By: Charles Molefe
South Africans have acquired a deep love for the Volkswagen Polo, it is a firm favourite amongst the youth and more especially the rental brigade. The Polo etches itself in the entry-level market segment as a top trump. It competes with the likes of the Suzuki Swift, Toyota Etios, Renault Sandero and Hyundai’s Grand i10.
The Polo does have the odds stacked against it, but month in month out, it manages to top the sales charts and dazzle the competition. My recent run-in with the Polo came in the form of their latest iteration, code-named the MSWENKO.
Without hesitation, I rushed in to get some perspective into why this vehicle is so popular.
The Mswenko owes its looks to its forebears, it possesses clean, efficient and arguably stylish lines that enable it to look and feel modern. Paired with its good looks the Mswenko is kitted with a set of 16-inch rims that make it unique, during my test tenure I noticed that the Mswenko is popular with the younger crowd.
Volkswagen has not just added a name and called it a new car, they have managed to implement many changes that make the Mswenko aesthetically pleasing. The interior is very familiar and this is owed to the vast model range in the Polo lineup.
The seats are where this special edition ticks the boxes, the ocean blue hue, mixed with the modern look, ooze exclusivity, I recall a number of the fortunate passengers asking if they would be able to purchase these types of seats for their Polo’s?
The entertainment front is hardly class-leading; however, you will not be found wanting, the four-speaker system does put in a great deal of effort in filling the cabin with your favourite tunes. If you balance the fader towards the front speakers, you will have to contend with a touch of distortion, but it is bearable. The 340G radio is utilised to power applications such as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and YouTube Music, and that is just the beginning. If you have not caught up with the current trends and are dead set on keeping it old school, Bluetooth, Aux and USB connectivity are featured and may be controlled via the 3-spoke multi-functional leather steering wheel.
Optional features are available for the Mswenko, cruise control, rear-view camera with park distance control and Electronic Stability Control and these are just some of the highlights that I managed to experience
Economy, performance and ride quality.
The Mswenko is powered by a 1.4l engine that produces 64kW and 132Nm of torque, these figures should not scare you into believing that you’ll hardly make it over a steep gradient, that is not the case at all. I quickly learned that the Polo enjoys being on the upper plains of the rev counter. When you attempt to move along swiftly, to gain the best out of the Polo you should change at a reasonable RPM.
The pinnacle of the powerplant is in its economy, I managed to average 6.7l/100km and in this economic climate that is a figure that I will gladly live with, along with various penny-wise consumers.
0-100 km/h is not a matter of importance, and never at any moment did I feel that the glorious benchmark was ever a matter of concern. The MSWENKO has a top speed of 171km/h and frankly trying to prove that point is illegal, the double-digit power figures will get you to where you need to be and will do it ever so graciously.
The test mule showed its competencies around the bends and performed very well on undulating surfaces, during my test period I ventured out to the North West province to experience some long freeway stretches and some tight and twisty sections of road, the Polo managed to easily dispatch any challenge, including the pothole infested sections that often forced me to veer off and head for a “safer” patch of gravel road.
The Polo MSWENKO is certainly not going to attract hordes of consumers to it like its classier brothers, namely the T-CROSS. However, it will remain popular among the rental car companies, first car buyers, students, and avid fans of the POLO name. It’s a vehicle that manages to etch itself into several families, its popularity has no bounds and it often creates the sense of occasion to get in, explore and live to tell the tale. That for me is how motoring should be, clean, effortless and memorable, the MSWEKO does that with ease and that is more than enough to recommend it to prospective buyers.
From R 246 900,00
- Radio system “RCD 340G”.
- Alloy wheels 7J x 16.
- Privacy glass for rear side windows and rear window, 65% light-absorbing.
- Cruise Control.
- Warranty 3-year / 120 000 km.
- Anti-corrosion Warranty (6-year).
- 15 000 km service intervals.