I have driven the 2019 Car of the Year!

I have driven the 2019 Car of the Year!

2018-03-03

No, the headline is not a mistake. I know that this is a brave, bold statement (some would say it's daft). But I can assure you that I know which car will win the 2019 WesBank South African Car of the Year (COTY) competition: the new Volkswagen Polo.

I guess that I am being a bit brazen in making this prediction. After all, the 2018 COTY winner hasn't even been announced yet (that will happen on March 13). And, to be perfectly honest, even though I'm a judge, I have no clue which car will win; there are just so many amazing finalists this year. Of course, the same could happen in the 2019 contest. But I'm sticking to my guns. The Polo will win. And here's why.

When the judges evaluate the COTY finalists, we look at a number of factors: exterior design, interior materials, interior layout, technology, engine, transmission, engineering integrity, build quality, ride quality, steering/handling, affordability, value for money and overall excellence. And really, the new Polo ticks all these boxes!

I love the new exterior design; it's sporty and chunky (I adore the wedge shape). The materials used in the interior are top draw; it feels like a far more expensive car. The interior layout is quite faultless.

When it comes to technology, the Polo excels yet again (it boasts a multitude of driver assistance systems – a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert and semi-automated Park Assist system to name but a few - that were previously reserved for the Golf and Passat class; it's also the first Volkswagen ever to offer a new generation of Active Info Display).

Then there's the engine. Actually, I could write an entire article on the engine alone. It is Simply Superb! It comes with a choice of two turbocharged engines: both one-litre powerplants. The smaller of the two has an output of 70 kW. Standard with both the Polo Trendline and Comfortline, it's perky, responsive and surprisingly quick. It is available with a five-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG. Then there's the 1.0 TSI with an output of 85 kW (which is matched to a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG). At the launch, I drove with a guy who used to edit one of the largest motoring magazines in the country - so he really knows his (motoring stuff). There was one thing that he said over and over again while behind the wheel: "This engine is amazing; I cannot believe it's a one-litre." I totally concur with his sentiments. The manual gearboxes are terrific but the DSG is just incredible; in my mind, Volkswagen's DSG is THE benchmark transmission.

The newcomer to the Volkswagen stable is superbly engineered and built; there are absolutely no rattles or squeaks. This is something of which we - as South Africans - can be really proud, since the Polo is built right here in sunny South Africa.

The ride quality of the Polo is also superb (gosh I'm really waxing lyrical, aren't I?) The steering is faultless and the handling is predictable. My colleagues on the Women's World Car of the Year jury tell me that the new Fiesta (which comes to South Africa in the second quarter of this year) pips the Polo in the handling department - but the Volkswagen certainly doesn't disappoint.

Finally, there's the pricing. Volkswagen normally sells its cars at a premium because, quite frankly, it can. However, the pricing of the Polo is surprisingly competitive:

1.0 TSI 70kW TrendlineR 235 900
1.0 TSI 70kW ComfortlineR 280 700
1.0 TSI 70kW Comfortline DSGR 280 700
1.0 TSI 85kW HighlineR 286 200
1.0 TSI 70kW TrendlineR 286 200
1.0 TSI 85kW Highline DSGR 302 200

In conclusion, one needs to consider the overall excellence of the car - in my mind, this is the single-most important factor when it comes to judging COTY. I'd have to give it 10 out of 10 in this regard. The Polo is a truly excellent vehicle. It will deservedly wear the 2019 COTY crown.


Original source: Charleen Clarke

Recent News

Load shedding

Load shedding "devastates" vehicle auctions

2019-02-19

Load shedding is having a devastating effect on vehicle auctioneers. That's according to Darryl Jacobson, managing director of True Price. He says that attendance figures at vehicle auctions have tumbled while bidding is at an all-time low. "I have been in the vehicle auctioneering game for 30 years now. I've never seen anything like it. Vehicle auctioneers are reeling from the impact of load shedding, which has been quite devastating for the sector," he reveals.

True Price is on track!

True Price is on track!

2019-01-29

True Price, the innovative start-up that offers free vehicle evaluations to South African motorists, has added another string to its bow of product offerings: tracking and vehicle recovery.

WHICH VEHICLE FOR SOCCER MOMS HAS THE BEST RESALE VALUE?

WHICH VEHICLE FOR SOCCER MOMS HAS THE BEST RESALE VALUE?

2019-01-11

The first school term for 2019 is about to commence. And so too will vehicle shopping for some soccer moms. But which car on a soccer mom’s shopping list has the best resale value? True Price’s answer to this question will surprise most industry observers …

Five tips when buying a car over Christmas

Five tips when buying a car over Christmas

2018-12-05

Follow these tips and keep the woe, woe out of your ho, ho when buying a car this festive season! The famous Mariah Carey song – “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – is hitting the airwaves, as it always does at this time of the year. But what if all you want for Christmas is a car? Here are the five most important things that you need to know when shopping for wheels over the festive season: