Driven - Feb 2021

Do you have Mswenko?

VW SA adds some local flavour to their Vivo line-up.

I had a friend back in high school who owned a 2007 Audi A4 Cabriolet. In our matric year, he was voted as Head-Boy and exercised his many privileges by leaving class slightly early at the end of the day so he could park it in front of the school. He’d then roll the top down and blast some jams. I know what you’re thinking, but I promise it gets worse. He even got a personalised number plate that read SWAG GP. This was back in 2012, and suffice to say after much ridicule from all of us, he decided to remove it. I sense this was done in slight shame as has very few photos of the car with the number plate on. After much trolling through his social media, I was at least able to find one photo with the plate one.

Fast forward to 2021 and the ‘swag’ name reappears but this time in isiZulu and on the side of Volkswagen’s locally-produced Polo Vivo. So surely you’d think the new Polo Vivo Mswenko should be subject to an equal banter-filled tongue lashing? Well, not really. The connotations of the word Mswenko might limit the scope of appeal to a younger, more exuberant crowd who probably used #Mswenko in their tweets way before others even realised that Twitter even existed. But it is a limited edition model and should certainly appeal to that market quite well.

Volkswagen South Africa have taken advantage of their local production to create a distinctively South African model that can be tailored to appeal to current trends and even has the ability to create them. It’s a fantastic concept that can speak to our specific market in a way that the anodyne corporate approach just can’t. Volkswagen are known as the peoples car after all and it’s models like this that reinforce that.

Admittedly, I am on the fence about the name Mswenko – it will appeal to younger market, like I said, but I can’t imagine your husband/wife or children will be entirely happy if you drove around in a car that paraded your allure and swagger to all. But in saying that, I am woefully out of touch with the latest celebs and trends, so my opinion on this can be taken with a pinch of salt. It’s an acknowledgement and celebration of our local diversity, so hopefully we will see more models like this not just from Volkswagen, but from other manufacturers who build their vehicles locally.

The Mswenko is based on the Polo Vivo Comfortline variant and in addition to what that models offers as standard, you get decals on the side of the door with Mswenko lettering, 16-inch alloy wheels, a black roof, privacy glass and mirror covers that can be had in two different shades. There are four exterior colours to choose from: Pure White, Reflex Silver, Limestone Grey, and Reef Blue. The bright Ocean Blue seats contrast well against a rather monochrome interior with its various shades of grey. Silver dashboard inlays also spice things up, while other stand out features include a leather steering wheel and gear level, App Connect and 6 speakers. Pricing for the Polo Vivo 1.4 Mswenko comes in at R246 900 which includes a 3 year/120 000km warranty and a 6 year anti-corrosion warranty.

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