Ask an average Malaysian about Volkswagen and the first thing that will come to their mind is most likely going to be the classic Hitler special, the Beetle. It can’t be denied that the Bug has touched a number of generations since its introduction in 1938, the fact that VW has sold over 21 million units is testament to the appeal of the ‘Bug’.
Today, 73 years after the brand first stamped its mark, Volkswagen is the largest car manufacturer in the world, selling millions of different models globally. Locally, the brand has only officially established itself for about three years now but it has been quite a ride.
The Golf GTI is a much loved choice of transport here and models like the 210 PS Scirocco, the Passat CC as well as the Tiguan have also seen healthy sales. It is the sales figures that have paved the way for newer cheaper models to be introduced to the local market, effectively making it easier for everyone to own a VW.
New to the local VW line up are the entry level models in the form of the Golf 1.4 TSI, Scirocco 1.4 TSI and the Polo 1.2 TSI. We were invited by Volkswagen Group Malaysia to put them all to the test this past weekend.
We have already sampled the Golf 1.4 TSI; my colleague Dinesh seemed to utterly love the handling and how frugal it was thanks to the Twin-Charged engine. Having driven it myself, the new Golf TSI is truly a great daily driver that’s capable of some fun moments thanks to the 160hp and 240Nm of torque. VW’s pride and joy 7-speed DSG gearbox complete with steering mounted shifters made driving it all the more entertaining.
So with such a great impression of the Golf 1.4 TSI at the back of my head, the Scirocco 1.4 TSI already had an ace in its hand when my turn came to “test” it out.
Now I don’t know why this always happens, but somehow my turn to drive always comes up at the twistiest of tarmacs that’s more suited to a rally car than the ‘Rocco I was in, but no matter, I wasn’t complaining.
We already know that the twin-charged 1.4 engine is easy on the pocket even though you may not be too easy on the pedal. We also know that the supercharger kicks in first and then lets up at 2400rpm for the turbocharger to take it all the way to the red line, all the time boosting at a maximum of 2.5bar! So it’s a great engine, but not one built for spirited driving like that of the GTI, as I was about to find out.
Inside the ’Rocco, there's the usual high quality finishing that feels like it cost a very expensive pretty penny, and though RM188,888 isn't exactly cheap, there aren’t many cars in this segment at that price, with that kind of appeal, gorgeous looks, and with that kind of build quality in Malaysia.
In fact, one would be hard pressed to tell the difference between it and its more powerful sibling, the RM243,888 210PS turbocharged Scirocco. Minus the leather seats, the 1.4 ‘Rocco gives off the impression that you’re seated in something that has 210PS at its disposal, though it doesn’t, the way it handles compensates for it.
Through the corners it felt planted and reassuring, similar to its 210PS twin. And though there were moments of counter steer, the ESP and other ‘save-my-bum’ acronyms had things under control at all times. The only time where you really miss the power of its older sibling is when you need to overtake; dropping a couple gears definitely helps but 160PS and 240Nm of torque in a car that weighs 1360kg naturally has you wishing for more when you have a truck leading you on at 60km/h. Note: Power is everything.
Sweeping backroads may not be what the 1.4 TSI ‘Rocco was built for, but it definately came alive on the highways, the high torque showing that cruising and looking good while doing so is simply its ‘thing’. Reaching 200km/h was simple and effortless but a bit of a wait compared to its more powerful siblings but refinement is typically German – quiet, planted, drama-free. With its ease of use, frugality, and drama free motoring, the Scirocco 1.4 TSI is definitely worth the pretty penny you would have to fork out.
After lunch, it was into the Polo 1.2 TSI – a highly anticipated addition to the local VW line up. The multiple-award winning entry level VW looks as if it was chiseled out the larger Golf, but that’s not a bad thing. In all honesty, the new fifth-generation Polo is leaps and bounds better than the model it replaces in everything from the way it looks, to the way it feels and to the way it drives.
Inside it lacks that feeling that you’re seated in something special, the plastics feel regular, the air-conditioning settings are changed using a manual dial; the wheel well is a little small for a six-footer, the switch that adjusts the side mirrors requires a degree in engineering to operate, but forget all that because this CBU Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI costs just RM108,888!!
The 2010 World Car of the Year also comes with the award winning 1.2-liter TSI engine and the 7-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). Despite the small capacity, the turbocharged engine puts out 105PS and 175Nm of torque across a wide torque range of 1,550-4,100rpm, and with a kerb weight of just 1126kg, the seemingly tiny output figures are more than enough for your daily commute, and some. So who cares about an interior that doesn't make you feel special when the car itself is pretty special?
We maxed out the Polo at 192km/h, after which it just refused to go anymore, but before you criticize, that’s plenty for such a small engine. Refinement was top notch as expected of a German built car, but we think that the best thing about the new Polo 1.2 is the way it looks.
We’re going to be picking up the new Polo 1.2 TSI for a more complete review soon, so I’m going to reserve my opinions till then. But as for the new line-up Volkswagen has to offer, don’t get put off by the small displacement engines because twin-charging can do wonders, with a specifications list that can make any GTI owner envious, the new line-up clearly has plenty to offer in terms of value for money. And with the new Polo GTI just around the corner, VW has plenty of tricks up its sleeves to keep us entertained over the next few years.
Also: Click here to read our review of the new Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI
For More, Visit VW Malaysia: http://www.volkswagen.com.my
149.8 KB Views: 159