Chico has lots of life

l 2005 VW Golf Chico 1,4

l 2005 VW Golf Chico 1,4

l R59000

l 25000km

l Remainder of three-year-100000kmfactory warranty

l Service plan up to 85000km

l Full service history

Charl Wilken

The Chico might not be nearly as modern and sophisticated as some of the entry-level vehicles to reach our shores, but it is durable, reliable and offers low-cost maintenance.

Glen VW has a wide variety of Chicos on offer and because they are all low-mileage vehicles and have a service plan, they offer exceptional value for money at less than R60 000.

Power comes from Volkswagen's ever-reliable 1400cc powerplant. The engine is simple in design and still uses carburettors, so running costs and maintenance are quite low.

It pumps out 54kW and 108Nm of torque. These figures don't sound impressive, but they compare well with the Chico's main competitors, such as Toyota's Tazz.

The older design of the Chico's body has its advantages and disadvantages when it comes to performance.

Its chassis and bodywork are far lighter than those of most of its competitors and therefore give it a better power-to-weight ratio. Because of this, the Chico feels alive in and around town, but it needs a full 13 seconds to reach 100kmh.

On the negative side, the older body shell has poor aerodynamics and therefore the little Chico barely reaches a top speed of 160kmh.

Mechanically, the vehicle seemed to be sound and the Chico's engine is basic, so replacement parts are cheap.

The five-speed manual gearbox shifts sweetly.

The Chico gives a comfortable ride on most road surfaces, but the ride quality isn't on an equal footing to that of its modern counterparts.

Overall handling proved to be safe, but a fair amount of body-roll was evident.

Though the Chico does not have power steering, it proved to be surprisingly easy to park and manoeuvre in tight parking spaces.

Discs on the front wheels and drums at the rear provide more than adequate stopping power and the brake pads and the tyres have a lot of mileage to go before they need replacing.

Our used vehicle not only had low mileage, but was very well maintained. It seemed to be as good as new, even down to the tyres.

In late 2004 the Chico received an all-new front dashboard with a completely redesigned instrument cluster.

I must admit that it seemed far more modern than before.

It's just a pity the exterior styling stayed unchanged and therefore looks quite boring.

This Chico also came equipped with a radio-tape player.

The VW Chico is reliable and fuel-efficient. Another big plus is that this Chico's services won't cost you a cent for the next 60000km.

As is to be expected, the Chico is the ideal vehicle for entry-level transportation.

Durability, reliability and economy that have stood the test of time will ensure carefree motoring for a long time.

For more information, call Dirk Swart at the Glen VW on 011-681-9800.