km warranty is standard, along with a six-year anti-corrosion warranty. A Volkswagen Maintenance Plan as well as a Volkswagen Service Plan are available as options, and service intervals are 15,000kms.

Since its introduction in March 2010, the Volkswagen Polo Vivo has been the most popular car in South Africa, with over 261,285 registered. Originally based on the fourth-generation European Polo, the Vivo took the shape of the fifth-generation Polo in February 2018. One of the reasons for its success may be that its cost of ownership over a three-year cycle makes it one of the most affordable cars to own in the South African market. Proof that swag confidence is more than style deep.

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11 August 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Model Year 2021 updates applied to Volkswagen Polo range

MY21 Volkswagen roundel

As Volkswagen starts production of Model Year 2021 cars, a raft of changes have been introduced across the range, and the Polo benefits from small amendments to its specification and engine choices.

The largest external change to Volkswagen’s supermini is the the positioning of the ‘Polo’ model designation badge, which now appears spaced out under the ‘VW’ roundel on the tailgate of the car, as with the new Golf. The roundel itself has been revised, too, and now adopts the simplified VW logo which first first unveiled in autumn 2019.

‘Extra reassurance’
SEL trim now gains the choice of the three-cylinder, 1.0-litre TSI 93bhp petrol engine, while the Polo range now begins with SE trim. Across all Polo trim levels, Emergency Call Service has been added, which Volkswagen states ‘brings extra reassurance in the event of an incident’.

Further changes are set to be announced at a later date. The sound-optimised ‘Beats’ model is to be given a new exterior and interior treatment, which we suspect, is part of a wider-reaching round of revisions or mid-cycle refresh, given that the sixth-generation model has now been on sale for just over three years.

RDE2-compliant engines
Elsewhere, other Volkswagens receive new ‘VW’ and ‘R-Line’ logos, and all compatible models have been updated to include the latest ‘MIB3’ infotainment system, bringing the benefit of wireless Apple CarPlay – alongside streaming and internet – thanks to an integrated eSIM. Additionally, cleaner RDE2-compliant engines are being introduced on all models throughout the coming months.

MY21 Volkswagen MIB3 system

The T-Cross, the Polo’s SUV brother – and Volkswagen’s smallest SUV – is also fitted with the new VW roundel, and MIB3, featuring wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity and a three-year subscription to We Connect Plus. The T-Cross range also gains fully RDE2-compliant engines, with the addition of a three-cylinder, 1.0-litre TSI 107bhp DSG unit. The existing 93, 112, and 147bhp options remain.

Sarah Cox, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen UK said: ‘Model Year updates usually bring a host of improvements, but the introduction of a new infotainment system, the stylish new badge for much of the range, and the latest RDE2-compliant engines rolling out across the rest of the year, on top of many other changes, combine to create a step above and beyond the regular update.’

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06 August 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo returns to UK top ten most popular cars list

2019 Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo returned to the most popular cars in the UK chart in July, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). With 2,932 Polos registered, the small Volkswagen was in seventh place, marking the first time it had been in the rundown since February 2020. However, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Polo maintained its eighth position in the year-to-date top ten figures – 13,046 Polos have been registered since the start of 2020.

The Vauxhall Corsa topped the chart, with 5,455 registrations, no doubt a benefit of the all-new model now hitting the UK. The Ford Fiesta was in second place with 5,421 units, with another blue oval-badged model, the Focus, third, 4,981 cars finding homes. The Volkswagen Golf and Mercedes-Benz A-Class rounded out the top five cars, with 3,936 and 3,922 units respectively.

Pent-up demand
Unsurprisingly, UK registrations were down 41.9 per cent when compared to 2019 year-to-date figures. The SMMT reports that pent-up demand saw registrations rally in July with an 11.3 per cent increase to 174,887 vehicles. By the end of the year, though, it forecasts overall tallies to be down by 30 per cent, totalling £20bn in lost sales.* The UK’s top ten most popular new cars during July 2020 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Vauxhall Corsa: 5,455 (23,101, 3rd)
2 Ford Fiesta: 5,421 (23,126, 1st)
3 Ford Focus: 4,981 (23,126, 2nd)
4 Volkswagen Golf: 3,936 (21,825, 4th)

5 Mercedes-Benz A-Class: 3,922 (17,648, 6th)
6 Nissan Qashqai: 2,971 (17,777, 5th)

7 Volkswagen Polo: 2,932 (13,046, 8th)
8 Mini: 2,906 (15,146, 7th)
9 Volkswagen Tiguan: 2.880 (12,822, 9th)
10 Ford Kuga: 2,686

(The 2020 year-to-date top ten most popular car absent from July 2020’s UK registration figures was the tenth-placed Toyota Yaris with 12,646 units recorded.)

* Based on an expected shortfall of c708,000 units at an average cost from JATO of c£28,000 per vehicle.

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28 July 2020 ~ 1 Comment

Solberg and Polo GTI R5 storm 2020 Rally di Roma Capitale on full asphalt debut

2020 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Rally di Roma Capitale: Solberg

Oliver Solberg celebrated his FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) return at the 2020 Rally di Roma Capitale (24-26 July) by driving his PA Racing-backed Volkswagen Polo GTI R5 to third place. The 18-year-old’s full asphalt debut saw him run in third from the fifth stage until the end of the 123-mile event.

