The press photos given to us alongside yesterday’s official launch of the locally-assembled Volkswagen Polo Hatch 1.6 had a few inconsistencies – different in-dash head units, centre armrest with/without rear aircon vents, and so on – so to clear the confusion, we went to Wearnes Automotive Sg Besi to get these live photos.
This new CKD VW Polo Hatch is priced at RM87,888 or, if you’re among the first 500 takers, RM85,888. That would make it the most affordable Volkswagen in Malaysia, alongside the similarly-priced CKD Polo Sedan 1.6. What you see here is what you can buy.
Exterior wise, it’s a standard Volkswagen Polo Hatch, save for a few minor distinctions. The double-bar chromed grille and silver-surround headlamps are ported over from the Polo Sedan CKD, and the rear lights now have slightly different graphics. Badging has been altered too, and the rear now spells out Volkswagen.
The 15-inch ‘Riverside’ wheels (the same as those on the initial batch of Polo 1.2 TSIs, before it was upgraded to 17-inch ‘Boavista’ items), shod with Apollo tyres, are also similar to the Polo Sedan’s. Likewise, the turn indicators have been moved from the wing mirrors to the front fenders.
Less noticeable are the door pillars, which no longer have a glossy black finish. The differences don’t end there either: the rear brakes are now drums rather than discs, and even the aeroblade-type wiper blades have been replaced with traditional items.
Under the hood, this CKD variant trades in the imported model’s 105 PS/175 Nm 1.2 litre turbocharged TSI engine and seven-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission for a simpler 105 PS/153 Nm 1.6 litre MPI motor and six-speed automatic gearbox combo, which is shared with the Polo Sedan.
As with most things, you gain some, you lose some. Zero to 100 km/h and top speed figures drop from 9.7 seconds and 190 km/h to 11.1 seconds and 184 km/h respectively. Fuel consumption suffers too, rising from 5.3 litres per 100 km to 6.3 l/100 km – all these despite a big drop in kerb weight (1,020 kg vs the 1.2 TSI’s 1,126 kg).
Inside, in comes the Polo Sedan’s newer RCD 320 head unit, replacing the RCD 310 in the imported car. With this change, the USB and AUX sockets are moved to the dash face, and audio will play through four speakers in here, as the two A-pillar-mounted tweeters have been deleted. Also new are automatic aircon and cruise control.
Though not publicised, the locally-assembled car’s interior carries more changes. It may look the same, but the CBU car’s soft-touch dashboard top has been swapped out for a harder version. Even the previously-part-fabric door trims are now made of hard plastics.
Among the items that have been removed altogether are the centre armrest, height-adjustable front seats belts, driver’s grab handle, under-seat drawers, vanity mirror lights, rear interior lights and adjustable boot floor. Also, the front interior lights now sport a different, simpler design than before.
What else? The rooflining is now made of a coarser material, the remaining three grab handles are no longer damped and the new front seats now feature a ratchet-type rake adjustment in place of the imported car’s infinitely-variable rotary-knob system. Last but not least, airbag count has been dropped from four to just two, and the all-important electronic stability programme (ESP) is now missing in action.
You can check out the official brochures of both the CBU Polo 1.2 TSI and the CKD Polo 1.6 above for more details. The near-RM30,000 price reduction compared to the fully-imported Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI (RM114,888) will surely make headlines, but as we’ve found out, there’s more to the story than just that.