The all-new Volkswagen Polo has been revealed in Berlin boasting crisp new styling, availability of equipment normally found in posh Audis, much more interior space and a promise from management “it will remain number one”.
All set to go head-to-head with Ford’s new Fiesta, which we’ll be driving in a few weeks, the new sixth generation Polo will build upon 14 million sales of its predecessors primarily by furthering its status as the supermini sector’s classiest small car.
It will offer the digital instrument display first seen in the Audi TT, class-leading active safety tech including autonomous emergency braking, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, even a range of smartphone apps.
Excitingly, there’s even going to be a Polo GTI available from launch – with, no less, a 2.0-litre turbo engine producing 200hp!
Viva la evolution
Of course, you’re thinking, it looks familiar. Naturally: it’s a Volkswagen, and Volkswagen does evolutionary styling, not revolutionary. Even so, the new Polo does actually look like a new car, with tight body creases, a broader stance and modern VW design cues such as the headlights and chiselled body sides.
Inside is where the big news is. The current Polo’s interior is humdrum. This all-new one is a huge step on, with a modern look that’s designed around a high-set central touchscreen that brings Volkswagen’s latest widescreen glass-front systems into its best-selling supermini. Small car buyers are in for a treat here.
Even better, the same Virtual Cockpit digital instrument display first seen in teh Audi TT is now offered on the Polo – and it looks just as fantastic here. This is the first time a supermini has offered such a comprehensive instrument display and, although it won’t be cheap, it’s set to be a highly desirable option.
The introduction of more colour, thanks to configurable contrast colour strips is also a welcome new Polo feature. Indeed, to complement a choice of 14 exterior colours, you can pick from fully 13 different dashpad designs.
The biggest Polo ever
Size-wise, this is the biggest Polo ever. It’s 4,053mm long, making it one of the few superminis over the four-metre mark. The wheelbase is a yawning 94mm longer, which is great news for interior space, and also probably for ride quality as well. A measure of just how much it’s grown is boot space: 351 litres is 25 percent larger than the outgoing car.
It’s based on Volkswagen’s newest platform called MQB: a version of this is also used by the Golf, and a diverse selection of other cars such as the Audi TT. It offers a choice of eight engines: six petrol – that’s 1.0 MPI 65hp or 75hp, 1.0 TSI 95hp or 115hp, 1.5 TSI 150, 2.0 TSI 200 – and a 1.6 TDI diesel with either 80hp or 95hp.
Volkswagen isn’t saying much about the exciting new GTI at this stage, other than that it will have a standard sport chassis and optional ‘Sport Select’ setup, 17-inch or 18-inch alloys, GTI styling cues and, of course, ‘Clark’ tartan seats inside. As Ford downsizes the Fiesta ST to a three-cylinder 1.5-litre turbo, the decision to drop the Golf GTI 2.0-litre turbo into the Polo GTI is more than a little exciting.
The new Volkswagen Polo goes on sale later in 2017, with prices yet to be confirmed, but almost certainly not straying too far from the £12,600 entry-level price of today’s model.
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- Volkswagen Up GTI revealed at Worthersee