30 December 2010 ~ 2 Comments

National Speed Awareness
Scheme courses

A run-in for me and the Polo last month. I became a marginal speeder in the first week of November, due to a lapse in concentration or just plain ignorance, resulting in a speeding ticket landing on the doormat. What was the damage? A £60 fine and 3 penalty points or a National Speed Awareness course for £82 and no points on my licence. You can guess which option I took, although it wasn’t without some deliberation. But, when it comes down to it, £22 seemed a fair price to pay to avoid any endorsements. And all for going 35mph in a 30mph zone, on a country road, where I don’t remember either a camera or a warning sign.

So, the day before Christmas Eve, I found myself driving up the A12 from Essex to Suffolk (courses are usually offered in the county of prosecution) to an industrial unit in Ipswich, and to the four-hour class run by AA DriveTech, a specialist driver training division. There were 18 of us, with over half the class over 45 years of age plus; the instructor informed us that the average age of attendees on the courses was 40, and with up to three courses a day, over 60 people are retrained in the laws of the road daily. Why no young people? They choose to speed apparently, and so aren’t offered the educational alternative…

The statitstics gave food for thought. Motorways are the safest roads of all, with 55% of drivers accelerating past the limit, while the majority of accidents happen on urban roads; 69% of drivers speed in towns and cities. A speed camera costs a local authority £23,000 to install, and while Suffolk is one of the lowest camera-populated counties (with eight currently in use), I think I was caught by one of the numerous mobile sites. But by far the most shocking figure was that it costs over £1 million pounds to administer ONE death on the road, and as there were 2222 fatal casualties last year, the money spent soon adds up.

A theory session only, attendees must ‘pass’ the course (though no proof is given), and ‘actively participate’, so there are plenty of ways to interact, from speaking, to watching videos, to voting on multiple-choice questions with handsets straight from the set of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Basically a PowerPoint-powered refresher of Highway Code information, the courses certainly serve a purpose, and the videos showing changes in braking distances and what happens in a multiple pile-up graphically illustrate what effects even small increases in speed can have on potential accidents. Proof positive that speed does indeed kill.

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05 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Ghorpade tops the Polo Cup India leaderboard after Round 5 at Chennai

Parth Ghorpade from Kolhapur is the new leader of the 2010 Volkswagen Polo Cup India championship after Round 5 of the series at the Irungattukottai race track in Chennai. Earning 108 points over the weekend of 27-28 November, Ghorpade’s total now stands at 359 points. Former leader Sailesh Bolisetti is now in second place with 333 points, while Chennai driver Vishnu Prasad rounds out the top three with 277 points. Close races were the order of the day at Chennai, with Ghorpade winning the first, beating Sahil Shelar by 0.481 seconds. The second race was won by Prasad, who started in sixth place on a reverse grid.

Ghorpade has been the silent contender throughout the Volkswagen Polo Cup India’s inaugural season. The 17-year old has worked his way up the leaderboard through hard work and consistent wins, starting from sixth position after the first two rounds of the championships. Commenting on his first-place position, Ghorpade said: ‘At this point in the season, being the leader of the pack is very exciting. The last few races have been very successful for me and I hope I can keep the momentum going right till the end of the final round.’

The first season of the Volkswagen Polo Cup India has been an exciting series for both the drivers and their fans, and with only one round to go, spectators can be assured to see a fight to the finish. With a difference of only 26 points between first and second place and an even smaller difference of 7 points between third and fourth place, the results of the championship will come down to the final races of Round 6 on 18-19 December at Chennai.

Volkswagen India & JK Tyre also staged a special Ladies Race during the Round 5 of the Volkswagen Polo Cup India at Chennai, with rally driver Nawaz Sandhu thrilling spectators to win the 7-lap all-ladies race, recording a best lap time of 1:14.623, at a speed of 178.5 km/h. The 2010 Volkswagen Polo Cup India is run by Volkswagen India Motorsport in conjunction with JK Tyres. The field of 20 young racers drive identical and centrally-prepared 129bhp TDI Polo Cup cars.

