This is the poor man’s GTI right?

In a way. But not entirely. Polo Vivo itself is the affordable option below the Polo badge, so perhaps this would be the “poor man’s” Polo GTI if there was such a thing? Vivo is about value, it’s the entry-level Volkswagen, the car new drivers should ideally learn to drive with and experience life in. Relatively easy to repair in case of collisions, spacious enough to carry five adults with sizeable luggage and parts are readily available. Therefore performance is not the only thing this car in particular is about; it does come from good stock. In fact, performance is about the last thing I want to chat about here.

What else is there, given the name GT?

Yes there is GT in the name but there’s more. Buyers are not necessarily all going to be chasing one another from traffic light to traffic light. Some are more keen on something that stands out in looks, offers some acceptable performance, and won’t break the bank I think the Vivo GT fits in snuggly into this range.

So why would one buy it?

For one, it looks good. Those decals, GT lettering, side moulding, that rear roof cap and exhaust tailpipe in chrome make it look different. Inside you get sports seats and cruise control standard, while options will include leather and a towbar among others. The sound system works well, plays radio, music from your USB/ auxiliary or Bluetooth. Six speakers are provided, as is an onboard computer with loads of information about the car.

What does the computer tell you?

For one, how many kilometres or hours you’ve travelled since a particular point. More pertinent is the tank range left, meaning the distance you can travel with the amount of fuel currently in the tank. This is obviously most useful in this day and age of high petrol prices.


Best thing about the Vivo GT?

Probably the combination of performance and fuel consumption. Look, it won’t set its 16-inch tyres on fire while taking off, but it will feel like a rocket (see figures). The turbocharged 3-cylinder makes a sweet, gruffy noise that adds to some of the drama. But at the same time, we were able to cover just over 800km from one full tank, and that was driving under mixed conditions (town, urban, freeway). This makes it quite a catch at the price, because it mixes performance with frugality quite well.








ENGINE: 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder turbo petrol

POWER: 81kW / 110 PS at 5 250rpm; 200Nm at 2 000rpm

0 – 100KM/H: 9.9 seconds

GEARBOX: 6-speed manual

DRIVE: Front-wheel-drive

TOP SPEED: 196km/h

FUEL AVERAGE:  5.2 l/100km

CO2 e: 109 g/km




*PRICE RIVALS: Hyundai i20 1.4 auto, Kia Rio sedan, Opel ADAM Slam, Renault Duster 1.6 Expression



*A price rival falls within R30 000 or so of the subject’s price on either side of its price spectrum for cars over R350 000, R20 000 for cars of between R250 000 and R350 000 and R10 000 for cars below R250 000.

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