When the latest-generation version of Volkswagen's budget hatchback hit the market in South Africa in February 2018, the Polo Vivo Maxx derivative was nowhere to be seen. Now, however, this cross-hatch variant has quietly arrived at local dealers.

While the Polo Vivo Maxx is not yet (at the time of writing, anyway) listed on VW South Africa’s website, we do know that it is offered at R225 000, about R5 000 less than VW’s initial indicative pricing suggested.

The Vivo Maxx employs a naturally aspirated 1,6-litre petrol engine worth 77 kW and 153 N.m, linked to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox.

In addition to its black-plastic body cladding and faux skid-plates front and rear, the newcomer boasts a raised suspension (by 15 mm), 17-inch alloys (shod in 215/40 rubber), roof rails, aluminium-effect side-mirror caps, sports pedals, a special carpet set, sports front seats (with model-specific cloth trim) and “Maxx” decals.

Standard safety features include ABS (with discs up front and drums at the rear), driver and front passenger airbags, Isofix child-seat anchors, an alarm with central locking and an immobiliser. The standard warranty covers three years or 120 000 km while service and maintenance plans are available as options.

Volkswagen Polo Vivo Maxx