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With the current generations of the Yaris, Mazda 2, Fiesta andall preferring curves over edges, VW has opted to zag, giving its Polo a squared-off design. In most respects it looks like a more angular, smaller version of the company's sixth-generation Golf.
Both the headlights and tail-lights look funky whether they're emitting light or not, but LED tail-lights and xenon headlights are only available on cars rear fog lights are standard, while front fog lights are only available as part of an optional sports pack.. As is common among European
By default the 77TSI wears 15-inch alloy wheels and there's a space saver spare underneath the boot floor, but metallic paint adds to the car's list price. Everyone loves wing mirror-mounted LED indicators; however, the light cluster spills over the edge of the mirror shell and can be quite distracting for the driver.
For the 77TSI, a five-door hatchback is the only body style available in Australia; the three-door hatch is currently only available on the entry-level Trendline or theeditions.
From its soft pliable dashboard and metal-encrusted trim pieces to the tactile leather on its steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake, the Polo feels classier than its immediate competitors. There are a few signs of penny pinching around the place, but in many respects it feels like a scaled down Golf.
Discreet storage places are plentiful throughout the Polo's cabin. The glovebox goes beyond the economy car norm with a neat rubberised tray for glasses and a moulded coin storage facility. The generosity doesn't stretch to a lock or fabric lining, so items in there can still clatter around noisily.
The bin beneath the centre armrest is lined in fabric, but when it's folded down for maximum arm-resting ability the handbrake is quite difficult to operate. Underneath the driver and front passenger's seat is a drawer which, although not large enough to store a netbook, is a handy feature.
Boot space at 282 litres betters (just) many of its non-competitors and capacity can be increased to 952 litres by utilising the 60/40 split-fold rear seats. Two luggage hooks in the boot prevents shopping bags from slip-sliding around, while a hidden compartment between the space-saver spare wheel and boot floor is a good place to store moderately expensive items.
Space is good up front, but we found the front seats a little tiring over long journeys. In the rear it's reasonably comfortable despite the backrests being a bit too vertical. Leg space is decent unless the front seats are pushed all the way. Thanks to their L-shaped cross section, the rear headrests can slide out of view of the driver when they're not being used.
With prices for the 77TSI kicking off from AU$19,850, the Polo comes reasonably equipped with air-con, central locking, cruise control, electric mirrors and electric windows with one-touch operation. The central locking system automatically locks all doors when you set off driving; good to know when you're driving through the mean streets of Mosman and Toorak. A multifunction trip computer in the instrument panel allows the driver to see distance to empty, average and current speed, and average and current fuel economy, as well as set a speed warning alert.
Buyers can cherry pick from a fairly extensive range of options or opt for one of the three themed option packs (sport, comfort and audio) to personalise their Polo. Items on the menu include automatic headlights, self-dimmer mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, tinted glass, 17-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, tyre pressure monitors, climate control air conditioning and rear-parking sensors.
On the safety front the 77TSI is fitted with six airbags, traction and stability control, disc brakes for all four wheels, emergency brake assistance and hill start assistance.