Volkswagen updates the Polo
What's the news?
Here's the first official sight of the updated Volkswagen Polo. It's not an all-new model - it uses the same chassis and underpinnings as the existing car - but it has been given a thorough going over to keep it competitive with the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and Peugeot 208.
Chief amongst the technical changes is a new Post-Collision Braking System, which slams on the anchors if it detects an impact. Sounds a bit like closing the stable door after Dobbin is long since gone, but actually it's designed to reduce the kinetic energy of any secondary collision. The system will be standard across the range and can be optionally beefed up with a fully active Driver Alert system and a City Emergency Braking setup that will hit the brakes before a collision happens.
Top end Polos will get electronically controlled dampers and all models will get a new electric power steering setup that Volkswagen says saves fuel yet offers more precise control for the driver.
Exterior changes are pretty minimal. There's a new grille and lights (with optional full LED lamps), new rear lights, new bumpers and some extra chrome trim.
The interior has been kept largely similar to the outgoing version, but there is a sporty new multi-function steering wheel available as an option, plus the clever touch-screen infotainment system from the Golf, which detects when your finger is getting closer and makes the buttons bigger, as well as reacting to 'swipe' gestures like a smartphone. There are also revised heater controls on the centre console.
It's all change under the bonnet, with four new engines (though Volkswagen Ireland has yet to confirm availability) - two naturally aspirated three-cylinder units and two four-cylinder TSI turbos. The naturally aspirated versions come in 60- or 70hp forms, while if you go for a turbo, you can have 90- or 110hp. The 1.4 TSI petrol with cylinder cut-off is still available but power is now up from 140- to 150hp.
On the diesel front, out go the 1.2- and 1.6-litre units and in come two new 1.4 TDI units with either 75- or 90hp. Interestingly, the diesel-engined Polo BlueMotion will actually be replaced by a new petrol-powered model, which uses a 1.0-litre TSI three-cylinder turbo engine with 90hp. Volkswagen quotes a combined 68.9mpg and 94g/km for that one. Volkswagen says that all of the new Polo engines are compliant with the stringent new EU6 emissions regulations and that, depending on the model, they are up to 21 per cent more efficient than before.
While a range-topping Polo GTI will be launched later in the year, there is a good chance that Volkswagen will also launch a rip-snorting 250hp, four-wheel drive Polo R to celebrate its recent dominance of the World Rally Championship. Prototypes already exist and German magazine Auto Bild has reportedly seen a 0-100km/h sprint time of less than 6.0 seconds. The car would share much of its mechanical package with the hot Audi S1, which is due to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.