The Polo that drives and acts like a Jetta.
These are a dime a dozen on the used car market right now. From demo models to ones a few years old with more than 150,000km on the odo. With one a little over a year old, why do I take the time to test and review this, then?
For around R235,000 (calculated from an average price of vehicles advertised on digital platforms), this is the best model and specification you’ll be able to your hard-earned money will net you. Many people, like me, don’t buy new vehicles as a financial choice and this is as close to new as we’re willing to venture.
There are a number of reasons why you’re searching for the Polo GP Sedan – and why you’ve landed on this page (thanks, Google!). Unbeatable quality and perceived resale value set this vehicle apart from its rivals. Traditionally-speaking, the safest choice for your money was a Japanese sedan but this Volkswagen offering presents higher quality materials, badge cache and on-road superiority. However, why is this article not focused on the Hatchback? Those models seem to have lost a great deal of its stellar resale value thanks to the Polo Vivo and the New Polo Vivo. Thankfully for the informed few who’ve purchased one of these Sedans, you can rest easy knowing your car hasn’t lost a chunk of its value overnight…
Built solidly, proven drivetrains and quality materials, the Polo GP Sedan offers much in the way of a grown-up drive. Comfortable, spacious and rather zippy, it lacks for nothing. It has grown from a ‘cheap and cheerful’ model to a Jetta-replacing position. It feels and drives very similarly to the still-popular Jetta Mk V (for those uninitiated, this is the previous generation based on the Golf Mk V platform). Among its class it is easy to see why this is the number one seller in our country. Were you expecting a ‘but’ ending off this paragraph? Not here today.
And this particular one?
It is in perfect, nearly-new condition as you’d expect with a low mileage of just 10,600km. Yes, it is immaculate front to rear. There’s not a scratch on its paintwork, nor a stain on the cloth upholstery. It has most certainly been cared for by its owners, and the question you’d most naturally ask yourself is why it is for sale? For this one, it was traded in for a smaller car due to the driver’s age.
The Polo Sedan GPs are well-specced, and this Comfortline model offers electrically-operated windows front and rear; four airbags; power steering; remote central locking; cruise control; aircon; a touchscreen media interface with audio inputs that include AUX and Bluetooth; multifunction steering wheel controls; PDC rear; and, automatic windscreen wiper controls.
Under the bonnet is a bullet-proof 1.4-litre normally aspirated engine generating 63kW. When speaking to both a Volkswagen dealership’s workshop manager and independent workshops I’m familiar with, both find this engine to be reliable and trouble-free. It is a fuss-free motor that has been used throughout the Volkswagen Group’s different brands and it continues to serve as a workhorse, low-maintenance engine. Trolling through the forums also turned up very little in the way of faults or failures to report. This doesn’t mean this is the halo vehicle that never breaks down; it is a machine after all, and anything can happen…
This car’s not designed to conquer a hill climb race route, or set blinding-fast lap times around Kyalami, but when it is driven as 99% of all owners will steer this model it is rather comfortable at cruising speeds and zippy in town. Overtaking is as simple as dropping one or two gears and the engine responds with verve and gusto. The manual gearbox is notchy, but in a good way: swapping cogs is an effortless task and one that also feels solidly rewarding too.
The raison d’être is that big booty. It holds a massive 454 litres of luggage. With 60/40 rear seat format, the luggage space easily swells to nearly three times that. In comparison, the hatchback’s boot offers up 280 litres for luggage. However, the wheelbase of the Polo Hatch was lengthened by 82mm. That was used to offer more interior space to the Polo Sedan’s occupants. And, for a small price premium when new, it makes all the more sense to drive the Sedan. In the looks department, we know that hatchbacks are more striking. But, when it comes to money in your pocket in three- to five-years time, the Sedan’s undoubtedly the better proposition.
With a price tag of R239,900, and just 10,400km on the odometer, with the balance of its Factory Warranty intact, this is a fantastic buy.
What to look out for on Polo GP Sedans?
Not discussing the Polo Vivo Sedan (the previous iteration of the Polo Sedan), these Polo Sedans are manufactured in India – not in Uitenhage, South Africa. Does that affect the build quality and inherent reliability? Simply, no. There are whispers of electronic gremlins in some, gearbox problems and air filters that need to be replaced every few thousand kilometres. However, when speaking with the relevant authorities – who work on these vehicles on a daily basis – those are rare issues of which they’ve had but a handful between them to work on. With most Polo Sedan GPs available still within their Factory Warranty mileage and age, there’s truly not much to contemplate when offered such a vehicle. But of course, due diligence must be carried out to certify that your desired vehicle has no accident damage nor has it had its life thrashed out of it by a rental car agency.
Which other Polo GP models should I consider?
Dismissing the Polo GP Hatchback models, it leaves only the 1.6 and 1.6 TDI models to contemplate. For bang for your bucks, the 1.6 TDI Comfortline would be the next best option after the 1.4 Comfortline. However, it is a little on the slow side and feels lethargic behind the steering wheel. The returns on fuel consumption will make you smile broadly though. It sips diesel at a rate of 3.9-litres/100km!
What are the alternative choices?
The rivals for your cash will be the Toyota Yaris Sedan, the Etios Sedan, Honda Ballade, and Nissan Almera. Sitting with cash in hand, and all vehicles available in front of you with the same mileage and in the same condition, it would be a tough choice. However, the Polo Sedan GP would pull at you with its class-leading interior, its massive boot, Japanese-like reliability and the best resale value of the lot.
You’ve come this far in your search for a sedan that is relatively new but won’t give you night sweats when the debit order looms at the end of each month. Apart from the increased interior space and the massive rear end, the Polo Sedan GP makes a lot of financial sense. I’ve mentioned the resale value a number of times in this article, and for very good reason. Volkswagen has, in my mind, made a mistake with their pricing structures for the Polo ranges. The New Polo hatchback has impacted negatively on the prices of the outgoing Polo, and that has in turn knocked a chunk of money off the New Polo Vivo and the ‘Old Polo Vivo’ (or, the PoloCiti shape). There’s about an R30,000 loss, so far. That’s a lot of money to lose after a short period of ownership for a used vehicle. However, the Polo Sedan has side-stepped that drama and remains a strong seller on the used car market. What does this really mean? Well, in the unlikely event of an accident, total loss or theft, you will be paid out a lot less for your prized Hatchback than you figured. If you had a Polo Sedan, you’d be paid out a sum pretty close to what you paid for the vehicle. After 36 to 44 months of ownership, you’ll likely be trading in your 2018 Polo Sedan GP and you’ll want to have as much capital as possible in that car to roll onto your next purchase. This is the only car that will allow you that. And, for those 36 to 44 months, what a pleasure it will be to drive this Sedan!