** This article is the personal experience of a 2015 Volkswagen Polo 1.6MPI Hatchback owner and does not necessarily reflect the views of WapCar.
Facebook: Kamal Afiq bin Kamal Bahrin
This is a 2015 Volkswagen Polo 1.6MPI Hatchback that my wife bought new in 2015. It is the first car that she bought to replace her ageing family owned 2009 Perodua Viva 1.0 EZi. Upon returning from overseas and securing a job that required her to travel from Johor to Kerteh almost on a weekly basis, we wanted a car that is safer and in any way better than her Viva.
Just like any Malaysian would, Volkswagen was never in our list. Five years on, we prefer VW or Audi vehicle. The reason was simple, too many negative feedbacks that we heard back then. I have to say, one of the things that hooked us up to get this car was the superb deal that VPCM were giving out back then with their zero down payment and zero interest offer. Not even the Malaysia’s Supercar Perodua Myvi and the newly launched Proton Iriz could give us that offer. There we were, gotten our first job and no saving for down payment chose a Volkswagen as our first car. Not a clever decision. Of course, there is another equally important reason why we have chosen this car, it was because I insisted on getting a car that is fun to drive and nothing less. I was blessed enough that during my University years I spent most of my time racing 125cc go-karts in a local amateur league and joining Sepang Trackdays a few times a year. Despite being the slowest and not winning in any of the races I joined, I have grown to appreciate a car that can offer an excellent driving dynamic above anything else. A car for me is not just to take me from point A to point B, it must be able to make me smile when I drive. That pretty much ruled out Myvi, contenders from Korean, and most Japanese cars within the same price bracket.
Proton Iriz was and still is an excellent handling car no doubt and I even have gotten my mom to get it (that’s for another story), but both my wife and I dislike their CVT, period. When we were looking for this car back then, we did also test drove a Honda Jazz on a few occasions. It offered an excellent amount of practicality with large boot space, excellent knee and legroom for the rear passengers, and usable storage compartments wherever you look. You will not be able to get any of that in a Volkswagen Polo hatchback. The Honda Jazz also came equipped with full-on safety features with 6 airbags and stability control that we want. Unfortunately, these features only came in their higher variants which is more expensive than what VPCM were offering us for the Volkswagen Polo. Lastly, there is the drive. You would definitely get better fuel mileage with the Honda Jazz comparing to our Polo, and the CVT in the Honda Jazz feels less lethargic than the one in the Proton Iriz; however, they are nowhere near the Volkswagen Polo in that area. The steering felt numb when I drove it. Despite having a better feature like a push start button and a 7 inch LCD infotainment system, we preferred the simpler dashboard in a Polo. In our opinion, the Polo has better finishing touches despite using plastic materials on most of the interiors. Don’t get me wrong, bragging about wanting a car that drives well and yet, our Polo only came with a drum brake for the rear doesn’t really make sense, but with our limited budget and not wanting a dreadful CVT in Iriz, what else can we have?
As far as buying experience goes, it was a very straight forward and trouble-free process. We bought the car from a friend of mine at MHV Autohaus and she pretty much managed everything for us. Good Job Sya!
As for the ownership experience, it was eye-opening for us. I remember the first service (15,000km) that I sent to FA Wagen Glenmarie and was quoted a whopping RM1k. Not blaming VPCM or even that particular dealer as I believe they perform every single task on that bill. It is just that, some of those tasks are not necessary. Since then, I always refer and encourage you to refer to Volkswagen Malaysia website for their vehicle Service Maintenance Schedule. You can use the quoted price on the website and compare with the ones from the service centre when you send your car in. We are clocking almost 130,000km currently and the car is now out of the warranty coverage. I have been sending the car for service at an outside independent service centre. However, I still follow the same schedule as per the website with an additional full air conditioning service for every 30,000km mileage. The ownership experience has been troubled free. For almost 130,000km mileage, the car has only been in workshop for 8 times which is for every 15,000km scheduled service and stranded at a petrol station once due to a dead battery.
The drive is very rewarding for the money you paid. Despite its size, the car handles very well and feel planted around the bends. I have never taken this car for a track day session and will not be doing it, but on the B-Road this car feels very composed. The suspension is better than the Proton Iriz however, I personally think that the Proton Iriz's suspension absorbs bumps better on our local road. Does anyone feel the same thing too? The steering feedback is excellent, you would be able to feel the road bumps and the steering feels perfectly weighted. The high-speed run, on the other hand, the 1.6MPI engine will get you to the above national speed limit with ease and will keep climbing up. But being the cheapest continental car in Malaysia, you will find that the wind noise is a little bit loud especially at the speed above 145kph. The combination of the engine and transmission in this car is spot on for daily drives. But I find this 6-speed torque converter from Aisin is tuned to be more fuel-saving; hence, it will shift up quite early and that annoys me a little bit. But if you put the gear lever to S, the problem is pretty much solved.
Of course, not all is well with this car. Mainly, the safety features that we have in this car is basic at best. It is now the year of 2020, buying a car without 6 airbags and Electronic Stability Control is just unwise. We might be okay with a head unit that only comes with CD, Bluetooth, and iPod connectivity back then but having driven a few Apple Carplay equipped cars lately made me want to throw this ancient head unit and installed a newer one with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features. Furthermore, if we waited another 6 months, we would have gotten the same car with rear air conditioning vents installed. Granted, due to its size the rear passengers will not be complaining about the air conditioning because the current setup is more than sufficient. Like I mentioned earlier, the gearbox is good for daily drives and certainly perfect for my wife; but for a heavy footer like me, I have to keep it in S just to enjoy the drive a little bit more. Lastly, the space. If you are a single lady this car suits you very well. But, with one kid, a stroller, a baby carrier, and a bag full of groceries? Things just escalated to a very unpractical car very quickly.
Total Score: 4/5
Quality & Features: 3/5
Ride Comfort: 4/5
Fuel Economy: 4/5
Price & Cost: 4/5