Expert Review - Volkswagen Polo Mk5 CKD (2014-Present)
20 May 2014
As an entry point to Volkswagen ownership, the Polo does well enough. Compared to sub-RM100k B-segment rivals, as you should, the Polo is competitive in spec and decent to drive. Just don't put it side-by-side with the 1.2 TSI.
The 1.6 MPI engine lacks the 1.2 TSI's turbo shove, but is strong and flexible compared to class rivals. Loud from the outside during start up, but quiet on the move. Six-speed torque converter automatic lacks the DSG's speed (and durability concerns) but is very smooth shifting. Proven drivetrain is second only to the Fiesta Ecoboost's in the sub-RM100k supermini segment.
Ride & Handling
Indian-spec chassis brings with it a high ground clearance, long travel suspension and modest 15-inch wheels. Doesn't do much for the looks, but Polo copes brilliantly with our MRT construction ravaged roads and potholes. Much better ride comfort and less road noise than the TSI. Soft suspension doesn't encourage hard driving, though - the Ford Fiesta serves enthusiasts better.
Good rolling refinement and a forgiving ride means that the Polo is a relaxing car to drive, whether in the city or on long journeys. Ideal driving position is easy to find (tilt and telescopic steering) and this tester likes the firm seats.
The Polo Sedan is four-star ASEAN NCAP rated, but that car has four airbags, two more than this hatchback (1.2 TSI has six). No ESP too, so safety isn't a strong suit.
For those who need space, VW has the booted Polo Sedan for a small premium. Don't expect the kind of space you'll get with a Myvi or Honda Jazz either; the Polo is a typically petite Euro supermini. Enough room for two adults at the back (three abreast will be a tight affair) and better rear headroom than the Fiesta.
If you've always liked the idea of a VW hatchback, the CKD Polo is a cheaper and mechanically simpler answer. There are better equipped rivals out there, though.