ESM’s 2012 Car Buying Predicament #6 – The Finale

Recently I wrote about the end of my ownership of the 9N3 Volkswagen Polo, following the epically long saga to replace it which began all the way back in October last year. So after several months of searching, test driving and negotiating, just what did land on the EngageSportMode drive?

volkswagen-polo-30412121018445501600x1060

A Polo R-Line; not mine.

Originally when my quest began I had dismissed the regular Polo for looking too mundane, despite the appeal of the 1.2 TSI petrol engine. But whilst researching a broker who could supply an Audi A1, I happened across a listing for the R-Line like the one shown above. Embarrassingly for such a perennial Polo purchaser, the existence of the R-Line had completely passed me by, despite being unveiled several months ago. Could the R-Line be the answer to all the requirements I’d originally asked of my new car? Let us just review what I wanted:

Essential Criteria

1. 0-60mph in less than 10 seconds. The R-Line dips under with an official 0-60 of 9.7 seconds.
2. A 120mph+ top speed. 118mph according to the manual. Close, but not quite.
3.Real world mpg of 35+. Yup. The benefits of a modern downsized engine mean an official combined mpg of 53.3, so even taking into account the fact the stated figures are impossible to achieve, it bodes well.
4. 3-Spoke steering wheel. Three-spoked, with a flat bottom, and made of a nice leather/perforated leather combination.
5. Air-conditioning. Present and correct as standard.
6. No longer than 4.4 metres long. Actually less than 4 metres.
7. Affordable insurance. Cheaper than the 9N3 in fact.

Desirable Criteria

8. Six-speed gearbox. Oh yes, a manual with 6 forward cogs.
9. Steering wheel mounted controls. Only as an option.
10. A sport mode. Sadly not offered on the R-Line. Boo.

So on paper the R-Line might not have ticked every single box, but in reality it came very close to meeting exactly what I was looking for. As a result, I found myself in the Pulman Durham dealership negotiating a deal with sales executive Chris Taylor. The only issue was around getting hold of a physical car for me to buy. The R-Line has a relatively limited colour palette, but the one I really wanted was Shadow Blue metallic. However, there were none in the entire UK Volkswagen network, which would have meant a factory order taking several months. But, if I plumped for Deep Black pearlescent, I could have the car in a matter of days, with just one being available in the country from central VW stock.

Having owned two black cars previously, and having sworn never to own another one that colour again (twice), I knew it would show every single mark and bit of dirt. But at the same time, I didn’t want red or white so I faced little choice if I wanted a car sooner rather than later. I bit the bullet and went black. I decided to stick with the standard specification as, unlike the Audi A1, the Polo R-Line comes with a rather high amount of factory fitted equipment including:

  • R-Line styling package; a GTI-esque bodykit including a jutting chin spoiler and chunky rear diffuser, along with tinted rear windows,
  • 16″ ‘Mallory alloy wheels,
  • Sport seats with R-Line logo’d head rests,
  • Aluminium pedals; identical to the ones I once had in my old Polo GTI,
  • Black cloth headling,
  • DAB radio with iPod integration and Bluetooth phone kit.

There was nothing more I realistically needed, and certainly nothing worth paying more money per month for. Deal done, I paid my deposit, and just over a week later found myself behind the wheel of my brand new Volkswagen Polo R-Line. Finally, after several months the car buying predicament was over. For another couple of years at least anyway.

Coming up soon: the first 1,000 miles in the R-Line.

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