May 18, 2014

DRIVEN: Volkswagen Polo Sedan CBU !

When Volkswagen Malaysia first launched the Volkswagen Polo Sedan CBU at sub-RM100k price, it dropped the jaws of many. For the first time a premium car brand is selling its car under the RM100k mark, and Volkswagen Malaysia kept the best for last. Polo Sedan CKD came in and further lowered the price to RM89,888, about RM10k cheaper than its CBU counterpart, making it as one of the most affordable continental sedans in Malaysia. 

With a competitive price now, buyers who are looking for a B-segment sedan will not take the Polo Sedan for granted and go straight to the usual Japanese competitors. The Polo Sedan is unmistakeably a Volkswagen from afar, bearing the similar design language as its elder siblings such as the Jetta and Passat. Yes, the design is unexciting, but yet it is still brilliantly executed with a touch of elegance.  


Open the door and you'll notice that this is not an average B-segment sedan. Its doors opened easily with just a light pull and closed with a reassuring thud. Tactile feedback on the buttons are good. The meaty leather-wrapped steering wheel and handbrake lever were nice to hold. Although the cabin is mostly made of plastic parts, they doesn't look cheap and fit and finishing is top notch too. With a 2552mm wheelbase (96mm longer than Polo Hatchback), rear passengers enjoy ample legroom and have fair amount of headroom. One thing though, the fabric seats were a little firm for my liking. Perhaps leather would be more suitable for the Polo Sedan.

Oh oh oh, all 4 windows can be winded up and down via the remote control! Perfect for ventilating the heat out from the cabin in a hot sunny day, and also to wow your peers. People who buy a Polo Sedan instead of a Polo Hatchback must have taken the boot space into consideration, and I'm glad to say the boot space doesn't disappoint. However, it is noticeably slightly smaller than most of its competitors. 


The small monochromic multi-info screen in the middle of the instrument panel is a nice touch. It displays various info such as speed limit warning, average fuel consumption, real-time fuel consumption and outside temperature. 


The centre stack of this India-made Polo Sedan CBU looks slightly obsolete, but thankfully chrome trims are all over the cabin to cheer things up. I guess Volkswagen Malaysia took note of that and for the CKD models, it introduced the RCD 320 audio system that doesn't leave any empty space on the dashboard and replaced the 3 knobs with electronic automatic air-cond switches. 


Storage area is everywhere. Smart Tag device can be stored nicely in the rubberised centre storage compartment, huge glove box that can swallow a full-sized tissue box and a book with ease, 1.5 litter water bottle holder on the doors and some other small storage areas here and there. The only, I would say flaw (instead of user friendly), in the cabin is the position of wing mirror adjuster. The angle and location of it is just wrong... We have to twist our wrist in order to adjust the wing mirrors.

As for every Volkswagen, the headlights, tail lights and fog lights control are all at the knob on the right side of the dashboard. Turn clockwise to access the main headlights, pull once to turn on the front fog lights and pull once more to turn on the glaring rear fog light (only to be used during heavy rain or foggy environment). Instrument panel brightness and headlights levelling can be done manually too. 


The Polo Sedan comes with a 1.6 litre MPI engine which produces 105PS at 5250rpm and 153Nm of torque at 3800rpm, mated to a 6-speed transmission automatic gearbox with Tiptronic. This tried-and-tested combination is suitable for buyers who are looking for a reliable car in a long run. For those who are looking for Volkswagen's infamous TSI engine and DSG gearbox have to look elsewhere. While the power output wouldn't win you any race at the traffic light junction, it's still adequately powered that the Polo Sedan doesn't feel underpowered when climbing up the stretch of highway near Genting Sempah. 

Ride and handling are where the Polo Sedan shines. It can be said that the Polo Sedan is one of the best among B-segment sedans. The firm ride over road undulations doesn't send judders into the cabin. Body roll is apparent, but it doesn't make the Polo Sedan go off course easily. The steering wheel is direct and light enough to ease manoeuvre at low speed, although could use a little more weight at high speed. Best of all, it felt very, very composed when going through puddles of water, this can put many Japanese C-segment sedans to shame.

With the help of cruise control, driving on the highway is a delight. NVH is good where the engine is muted almost all the time, except when pushed. But it can be better because wind noise is noticeable at speed above 100km/h, breaking the silence in the cabin. Unfortunately too, the audio system with 4-speaker does not produce audio quality which matches the car's brand. Safety wise, the Polo Sedan comes with 4 airbags as standard, 3-point rear seatbelts for the middle occupant and anti-pinch for all 4 windows. There is no any form of Electronic Stability Programme available, not even as optional.

5-year unlimited mileage warranty is provided and without TSI and DSG, the Polo Sedan should be an easy to maintain Volkswagen product. The more affordable price of the CKD has enable more Malaysian to be able to afford a continental car. Seems like 'the people's car' is heading the right track!

+ Price, ride and handling, safety, quality.
- Could use a little more power, wind noise.

*Thanks for reading! Please like my page at SimonHar.com and subscribe SiMon HaR_!

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