Top 12 Winner, Light Sedan: Volkswagen Polo Vivo

In September last year, Volkswagen revised one of Mzansi’s most-loved vehicle ranges and quietly slipped in anti-lock functionality on the braking system across the line-up. Previously, we relegated the Polo Vivo range to the “also consider” category due to a lack of ABS on all models (except in the Budget Car and Performance Car categories, we vote for a range instead of individual models), but this crucial safety enhancement brought the Vivo back into contention. Come voting day, it went on to edge the Rio as our pick in the light-sedan category, and it’s not difficult to see why. All models have two airbags, air-conditioning, remote central locking, and height-and-reach-adjustable steering column. Move up the range and items such as electric windows, alloy wheels and an audio system with USB and Bluetooth functionality become standard. Measuring 392 dm3, the boot is larger than an S-Class or A6’s, while the rear bench can seat three across (but two adults will be more comfy). Throw in Volkswagen South Africa’s extensive dealer network and it’s a no-brainer why each year thousands of South Africans choose a Polo Vivo. Now if only the Vivo could get a standard service plan…

Runners Up:

Kia Rio Sedan
Relegated to second spot due to the Vivo’s strong showing, the Rio has just been revised and remains a great product. The engines are small (1,2- and 1,4-litre units) and therefore struggle a tad at altitude, but otherwise the Rio is difficult to fault. Spec is extensive and a four-year/60 000 km service plan standard, but pricing is steep.

Ford Figo 1,4 Ambiente
The newest competitor in this class is also one of our favourites. Tested in the August 2014 issue, the Ballade impressed with its maturity and a solidly constructed cabin, punchy 1,5-litre engine and capacious boot
(400 dm3). The Elegance version is liberally equipped, but expensive. We’d recommend the 1,5 Trend at R204 800.

ALSO CONSIDER

  • Nissan Almera
  • Volkswagen Polo Sedan
  • Toyota Etios
  • Absolut Sabs

    Its just unbreakable and fuel efficient!

    • nigel

      Volkswagen may be on a roll in Europe and South Africa, but Stateside its first quarter sales are middle of the road.

      2015 Q1 USA Manufacturer Sales.

      1) Ford – 570 422
      2) Toyota – 486 462
      3) Chevrolet – 476 556
      4) Nissan – 333 786
      5) Honda – 294 299
      6) Jeep – 178 749
      7) Hyundai – 172 029
      8) Kia – 141 100
      9) Subaru – 131 281
      10) Dodge – 123 511
      11) GMC – 119 811
      12) Ram – 110 406
      13) Mercedes-Benz – 83 715
      14) Chrysler – 81 933
      15) Volkswagen – 79 239 (Minus 9,26% ~ 2014 – 87 323)
      16) BMW – 78 492
      17) Mazda – 78 044
      18) Lexus – 77 180
      19) Buick – 50 497
      20) Audi – 40 098
      21) Acura – 39 644
      22) Cadillac – 37 175
      23) Infiniti – 33 842
      24) Mitsubishi – 23 790
      25) Lincoln – 21 478
      26) Land Rover – 16976
      27) Volvo – 13 722
      28) Mini – 12 777
      29) Scion – 11 978
      30) Porsche – 11 430
      31) Fiat – 11 038
      32) Jaguar – 4 336
      33) Maserati – 1 929
      34) Bentley – 512

      • Knormoer

        Yes they are quite weak in the US. But worldwide they are extremely strong and threatening to push Toyota of their throne. Surprising figures for January 2015:

        1. Volkswagen: 620 523

        2. Toyota: 612 678

        3. Ford 444 158

        4. Nissan 379 567

        5. Hyundai 375 300

        6. Chevrolet 366 086

        And that is just for the VW brand (excluding Audi Skoda Seat etc)

        The top 50 can be viewed at focus2moveDOTcom/global-car-market-leadership/

  • Prince Valiant

    So you list the Figo 1.4 Ambiente as an alternative? Just when I thought that there is a sedan version on the market that slipped in unnoticed I saw the reference to the Ballade in the paragraph below the heading. A very rare mistake but still…