You know that family that has a son who is a star. He does well academically and is a champion on the sports field. He has over the years won the hearts of many. He is celebrated and loved by everyone. Charismatic chap that always delivers. That is the story of the Golf GTI.

What happens when this young man’s parents decide to have another child is basically what happened when the Polo GTI was introduced.

While the parents may say “we love all our children equally” over the years outsiders have been able to tell that the first born still gets the preference.  Think about how the Polo (9n3) GTI was simply given its big brother (Golf GTI) wheels. No effort was made to give it its own unique wheels which would make it more identifiable as its own car and not a shadow of the Golf GTI. VW repeated this ‘same wheels’ act on the Polo (6R) GTI which also spotted the same Golf GTI wheels.

Rather than a beefed up performance Polo the Polo GTI began to be recognized as a watered down Golf GTI, A Budget GTI.

What made matters even worse for the Polo GTI was the price. Its price was too close to the Golf GTI. So it made more sense to simply save up a little bit more and get yourself the Golf GTI.

The Polo GTI really did not make sense. . . Until Now!

*Insert new Polo.

First thing is first VW cut down the price of the new Polo GTI by more than R10 000. Now this is a lot considering the fact that with a new generation of a car we expect a price hike. While KFC makes adverts telling us that even with price of everything going up they have managed to keep their street wise 2 at R29.00. Same quantity same great taste and still the same price. Well done KFC but you could take a note or two from VW because not only has VW taken down the price of their Polo GTI they have also beefed up the specs and made it even better, for less.

I was under strict instructions from you, the MzansiRides’s readers, not to go in too deep on the technical side. Ever started reading a car review and ended up feeling like your reading a mechanical engineering textbook?

So it suffices to say (without mentioning MQB) that the new Polo GTI is bigger and offers more cabin space and better ride comfort than before. So our taller friends will be more at home in the new Polo.

In keeping with the theme of more for less, the Polo GTI now spots a larger 2.0l engine. This is a very much welcomed improvement. It Predecessor the 4th generation Polo GTI originally had a 1.4l engine and then later a 1.8l engine. While the performance was great in both cars owing to the turbos and superchargers that were added it was not so great from a street perspective.  VW has thankfully helped stop the trolling that was experienced by Polo GTI owners at car meets all around the country.

A lot of the GTI’s popularity and love was regained with the introduction of the Golf 5 GTI which was, for a lot of people, a game changer. I found it quite interesting that the new Polo has a power output which is the same as the Golf 5 GTI, both having 147kw. The maximum torque output on the new Polo GTI sits at a decent 320nm.

The interior of the new Polo really impressed us earlier this year when we drove one at its launch. We however had reservations about the amount of red that was used in the cabin of the Polo beats. We felt it was a bit of an overkill. We thankfully received a non-beats model Polo as a test car and it had a beautiful black interior which was both classy and modern. It is, without a question, the best interior in this segment.

The GTI also receives the red touches, as on the beats model, depending on your personal preferences and personality you will either love this or hate it. One half of the team loved it the other half did not.

The exhaust note gets louder too! You can finally clearly hear that ‘vrrrrr phaa’ sound that we, South African’s adore so much.

There is no denying the fact that VW is on a roll right now! They are producing some fantastic cars right now and the Polo GTI is not an exception. It is no secret that we have not really been big fans of the Polo GTI but this model has managed to change that.

It gets a nod from us.


Marcus Phathwa

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