‘For me, this is a little bit like winning,’ said the son of triple World Rally Champion (WRC) Petter Solberg. ‘Before the start, I didn’t know anything about where my speed would be. I drove Rallye Monte-Carlo which is a little bit of a tarmac rally, but the set-up for the car is quite different.

‘Competition is tough’
‘People were asking me before I started where I could finish, and I hoped to be in the top 10. The competition here is tough, there are a lot of drivers who have been driving on asphalt for all of their careers. When I posted a second fastest time on SS5, it was fantastic,’ the young driver continued. Oliver is no stranger to strong performances on the European Rally Championship – he became the youngest-ever winner of an ERC round after victory at the 2019 Rally Liepāja, aged 17.

‘The first day was a really tough one: the roads were so twisty, so technical and complicated – but it was actually Sunday where I was thinking it would be more difficult. On Sunday the roads were faster and wider, which meant there were different lines to take into the corners.’ Solberg Junior also lost his glasses and hit a rock on SS2, which cost him some time. But he made up for it during SS10, where he was fastest through before the rally leaders cars’ arrived.  

2020 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Rally di Roma Capitale: Solberg

‘So much fun’
Oliver praised the work of his father in helping him fine-tune his pacenotes. ‘Dad was helping Aaron (Johnston, co-driver) and me with the notes while we were watching the onboards. That gave me good confidence, and when we started on Sunday I was really enjoying it. I drove the same tyres for two loops to give me more experience of how it feels to have the car moving around beneath me when the tyres are wearing more; honestly, I really, really enjoyed it. It was so much fun,’ Oliver enthused.

‘I know I have a lot more to learn, but I can really say now that I love driving on asphalt. I understand some of how the car and tyre combination works – it’s so different to gravel, but it’s very cool. I have to say a big thanks to the whole team at PA Racing and, of course, to Pirelli – having Terenzio (Testoni, head of rally and off-road competitions) helping me this weekend has been fantastic.’

2020 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Rally di Roma Capitale: Basso

Away from Solberg’s performance, a total of eight other Polo GTI R5s contested the Rome event, which re-started the international rallying calendar following the COVID-19 pandemic. The Polo of Giandomenico Basso and Lorenzo Granai kicked off the rally with the fastest time on the qualifying stage, the 2019 event winners completing the 2.6-mile Fumone stage in 2m11.350s. The Italian pair went on to finish second, ahead of Solberg, just behind the Russian duo of Alexey Lukyanuk and Dmitry Eremeev in their Citroën C3 R5.

2020 Volkswagen Polo GTI R5, Rally di Roma Capitale: Herczig

Other Polo GTI R5 finishers included the ninth-placed Volkswagen of Rudy Michelini and Michele Perna, the VW of Marco Signor and Francesco Pezzoli that crossed the line in 14th position, and the Fabio Angelucci and Massimo Cambria car which came home 24th. The BRR-prepared Polo of Norbert Herczig and Ramon Ferencz finished 53rd, while both the rallying VWs of Fabian Kreim/Frank Christian and Enrico Brazzoli/Maurizio Barone retired. 

[Images: Oliver Solberg, ERC, and Josef Petru (Herczig)]

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24 July 2020 ~ 0 Comments

Value-added Polo United boosts small Volkswagen’s appeal

A new value-packed version of the Polo has been launched by Volkswagen UK. The Polo United kicks off a range of equipment-rich Volkswagens, and is joined by similarly named editions of the T-Cross and T-Roc SUVs. The trio of new VWs are all distinguished by special exterior and interior items, all of which equate to up to £1,760 of ‘added value’. Each gets bespoke styling, badging and extra kit.

The Polo United is based on the Polo Match and follows a German-market Polo United model which first appeared in January 2020. The Polo Match is already equipped with alloy wheels, App-Connect smartphone mirroring, and leather-trimmed, three-spoke multifunction steering wheels and gear knobs. The Polo United adds bespoke ‘United’ badging and door sill protectors, ‘Dublin’ alloy wheels, voice control and a Winter Pack, consisting of heated front seats and a low washer fluid warning light.

Bespoke interior
The Polo United also includes an 8.0-inch ‘Discover Navigation’ touchscreen infotainment system, a Light and Sight Pack (automatic dimming interior mirror, automatic headlights, manual coming / automatic leaving home lighting function and a rain sensor). Inside, all three models feature bespoke grey and blue seat fabric, brushed stainless steel pedals, decorative interior inserts, as well as front and rear carpet mats.

Two petrol engines are available for the Polo United. The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder 78bhp ‘Evo’ and 93bhp TSI engines are both coupled to five-speed manual gearboxes, with the higher-powered unit benefitting from the option of a seven-speed DSG. The Polo United starts from £17,350, ‘on-the-road’.

Sarah Cox, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen UK, said: ‘The Polo, T-Cross and T-Roc are three integral models in the Volkswagen UK family, and find tens of thousands of happy customers per year. Not only do the United models build upon the champion offering of those models, but they represent considerable value savings, with their affordable pricing and generous equipment boosts. The United editions are united in offering greater value, bigger equipment lists, and an even more enjoyable ownership experience.’

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