With the local assembly of the Volkswagen Polo hatchback, German engineering became more affordable for Malaysians as it came with a price tag of RM87,888 nett at its launch, but is now priced even more attractively, at RM77,646 OTR without insurance.

Considered the entry level volkswagen, the Polo is quite basic in both looks and features compared to its brethren, although we prefer the hatchback over its sedan counterpart.

On the outside, the Polo 1.6 retained the look of the Polo 1.2 with a simpler design for the wheels, front and rear lights, while eliminating the exposed tailpipes.

Inside, the soft touch materials were replaced with hard plastics, but the leather wrapped steering wheel was nice to the touch, giving it a luxurious feel, along with leather-wrapped gear knob and handbrake.

The design of the centre console puts everything within reach of the driver, which is convenient and didn’t distract us from the task of driving as we could just reach out and adjust what we wanted without having to look.

The design of the dashboard is also simple and no frills, which is just how we like it.

Despite it being a hatchback, legroom was quite generous in the rear and there is also plenty of boot space which can be further increased by flattening the rear seats.

Although seats are not leather upholstered, the fabric is still soft and comfortable, making it suitable for long distance as well as city driving.

Under the hood, it is powered by a 1,598cc four-cylinder inline petrol engine which generates 104hp at 5,250rpm and 153Nm at 3,800rpm, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic that can take it from 0 to 100km/h in 11.1 seconds before reaching a top speed of 184km/h.

The body feels solid and tough, and although there is a slight body roll at corners it still feels stable, enabling us to take those corners comfortably and confidently even with the absence of traction control.

However, acceleration can feel rather sluggish, making the car feel heavy at times and we also wished it came with paddle shifters for when we needed to overtake.

Despite this, once it gets up to speed it can be quite nippy due to its stable stance, good handling and smooth transmission; when in S mode, it gets even better and enjoyable for long drives.

After a weekend with the car, we could conclude that if you’re looking for a basic entry-level vehicle to own a Continental car, the Polo 1.6 hatchback is it.

Although the features are pretty basic, it’s still a decent car to drive at an affordable price when you compare it to its German competitors.

Volkswagen Polo 1.6 Hatchback
Price RM77,646 OTR without insurance
Engine 1,598cc four-cylinder inline petrol engine
Configuration Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Power 104hp at 5,250rpm
Torque 153Nm at 3,800rpm
Transmission Six-speed automatic with Tiptronic
Brakes Front ventilated disc brakes, Rear solid drum brakes
Suspension Front MacPherson Strut, Rear control blade multi-link
Performance 0-100 km/h in 11.1 seconds, 184 km/h maximum speed
Fuel Consumption (average) 8.0L/100km
Length 3,970 mm
Width 1,682 mm
Height 1,453 mm
Wheelbase 2,456 mm
Weight 1,020 kg
Tyre size 185/60R15, 15-inch alloy wheels


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