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04 December 2010 ~ 2 Comments

H&R Polo GTI (6R) suspension kits

German tuning company H&R has released a lowered suspension kit for the new 6R, fifth-generation Polo GTI. With a lowering height of 20 millimetres at the front of the car and 30mm at the rear, H&R says that ‘the sporty characteristics of the small car are improved.’ Additional lowering heights from the adjustable H&R Monotube coilover kits can be set at 30mm at the front of the car with a 45-millimetre drop at the rear. Optional H&R stabilisers (for use with the kit) will be available soon.

TRAK+ wheel spacers made of high tensile aluminum alloy can also be specified, regardless of whether they are combined with OE or aftermarket wheels, immediately removing the often unsightly gap between the wheel arch and tyre shoulder. The complete H&R product range – available for over 1350 different vehicles – can be found at specialist dealers and along with the usual H&R quality, components come with a model approval certificate or a TÜV certificate of conformity for parts.

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03 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Polo Vivo ‘entrenched as South Africa’s favourite passenger car brand’

The latest NAAMSA figures have been released. During November 2010 a total of 29,530 new passenger cars were sold in South Africa, an increase of 28.9% when compared to November 2009, bringing the year-to-date November market in 2010 to a level 30% above the same period for last year. The Polo Vivo and fifth-generation Polo have contributed to Volkswagen South Africa’s strong finish to 2010, selling 1939 and 1265 units respectively.

‘As a result of record offline production from our plant in Uitenhage in October and November, we are finishing 2010 strongly,’ commented Mike Glendinning, Director of Sales and Marketing, Volkswagen Group South Africa. ‘Polo Vivo has now become firmly entrenched as South Africa’s favourite passenger car brand, while the Polo sold 1265 units in November, rounding off a very successful performance for the two brands built in South Africa,’ Glendinning continued.

The Polo Vivo was launched in March 2010 as an entry-level model for the South African market, replacing the Series 1 Golf-based CitiGolf. Available as both a three or five-door hatchback and four-door saloon with 74bhp/84bhp 1.4-litre and 103bhp 1.6-litre petrol engines, two trim levels are available: base and Trendline. Costing from R104,065 for the most basic 1.4 hatchback to R156,220 for the 1.6 Trendline Sedan, the Polo Vivo is based on the facelifted version of the Series 4 Polo, built from 2005 to 2009. Changes include reprofiled front and rear bumpers, as well as a revised front grille and other minor bodywork-based alterations.

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30 November 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Polo named Car of the Year 2010 by
Drive and Carsguide

Australian car website Drive have crowned the fifth-generation Polo their Car of the Year 2010. Also winning the Best City Car award, the Polo beat off competition from the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai i20 and Nissan Micra to take the tiddler title. Interior quality, an array of safety features, competent road manners and punchy turbocharged 1.2-litre 104bhp TSI engine, the judges from Drive agreed that, ‘In terms of being a city car, it sets so many benchmarks. The Polo is the first in this class to bring in six airbags, and it sets a standard the other city car competitors have to beat on both engine and gearbox,’ adding, ‘It’s in another land for refinement. It feels like a small car, not a city car.’

A best overall fuel consumption figure was only one of the values that made the Polo win the coveted Car of the Year 2010 title, though, the judging panel citing the ‘fun factor’ of the latest model and the way that, ‘the tiny Volkswagen Polo delivers so many rewards for enthusiastic drivers looking to reduce their carbon footprints.’ The newly-developed turbocharged engine was a major asset when the judges were considering their verdicts. Beating category winners from 14 other segments, the Polo and its larger stablemate the Golf fought for top honours, with the Polo securing leading votes from nine of the judges, who, according to Drive, ‘thought it shifted the goalposts of its class more than the Golf did – and for less of a premium over its competitors.’ Full coverage here.

In a similar prize, Carsguide has also awarded the Polo the ‘2010 Carsguide Car of the Year’, title, establishing itself as the benchmark in the light car class. It’s the second consectutive year Volkswagen have taken the award; last year’s winner was the Golf. Carsguide Managing Editor, Ged Bulmer, said the latest Polo was another example of the company delivering an extremely well-equipped and well-engineered small car at an affordable price. ‘Many of the attributes of the popular Volkswagen Golf have trickled down into the Polo, with the result that it looks like a scaled down version of that winning combination.’ Judging panel member Paul Pottinger said: ‘The Polo scored a convincing win, not because of its $16,690 starting price but because of its impressive safety, quality, comfort and driving enjoyment. The Golf’s little brother is the world’s best small car.’

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