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New VW Polo sedan direct from China

Safety first: Volkswagen claims Polo Classic is one of the world’s safest small cars.

Volkswagen’s new Polo sedan is Australia’s first Chinese-built vehicle

Volkswagen logo6 Sep 2004

AUSTRALIA’S first Chinese-built car is now on sale in the shape of Volkswagen’s Polo Classic sedan.

Hitting the middle of Volkswagen Group Australia’s existing Polo hatch range, which opens with a $19,990 three-door Club manual and closes with the five-door Elite auto, Polo Classic fronts up from $23,990.

Based on the fourth generation Polo light car launched at Frankfurt in 2001 and on sale here since 2002, the single-specification, three-box four-door goes one-up by featuring a 74kW/140Nm 1.6-litre 16-valve engine.

Three and five-door Polo variants offer only 55kW/126Nm 1.4-litre performance.

But the downside is Polo Classic will only be available as a (five-speed) manual. And with no auto version available, VGA expects Polo Classic sales to be well short of the 600-odd sedans it would otherwise have anticipated, at around 240 units.

The lack of an auto transmission and logistical delays in getting the vehicle Down Under aside, Volkswagen claims Polo Classic – the first passenger car to be exported to a Western market from China since the industry began its boom in the late 1990s – is one of the world’s safest small cars.

Priced $500 above the Elite five-door manual, Polo Classic comes standard with twin front and side airbags, ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, five three-point seatbelts and Volkswagen’s Crash-Optimised Pedal system comprising a folding brake pedal to reduce the risk of foot injuries.

There’s also standard semi-automatic air-conditioning, power windows/mirrors, an eight-speaker CD audio system and remote central locking.

3 center imageRestyled rearward of the B-pillar, Polo sedan is 280mm longer than the hatch and offers 461 litres of boot space (211 more than the hatch), or 1127 litres in total with the rear seats folded.

Underneath Polo Classic’s galvanised body lie the same MacPherson strut and trailing arm/torsion beam front and rear suspension units.

"With our entry level hatchback model priced at just $19,990, Volkswagen Polo does represent outstanding value for money and now with a beautiful sedan model to compliment the range, there is no doubt we have the best European compact car range on the market," said VGA managing director Peter Nochar.

Volkswagen is China’s top-selling passenger car brand, with 600 VW dealerships selling more than 697,000 vehicles last year (up 36 per cent on 2002) to make China the company’s second-largest market behind Germany and ahead of the US.

It expects to sell more than a million vehicles in China by 2007, with Polo Classic sedan exports to Australia just the first of many much larger export plans.

AT A GLANCE:

Engine: 16-valve 1.6-litre four-cylinder
Power: 74kW at 5500rpm
Torque: 140Nm at 3250rpm
Fuel: 45 litres, PULP
Length/width/height: 4179/1650/1465mm
Wheels/tyres: 14 x 6.0-inch steel, 185/60 R14
0-100km/h acceleration: 10.9 seconds
Top speed: 184km/h
Turning circle: 10.6 metres
Kerb weight: 1167kg

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