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WOLFSBURG, Germany – A completely new version of what its maker describes as “one of the world’s most successful compact cars” is about to hit the global market… a seriously upgraded Polo that looks much like its bigger brother, the Golf.
The cabin design and equipment are said to be entirely new, as are the extra passenger space and the driver’s slot (brought thoroughly into the digital world) and the use of efficient TSI (petrol), TGI (natural gas) and TDI (diesel) engines.
Perhaps more important for some parental buyers, The Corner believes, will be the cars’ array of driving assistance systems previously more common only in larger and more expensive Volkswagens (and other brands).
The cars are expected in South Africa in early 2018 though the models for sale here are yet to be decided.
Herbert Diess, chairman of the VW management board, told The Corner in a media release: “The Polo is a young and fresh car which combines charisma and strong technology. No other car offers so much space for its size and that makes our Polo the No.1 compact.”
LARGER THAN EARLIER MODELS
Another VW executive at the launch in Europe, VW board member for development Frank Welsch, added:
“The new Polo brings the future to the compact class. A whole lot of space, sustainable engines such as a new natural gas TGI, the world premiere of an active info display, the latest infotainment systems and forward-thinking assistance systems – each a quality to enable the Polo to overcome traditional class boundaries.”
The new Polo is larger than its predecessor in all dimensions, its maker says, which has created extra cabin space and a larger boot – up from 280 to 351 litres. The 2017 Polo, at 4.053m, is slightly shorter than the fourth-generation Golf made until 2003, but has a wheelbase longer by 53mm – and that translates into a longer cabin.
Klaus Bischoff, VW head of design, expanded on this: “All Polos should be made more sporty, more powerful, fresher, more masculine, more charismatic. This Volkswagen can immediately be made out as the original of its class, but also as a completely new generation.
“This Polo – now a four-door only – is sportier, cleaner and unique within the brand range… a perfect fit for our times, visually and technologically.”
The new Polo has five equipment versions and three packages. Three will be familiar: Trendline, Comfortline, Highline. The Beats special edition has an audio system configured for contemporary sound… and then there’s the Polo GTI which will be available immediately instead of as a later amendment.
The packages are R-Line, Black, Style. Each, VW says, “has a lot to offer”.
The R-Line is more dynamic with 16” Sebring alloy wheel rims, a big and sporty front bumper, a rear diffuser with chromed trim, a roof spoiler, wraparound black sill trim, and cabin upgrades.
The Trendline, the entry Polo, is nevertheless described as well-equipped with diode daytime running lights, speed limiter and emergency braking with a pedestrian monitor. Power goes to the road through 14” wheels.
The Comfortline adds a Composition Colour infotainment system, aircon, driver ‘wake up’ system, centre armrest, front knitted velvet seat covers, power rear windows and a multi-function steering wheel. It rides on a 15” rim/tyres combination.
The Highline adds parking radar, white diode background lighting (front doors and instrument panel), multifunction steering-wheel and leather-trimmed gear shifter and brake lever (‘small leather package’) and 15”alloy wheel rims.
The Beats is a new edition of a successful model intended for younger customers. It has a 300W sound system by US headphone producer Beats (Dr Dre) as well as a number of other features – among them 16” alloy wheel rims, black exterior-mirror housings, decals on the bonnet and roof and ‘Beats’ badging on the B-pillars.
The cabin is customised with a red facia, sport seats with unique covers and ‘Beats’ logo, the ‘small leather package’ and special sill panel. The sound system can be ordered as an option in other models.
The GTI. This top model has a two-litre TSI engine capable of 147kW (previous: 1.8 TSI could muster only 141kW). The car rides on a sport chassis and can be identified by its unique bumper and foul-weather lights.
Typical GTI insignia include a red stripe on the radiator grille, honeycomb air vent screens, and of course a GTI badge. Diode headlights are an option. At the rear are a large, gloss-black, roof spoiler, a diffuser, GTI-specific dual tailpipes, diode tail lights and another GTI badge.
Standard are 17” alloy wheel rims (18” optional), sill extensions and red brake calipers.
14 BODY COLOURS, 12 WHEEL-RIM STYLES
The cabin has sport seats with the familiar ‘Clark’ tartan upholstery, a multifunction leather-trimmed sport steering wheel with red stitching, black roof lining and pillars, a GTI gear shifter grip and, finally, ambient lighting.
Across the Polo range are 14 exterior colours and a choice of 12 wheel-rim styles in sizes 14-18”, two interior trim versions, and 11 seat covers.
The overall Polo range will have a choice of nine Euro6-compliant engines (in most countries) capable, variously, of 48 to 110kW. Among them will be a one-litre, 66kW, TGI burning natural gas. The rest will be conventional or turbo petrol or diesels.