Volkswagen pulled the wraps off their 6th-generation Polo at an event held at their Wolfsburg headquarters, where the new car was - as expected - revealed to be a larger, posher, and slightly more aggressive take on the semi-entry level VW.
Just like what Ford had done with their Fiesta MK7, the size gap between the Polo and the Golf is now thinner than it’s ever been, and the argument that both marques are now positioning their smaller hatches as alternatives rather than step-down models is gaining credence.
Aside from that, the new Polo has been thoroughly reworked over the version it replaces. It features a five-door only body style, uses the same MQB (AO) underpinnings as the larger Golf, has some new powertrain combinations, and generally a much higher level of technical sophistication. Of course, it will also set the template for forthcoming equivalent cars under the VW Group umbrella such as the Seat Ibiza and, importantly for us, the Skoda Fabia.
The new Polo now has 94mm more distance between the axles than the outgoing model, with the wheels pushed closer to the corners of the vehicle, and a wider stance to add to its roominess and more assertive stance. That said, it isn’t all that significantly longer overall than the MK5 Polo but the extra dimensions contribute to added leg and shoulder room for rear passengers and an impressive 351-litres in boot capacity, a 71-litre ballooning.
On its exterior alone, echoes of the Golf ring loudly, as does the more angular contour lines that run across the body. One slightly odd expression of this is the LED daytime running light ring that envelopes the projector headlights; they’re not straight but rather boast a little kink on the bottom half. However, it doesn’t detract from the fact that it looks like a much more accomplished design over the uninspiring base look of its predecessor.
The range of 2017 Polos isn’t fully fleshed out at the time of writing, though it shouldn’t stray far from the spread we have in showrooms today. In addition to the usual Trendline, Comfortline, and Highline grades, Volkswagen will be adding a fourth tier: R-Line, bringing more features and a sportier flair to proceedings but with performance short of the range-topping GTI. Oh yes, and there’s also another iteration of the Beats Edition.
A lot of debate has surrounded the new Polo GTI’s guts and now we can confirm that the rumours were true. In a rare case of engine upsizing, under its bonnet lives a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder motor, essentially a more modern EA888 unit taken from the MK5 Golf GTI with the same 147kW and (presumably) 280Nm - the previous car used a 1.8-litre turbo-four similar to the Passat’s. Meanwhile, other engine highlights of the all-new Polo include a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder and a 1.5-litre four-cylinder from the MK7.5 Golf.
In addition, the new Polo GTI will receive unique bumpers, new grille, red headlamp highlights, larger 17-inch alloys, dual exhaust tips, and a subtle roof spoiler. Inside, the fast version receives lots of red stitching, a flat-bottomed steering wheel, and plaid cloth seats (a nod to previous GTI cars). Honestly, it doesn’t have to lay the sporty motif on too thick as even the new base Polo cabin has been given a tasteful, modern, upmarket, even sporty feel.
It’s now more driver-focused with switchgear angled or elevated to better cocoon the individual behind the wheel. The Active Info Display digital instrument cluster, usually reserved for higher-end models, can also be specified, but nonetheless should come with improved infotainment, active safety, and connectivity features even in base form.