Saturday 18 November 2017

Big assets flaunted in little Polo

Good looks are important in any car and this little Volkswagen has them in abundance, writes Campbell Spray

For reasons that you mustn't dwell on, a stoat dressed in St Patrick's Day regalia sits on my computer in the office. The stoat is looking rather dilapidated since our dog Sam chewed off three of its feet. Yet strangely the animal doesn't seem as out of place as a bright orange car with silver roof rails and orange seats that was parked outside in Dublin's Talbot Street the other week. In fact, both stoat and the Volkswagen Cross Polo, with its Magma orange trim and body, look like creatures from the toy box. The VW with its increased ground clearance and 17" Budapest alloys could be a miniature SUV for the children of giants to push along the floor.

But once inside and your eyes have become accustomed to the glare of the trim, the Cross Polo is a really fetching little car that got really good plaudits for its looks when we took it into the Dublin mountains and parked it during our walk to the Hellfire Club. The car bestowed coolness and chic that, of course, was completely undone by my shorts and baseball cap. However, I had to remove the latter if fellow walkers approached!

Basically the Cross Polo is a well-equipped version of the popular Volkswagen that is loved by single women and young families. Its elevation, body mouldings, decals and trim give it a rugged and sportier character. However, the car deserves something a bit better than the well tried 1.2 petrol and diesel engines available. Both need a fair bit of work through the manual box. At the moment there's not a 4WD version so the car is more style than reality. Yet despite it being very noisy on motorways, having ridiculously small wing mirrors and a front armrest that interferes with the handbrake, there's very little to fault it if you take it for a fun-looking car with some ability at an on-the-road price of around €19,000.

Polos aren't meant to carry hulking six-footers like me in the rear and the Cross version is no exception. Luggage space is helped by having no spare wheel but that is always a mixed blessing. Despite its higher height, the Cross Polo drives with all the accuracy and ease of the ordinary Polo. On paper and in reality it is a very safe car. The petrol model comes into the B band for motor tax while the diesel, which is about €1,500 more expensive, is in Band A.

I was very sorry to give back the Cross Polo at the end of the week. I had quickly become very fond of it as its distinctiveness grew on me. It was a challenge I liked. It is very easy to keep your head down and add nothing to the world. The Cross Polo confidently flaunts its limited wares. That it looks a bit more naughty than it is means it probably wouldn't really be enough for me in the long run. But a man with a chewed stoat on his desk that is wearing a green hat probably needs more help than an orange car can give.

Indo Motoring

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