Volkswagen’s formula for the Vivo, inherited from that they used for the Citi Golf, is not likely to change soon.
Dressing up an older model and keeping it technologically up to date as an entry level model has worked brilliantly and the latest Vivo will not buck the trend.
It is not just a cynical rebranding exercise either, with the lineup being topped by the smallest, but most technologically advanced, engine.
The three-cylinder 1.0 TSI GT produces 81 kW and 200Nm, which is enough to propel the little Vivo into the region of 190km/h. The GT also gets it own distinctive styling inside and out distinguishing it as the most desirable Vivo.
On top of a lowered suspension the sporty look is enhanced by a rear tailgate spoiler and the GT lettering is proudly displayed on the tailgate, front grille and sides.
There is also a black side moulding and to finish off the exterior, a sporty single-pipe exhaust system with chrome trim.
Inside there is a sport pedal cluster and floor mats front and rear. Having just driven the most powerful of the four-cylinder units, I was wary about how the GT could really be much better than the 77kW unit in practice.
However, I was pleasantly surprised and the lighter engine proved even better than the 4kW advantage it holds.
Not only that, but despite the compact engine, It was seldom necessary to change down on the six-speed manual gearbox for lack of torque. The GT’s ride was as good as the others and the handling was even better.
It’s not often I rate the most expensive derivative as the best value option, but this Vivo really is fun. All the same the cheaper models are no slouches and I was impressed even by the entry level 1.4, especially if all you need is a city runabout.
The power output for the smallest of the four-cylinder engines is 55kW and it is mated to a five-speed gearbox.
The Tiptronic transmission is available with the 77kW 1.6 engine, making it probably the most sensible option for those bestowed with the joys of a daily rush hour.
Volkswagen have brought the Vivo nomenclature in line with the rest of their ranges by following the Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. As the specification level increases so does power output, so the 1.4 Comfortline produces 63kW and 132Nm, an important factor to bear in mind when factoring price in this oh so price sensitive segment.
The 77 kW 1.6-liter engine is available in Comfortline or Highline, but without a power difference.
The advantage the Vivo holds over many of its competitors is that, as a Volkswagen, it is typically well built. Apart from the obvious advantage of not having the roof lining falling on your head at 100 000km, it usually translates into good resale value.
The Trendline, Comfortline and Highline have new interior trims which add exciting ambience and feel into the cabin of the new Polo Vivo.
A new gear knob with leatherette gearshift has been introduced. Comfortline, Highline and GT derivatives now have a height-adjustable driver seat. For entertainment, new Polo Vivo customers have an option of Radio 140G SD/USB/Bluetooth with four speakers (standard on Trendline and Comfortline).
Highline and GT get two extra speakers for sound enhancementand the Colour Touchscreen Radio 340G which includes App-Connect.
Active and passive standard safety features include ABS, alarm and remote central locking as standard across the range, as are Isofix seat points.
The Vivo is pretty much the benchmark in its sector. It should be a benchmark period. Whatever you choose to buy it would be a worthwhile exercise to measure what you are paying more for against a Vivo.
The VW Polo Vivo Hatch comes with a three-year/120 000km warranty and a six-year anti corrosion warranty. A VW maintenance plan and a VW automotion service plan are available as options.
The service interval is 15 000km.
- 1.4 55kW Trendline R179 900
- 1.4 63kW Comfortline R192 000
- 1.6 77kW Comfortline Tiptronic R221 900
- 1.6 77kW Highline R214 900
- 1.0 TSI 81kW GT R245 000 Prices (VAT and emissions tax included)