Volkswagen: 2015 CrossPolo TSI review

Volkswagen: 2015 CrossPolo TSI review

The CrossPolo sits at the top of the Volkswagen Polo range. With 30mm more ground clearance and a tough-looking black skirt, it tells the world that this is a city car that can get its boots a bit mucky. Not too mucky, though, because it’s still just a front-wheel drive hatchback, and you wouldn’t want to subject those tasty 17-inch alloys to extreme punishment.

Volkswagen CrossPolo 2015 sideThe CrossPolo sports the same 1.2-litre TSI engine as the rest of the Polo range, but it has more oomph – 81kW compared to 66kW. It’s light, too. At 1213kg unladen weight, the 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine is capable of sneaking in the ton at just under 10 seconds, without using hardly any of the 7 available gears.

It’s 15mm longer and wider than a standard Polo but is still just under 4m long and 1.7m wide. Those dimensions mean that there’s not a huge amount of legroom in the rear if you’re a tall driver. The boot’s good for 280 litres of space, Volkswagen CrossPolo 2015 front seatswhich is almost 30 more than you’ll get in a Suzuki SX4.

But, I’m guessing the CrossPolo isn’t going to be your pick of family wagon because it’s not got that image. This is more of a fun car for the adventures of childless couples with apartment-sized parking spaces in the city.

It is nice and easy to park, especially with Volkswagen’s front and rear ParkPilot . You can purchase a reversing camera for $750, but the ParkPilot is excellent aVolkswagen CrossPolo 2015 instrumentsnd the VW has adequate visibility all around when reversing. A satnav system is also optional for $750. The ParkPilot graphics are shown on the 6.5-inch touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard. You also control your media there. Behind the gearstick there are inputs for auxiliary devices and USB. You can connect a smartphone via Bluetooth and stream audio. There are endless menus for fiddling with the car’s settings – everything from the units on the trip computer to what the lights do when you leave the car.

There is a fatigue detection system which evaluates your driving style and gives you an optical and acoustic warning if it deduces you are getting tired. With 6 airbags, Electronic Stability Control, ABS and traction control, it earns a 5-star ANCAP crash test rating.

The exterior follows Volkswagen’s angular and bold front lines. Our test car came in ‘honey orange’, which my partner described as ‘ginger’. The CrossPolo exterior package features different front and rear bumpers and side sills, black wheel arch extensions, silver roof rails, silver exterior mirrors and privacy glass. It’s a good-looking car from any angle.

Despite the angular and chiselled looks, the performance can best be described as ‘rounded’. The suspension can seem a little jagged on some surfaces but overall it provides a confident ride. There’s not a surplus of power, but it’s not left wanting on undulating roads.

Volkswagen quotes the fuel economy at 4.9l/100km, which is down from 5.5l/100km. I drove from Auckland Central to Ramarama and back (mostly motorway driving at between 80-100kph), then from Auckland Central to St Heliers and back (mostly urban driving), and my fuel economy averaged 7l/100km.

Volkswagen CrossPolo 2015 bootVolkswagen CrossPolo 2015 rear quarterVolkswagen NZ expects to sell around 300 of the CrossPolo model and around 700 of the other Polos. If you only intend to drive the CrossPolo around the city in rush hour, you won’t get any benefit from its longer legs and more muscular thighs – you can save yourself a couple of grand and go for the TSI Highline. However, you’d miss out on the extra power (which does make one second difference in the dash to 100kph), the 17-inch wheels and the superior multimedia setup. With either the Highline or the CrossPolo you can get adaptive cruise control with city emergency brake for $1250 – this will keep you at the speed of the car in front if you catch one up while under cruise control, and if you’re driving at city speeds the CrossPolo will brake automatically for you if it detects you will otherwise have a collision.

As an alternative to the CrossPolo, the Holden Trax LS ($32,990) and the Suzuki SX4 ($28,990) have obvious similarities. The Holden Trax LS has some foibles and if you bought one you would rue the day you didn’t go for the LTZ which is streets ahead, but also almost $36000; the Suzuki SX4 isn’t as good dynamically and has an inferior CVT gearbox in comparison to the 7-speed dual-clutch ‘box in the Polo, but it does come with satnav as standard. Your other option would be a Ford EcoSport, but that really is not a good car and is a blot on Ford’s otherwise excellent range.

So, the CrossPolo, in my opinion, sits at the right price to be the most attractive city SUV. Looking at the stats it does well against the competition. As an overall package it’s rounded and coherent. Where the SX4 feels a little bit flimsy, the CrossPolo feels more accomplished, and where the Trax LS feels wooden under brakes and coarse under acceleration, the CrossPolo feels sharper and more refined.

Price: $29,990

Pros

  • Good overall package

Cons

  • Nothing major


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