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LONG-TERM UPDATE 10 | We treat our Polo GTI to its first service

27 January 2021 - 16:23 By brenwin naidu
The author's long-term Polo GTI has clocked up 13,500km over the past 12 months.
The author's long-term Polo GTI has clocked up 13,500km over the past 12 months.
Image: Waldo Swiegers

The last Volkswagen we had in our long-term test programme was a 2019 Golf 7.5 1.4 TSI Comfortline. By the time it left our possession after a 12-month stint, its odometer was sitting on 30,000km! A substantial tally, owed to various cross-country jaunts in the hands of colleagues involved with the motoring machine at this fine company.

By comparison, the Polo GTI in our custodianship has seen less than half of that mileage since it joined the fleet in April this year. The reasons are obvious: lockdown measures meant free movement was limited. But windows of opportunities were seized — it made a trek to Port Elizabeth on two occasions. And Cape Town too.

As this update is being typed, the Reef Blue Metallic hatchback is probably sitting with its wheels dangling off the ground, on a lift at our dealership of choice. At 13,500km, we booked it in for its first ever annual service, covered under plan. Volkswagen says 15,000km, but there is a 1,500km allowance on either side. On the agenda is a simple change of engine oil, a new oil filter and a thorough inspection, all covered under the service plan.

The other point we brought to the attention of the technician was the brakes’ tendency to groan, which only happens when reversing at low speed. Apparently this is not an isolated occurrence and a software update is being rolled out to potentially alleviate the issue.

There was also the low coolant warning that flashed on the way back from that earlier mentioned trip to Cape Town, even though the level of fluid in the expansion tank was still fine.

TFT instrument contributes much to the Polo GTI's upmarket look and feel.
TFT instrument contributes much to the Polo GTI's upmarket look and feel.
Image: Waldo Swiegers

Aside from these niggles — and a flat tyre over December — our time with the plucky Polo has been drama-free and enjoyable. There remains plenty to admire about the car, from its stout power delivery to the way passers-by drink in the attractive aesthetic combination of its gleaming paint, 18-inch Brescia alloys and striking frontal LED treatment.

You might have seen late last year that the Polo was the first recipient of the new Volkswagen corporate logo. This includes a restyled GTI emblem for the tailgate, sitting just below the Volkswagen badge in the centre. We expressed some disdain for the new logo in our T-Roc report last year: it is flat and cheap-looking vs the 3D, chrome-faced splendour of the current, outgoing device.

Not to shun progress, but sometimes, proven and familiar fixtures ought to be left alone. But we doubt the new signage will be a deal-breaker in this case, or when it comes to any other model from the brand for that matter.

Anyway, we look forward to getting our Polo back from its routine health visit and relish the possibility of crossing provinces one last time before it goes back at the end of March.





PRAISES: Still quick, slick and admired by all

GRIPES: Low profiles not happy with all these potholes springing up