VW Polo Sedan/Hatch CKD Test Drive

Front3Quarter(resized) 20140128-002037(resized)Price is one of the top determining factors when deciding on a new car. For a lot of us working class folks trying to make ends meet with an ever-increasing living cost, forking out more for a German car seems impractical. As a German car company, what do you do to boost sales? CKD it!

Now that the Polo hatch and sedan are available in lower-priced CKD form, is it a good buy?

Before experiencing the Polo hatch firsthand, I’ve heard praises about the Polo’s interior space, so generally my expectations were a bit high. Getting into the Polo during the test drive brought disappointment. This hatch is just too cramped for my liking, or perhaps I’m too used to B-segment and above cars. Anyway, I figured there must be something special for such a small car to be priced above RM90k (OTR), which sets my expectation high for the drive. Again, disappointment.

The hatch's rear legroom, with the driver's seat adjusted to my driving position. The sedan has more space...

The hatch’s rear legroom, with the driver’s seat adjusted to my driving position. The sedan has more space…

Power and pickup was decent for a 1.6L NA engine, adequate but not impressive, and you get the option of manual shifting should the need arise for a more urgent drive. The handling was only so so.

The only things that have any chances of being impressive are the NVH and fit/finish. For the NVH part, it is best when in a “polite” drive. Push the engine hard and it gets a bit loud in the cabin, but still better than its more popular Japanese B-segment rivals. As for the fit/finish, parts are put together nicely. For eye pleasure, everything is top-notch. Put your hand on it and you’ll be greeted with cheap-feeling hard plastics. But then again, almost all cars in this price range nowadays come with this kind of plastics.

Ok, so maybe there’s another good impression – the speakers. But these things don’t play any significant role in the drive. Plus, unlike the engine or transmission, one can easily upgrade the ICE later on. This makes them sit at the bottom of my things-to-look-out-for-during-a-test-drive list.

20140301_150327(resized)Now on to the sedan.

The sedan has some added features not found on the hatch, which in my opinion makes the car the better option among the two. First of all is the interior space. Rear leg room is very generous. If I remembered correctly, it is comparable to the Cerato’s rear leg room. The current B-segment kings on Malaysian roads – the Vios and City – have no match; only the Almera can better it. Even more impressive is, with this kind of rear leg room, VW still managed to put in a boot so big (sorry, forgot to snap a pic of the sedan’s boot). And to add more comfort to the rear passengers, they get their own air-con vents!

Airbag count for the sedan is 4 – front and side for both driver and front passenger. The hatch only comes with 2. Everything else is almost the same as the hatch.

Same interior for both variants

Same dashboard for both variants

Now back to the opening question, is this CKD German worth the price of RM91,049 (OTR) for the hatch and RM93,101 (OTR) for the sedan? For the hatch, I think it’s overpriced. The sedan on the other hand makes a lot more sense, especially if you’re looking for something different from everyone else.

For me personally, I’d spend a little more and get the Cerato 1.6. Not that the Polo is bad in any way, just not impressive enough to justify the price.

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