Volkswagen has unveiled the all-new, sixth generation Polo hatchback for international markets. With this update, the Polo becomes bigger on the inside, gets segment-first features, becomes more efficient and more environmentally friendly than before.
The most obvious highlight here is the new exterior dimensions and design. In comparison to the model it replaces, the new Volkswagen Polo is 81mm longer, 69mm wider and 7mm lower (in terms of absolute height). While these numbers do not suggest a big jump in overall size on the outside, Volkswagen claims that the new Polo is much more spacious than any car in its segment. The 94mm increase in wheelbase has resulted in better cabin space as well as increased boot space. The new Polo has a 351-litre boot, which is an increase of 25 per cent than before!
Volkswagen calls the new Polo’s design charismatic, progressive, contemporary and friendly. While these words are not very helpful while describing the design, it is easy to see in the pictures that the new Polo looks new but familiar at the same time. Highlights on the outside include a new headlight design with LED DRLs offered as standard across the range, single-slat grille, wide air-dam, heavily sculpted body, 14- to 18-inch wheels and new LED tail lamps.
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A total of 14 paint options and 12 wheel options are available for the new Polo, the high level of personalisation options is offered in many developed markets internationally even for cars like the Polo. Optional equipment offered include full-LED headlamps, wireless smartphone charging, a panoramic sunroof and Sport Select chassis upgrade which includes active damping.
On the inside, the Polo now features a dashboard which is designed to make the cabin feel bigger with its horizontally placed elements. A cockpit-like feeling is achieved by using swathes which extend from each front door to the other. The highlight here is the painted metallic insert on the dashboard which is available in 13 different colours, most of which can be matched with the exterior paint colour.
The talking point, though, is the new digital interface that the Polo gets. The Polo is the first car in the Volkswagen range to get a new generation of the company’s Active Info Display; an all-digital instrument cluster with customisable display screens. Also, depending on the variant, the Polo gets infotainment screens in sizes ranging from 6.5-inches to 8.0-inches. The infotainment system has been moved up in the dashboard so that it lines up with the digital instrument cluster. Why? So that you can drag certain functions from the infotainment screen onto the instrument cluster display! Remember scenes from Minority Report? We are getting there!
The Volkswagen Polo will be launched in most European markets in 2017, with base prices starting at 12,975 Euros (approximately Rs 9.37 lakh) in Germany. The familiar three trim levels – Comfortline, Trendline and Highline – will be offered, along with special packages such the R-Line, Black, Style and a Beats special edition. The R-Line, Black and Style packages add unique styling bits to the car while the ‘Beats’ edition gets a Beat Audio branded 300kw surround sound system and other visual upgrades.
And then there is, of course, the new Volkswagen Polo GTI. Apart from the visual upgrades over the standard car (special bumper with spoiler lip, GTI badge and red stripe on the grille, rear diffuser, rear spoiler, dual exhausts, 17/18-inch wheels, sports seats with contrast stitching etc.), the Polo GTI gets a power upgrade and an optional chassis upgrade.
The 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol motor now develops 200PS of maximum power with power sent through a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG to the front wheels. The standard sports suspension setup can be upgraded to ‘Sport Select’ spec which features adaptive dampers. The Volkswagen GTI sold in India features a 1.8-litre TSI motor developing 192PS/250Nm with a claimed 0-100kmph time of 7.2 seconds.
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Apart from the explosively powerful GTI, the Polo can be had with eight other engines which are all Euro-6 emission norm compliant. The newest engine in the range is a CNG-powered 1.0-litre ‘TGI’ unit which develops 90PS and is paired exclusively to a 5-speed manual transmission.
Petrol motors include a 1.0-litre MPI motor in two trims (65PS/75PS), a 1.0-litre TSI motor in two trims (95PS/115PS) and a 1.5-litre TSI developing 150PS. The 1.5-litre TSI motor gets cylinder-deactivation technology for improved efficiency. A 1.6-litre TDI diesel motor is also on offer in two power trims, developing either 80PS or 95PS of maximum power. All engines get a start-stop system and regenerative braking as standard.
While the 2017 Volkswagen Polo is indeed exciting, we in India may not get it at all. The new Polo we see here is based on an all-new MQB A0 modular platform which may be too expensive to be assembled in India. Volkswagen is currently collaborating with Tata Motors to develop India-specific products and the next-gen Polo may be part of that project. Expect the India-bound Polo to borrow design and equipment from the international model though.