Following a facelift that saw the whole powertrain range revised, as well as the permanent addition of a three-year/45 000 km service plan (something for which CAR has campaigned since this generation’s launch in 2010), the Polo retakes the crown from last year’s surprise victor, the Peugeot 208. The Polo is the B-segment’s most mature offering, and South African buyers can’t get enough if the monthly sales charts are any indication. Gone are the 1,4- and 1,6-litre naturally aspirated engines and in their place is a brand-new 1,2-litre turbopetrol with two power ratings depending on the spec level: 66 kW and 81 kW. Our choice is the lower-powered version in Comfortline spec, which provides all the luxuries and punch B-segment buyers could want at a price that makes sense. Later this year, Volkswagen will add a new turbodiesel option as well as a revised GTI with a close-ratio six-speed manual gearbox.

Runners Up:

Ford Fiesta
It just failed to make the podium last year, but the Fiesta had risen in our estimation after further exposure to the range. We adore the 1,0-litre EcoBoost engine (at its best when coupled with the dual-clutch ‘box), but wish Ford would up the airbag tally. If you value driving fun in your city hatch, pick this one.

Toyota Yaris
The Yaris has gone from dud to darling after undergoing an extensive design update, gaining a new facia, sound-deadening material in every nook and cranny and revised suspension geometry. Cheaper than most rivals,it would have placed higher were the engines more advanced and the cabin larger.


  • Peugeot 208
  • Renault Clio
  • Kia Rio


Opel will reinvigorate its line-up with two highly anticipated hatches. The Adam has just been launched (see next month’s CAR for a road test), while the more practical Corsa arrives as this issue goes to print. We’re also expecting the Mazda2 to vie for class honours when it lands next month, while an update to the ever-popular Kia Rio has just been launched.