Text: Martin Aguilar / Photos: Patrick De Guzman Cardano | posted June 22, 2015 11:01
The German mini car
With diminutive dimensions, light weight and all around versatility, small hatchbacks are perfect fits for the busy urban jungle. In fact, these qualities made the hatchback as one of the most popular vehicles in the metro and as a result, car manufacturers want to have a piece of the pie as they launch their respective challengers for the segment.
Among the many, Volkswagen (VW) pins their hopes to the Polo Hatch which was introduced last February 2015 and marks the company's arrival in the segment and priced it to be a premium option in the small car arena.
The exterior of the 2015 Polo Hatch is simple yet somehow peppy. From the looks of it, VW went for clean, crisp and functional design. Compared to its competition, the Polo hatch is boxy and doesn't have fancy design elements.
The front-end of the vehicle is fitted with sharp-looking headlights, a large bumper and a sculpted hood. You can also see the VW badge, which is mounted on the vehicle's chrome plated grill. Looking at the side, the 2015 Polo Hatch features a straight character line which is a common German design trait. The vehicle is finished off with 15-inch alloy wheels. The clean and minimalist design continues to be seen at the rear of the 2015 Polo Hatch. It has distinctive taillights, a prominent bumper and a roof-mounted spoiler. The vehicle also comes with third brake light as well as a rear wiper.
In typical VW fashion, the 2015 Polo Hatch's interior goes for no nonsense approach to design and functionality. It features a straightforward design which incorporates only the essential buttons/functions. The cabin has a neat dashboard as well as a flat-bottomed steering wheel with glossy black trim, round air conditioner dials, fabric upholstery and power windows. The audio system of the 2015 Polo Hatch has CD and MP3 playback, Bluetooth connectivity, an SD card slot and a USB port. Space up front is decent though the rear legroom of the vehicle could pose some constraints for adult occupants.
Under the hood the 2015 Polo Hatch is powered by a 1.6-liter multi-point injection gasoline engine that delivers 105 PS and 153 Nm of torque. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with Sport mode driving the front wheels.
In terms of performance, this Polo Hatch didn't disappoint. Driving through the busy urban jungle can be done with ease due to the vehicle's light steering and agile handling. Compared to the Ford Fiesta (the Polo's direct competitor in Europe), this VW hatchback feels lighter, more responsive to drive and sprightly around city streets. More importantly, this subcompact hatchback can take a hit from the country's dilapidated roads as it decently absorbs impact from potholes and uneven road surface. In terms of fuel economy, I was able to yield an average of 8.3 km/l under moderate traffic (21 to 30 km/h).
Out on the open highway, the Polo Hatch continues to perform. The vehicle's 105 PS 1.6-liter engine has great acceleration even on the normal Drive mode. Furthermore, the engine shifts fast and smoothly, which allows you to overtake with ease and good measure. In normal mode, the gearbox shift efficiently at around the 2000rpm mark. When you put the shift lever onto the Sport mode, the Polo Hatch's transmission will shift at higher, more performance-oriented RPM. In addition, driving under Sport mode can suit spirited drivers due to the increase in throttle response allowing the Polo Hatch to accelerate more quickly. On the highway, the Polo Hatch's fuel economy registered at 17 km/l while running with an average speed of 80 km/h.
Overall, the Polo Hatch's light steering, agility and decent power make it pleasurable to drive. At PhP 950,000, the 2015 Polo Hatch is priced higher than it's Japanese competition, but still serves as a great entry point into owning a German car.