While the Mk5 Polo-based Volkswagen Vento continues to be sold in Malaysia, over in the Americas, its successor – the Virtus – has just been launched in Mexico. The small sedan, now sitting on the new Polo’s modular MQB A0 platform, makes its entry there nearly two years after it was first shown in Brazil, slotting above the Vento (which remains on sale, at least for the time being) as a more upmarket option.

As you’d expect, the Virtus is longer than the Polo (4,480 mm versus 4,053 mm) as well as a little taller (1,468 mm versus 1,446 mm), but the width is identical on both models (1,751 mm). Its wheelbase is also 86 mm longer at 2,650 mm, and it offers far more boot space at 521 litres.

On the outside, the Polo roots are fairly obvious, with the same clean-cut design language and a similar front end treatment. The front bumper has been redesigned with larger air intakes, accommodating the LED daytime running lights that are standard in Mexico. Most of the extra length can be seen at the rear of the car, where you’ll find trapezoidal tail lights that are reminiscent of the B9 Audi A4.

The angular design continues inside, with a horizontal dashboard design that places the head unit above the air vents. Unlike in Brazil, Mexico misses out on the Active Info Display instrument cluster, and the centre touchscreen has also shrunk from eight inches to 6.5. It still has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however.

Just one engine option is available, and it’s the trusty (if a little antiquated) 1.6 litre naturally-aspirated MPI four-cylinder, making 110 hp and 155 Nm of torque. It’s paired to either a five-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic, with drive sent to the front wheels.

Standard equipment includes halogen headlights, 15-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, power windows, a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, a universal smartphone mount with USB charging, six speakers and 60:40 split-folding rear seats. The automatic version adds 16-inch two-tone alloys and a leather-wrapped gear knob.

Safety kit includes four airbags, stability control and ISOFIX child seat anchors at the rear. Prices start at 275,990 pesos (RM59,500) for the manual version and 295,990 pesos (RM67,800) for the automatic.

GALLERY: Brazilian-market Volkswagen Virtus