Steering Column 14.08.09

Minty Polo

Anyone who fancies a new Volkswagen Polo can order one up now. The first ones will be delivered in the middle of October. VW says it is stronger, safer, more efficient, more refined and more comfortable than ever before.

It’s the first time I recall seeing a Polo that’s actually quite an aggressive looking beast across the front end. The little hatchback in the past has had a chirpy, quirky look about it, but this one looks a bit more growly.

Prices have been announced and the car starts at £10,035 for the S 1.2-litre 60PS five-door version. Three-door versions will hit the showrooms in December. The most expensive from launch will be the SEL model with a 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine turning out 90PS. It will cost £14,910.

This is the fifth generation Polo and the makers say it is the biggest and most technically advanced yet. Despite that it’s actually lighter than the outgoing model so it’s more fuel efficient and cleaner.

There will be five engines available from launch, three of them petrol and two diesel. Four basic levels of equipment will be available too, though a performance GTI model and an ultra clean and efficient BlueMotion version will arrive early next year.

Sorento goes sexy

Kia’s big four-wheel-drive has undergone an almost miraculous image make-over with the arrival of the latest version. The award-winning off-roader now looks utterly gorgeous if the first pictures are to be believed.

It will be unveiled next month at the Frankfurt International Motor Show and the images show it with an almost Mitsubishi-like scowl across the front with a gaping grille flanked by narrow, angular headlamps. Kia tells us it is longer and lower than the current model, but the looks alone make it stand out in a crowd.

When it goes up for sale in Europe it will be available with a variety of engines and specification levels, details of which will be revealed next month. However, the company expects the new 2.2-litre diesel engine to be the top seller here. It turns out 197PS in power and 421Nm of torque, fed through either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox.

The old Sorento was a good mud-plugger so I’m a little saddened to see the new version is more biased towards on-road driving. Kia says it will have some brochure-headlining high-tech features like keyless entry, push-button engine start, a panoramic sunroof and a reversing camera built into the rear view mirror.

Truth is I liked the old Sorento from the first time I drove the first version so I’m looking forward to learning more about, and even driving the new model.

cee’d follows suit

Kia’s popular hatchback, the cee’d, is also getting a makeover that will be unveiled in Frankfurt. Mostly the changes are made up of a series of “exterior and interior design refinements, upgraded standard equipment and technical innovations”. It also gets its suspension completely revised.

When the new-look car goes on sale in October, it will also be available with an environmentally friendly ECO-dynamics model with an engine that automatically cuts out when the car is stopped, say, at traffic lights.

I’m still to be as convinced about the styling changes on the cee’d as I am about the changes to the Sorento, but I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve seen it in the metal.

Mike Grundon


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