Friday, June 16, 2017

Volkswagen Shows Off the Sixth Generation Polo - Lots of Variants including the Polo GTI and a Natural Gas Engined Version too

This is it. The all-new Volkswagen Polo has been launched. It replaces the 5th generation version which has been around since 2009. That's a good eight years already and I suppose it is about time. The best thing about this launch is that Volkswagen has decided to launch the GTI variant from the outset too!

Exterior-wise it looks more like a shrunken Golf Mk7 rather than an elongated Polo Mk5. It still looks very VW family similar and there are no surprises on the exterior. It is still the simplistic, slightly austere styling rather than some out worldly design. This approach to design and styling is necessary as the car would need to look contemporary throughout its planned lifespan. By the likes of its predecessor, that would be a good eight years or so before this Polo would be replaced. Cars from European manufacturers these days seem to be well built that they still drive quite well even at the end of their life cycle. But it does look slightly more upmarket than before. This is a very good thing. Call it a feel good factor for owners.

As for improvements, aside from the styling, the new Polo is obviously larger inside. No one seems to have launched a significantly smaller car than the previous model and the Polo continues this trend (in fifty years we may see a Polo as huge as a Phaeton...yes? No?). It is more spacious inside and there is more boot space too.

A lot of options and equipment from the outset. High specced cars get a lot of active safety systems like Blind Spot Detection, Park Assist and even the fully digital Advanced Infomation System (above) like the one used in the Passat. 

The most interesting Polo, the Polo GTI gets 200PS from a 1.8liter turbocharged direct injection engine that we've seen (but not sold in Malaysia) in the facelifted Polo GTI.  Do expect the chassis to actually handle better due to the use of the shortened Volkswagen MQB platform that we've seen in the current Golf. As with each new model, the handling should be tauter than before. The previous one, which I felt was a great characterful engine and drive experience felt like it was working its tyres harder than it should.

No news when this would hit Asian markets but expect that to happen when right-hand drive production comes on line (usually a few months after sales begin for left-hand drive). I do hope they continue bringing in basic models for emerging/third-world/tough climate markets like the fifth generation Polo. In our case, I do wish that they will keep the basic 8 valve 105PS 1.6 that we see here (and in India & Mexico to name some others) and the 6 speed torque convertor model too. 

What we do know is that there are four petrol and two diesel engines in the line-up which most likely is the carry over from the face-lifted range - the 1.2liter 3 cyl with or without a turbocharger, 1.4 TSI turbo petrol, 1.8liter TSI GTI and the 1.6 normally aspirated engine. There is also a 1.0liter TGI natural gas engine for certain markets. No idea about the range of gearboxes aside from the 5 & 6 speed manual gearboxes and the 7 speed DSG. I hope Volkswagen keep the option of the 6 speed torque converter automatic for our market when it comes here.

I am personally looking forward to the launch of this car here in Malaysia. The Polo Mk 5 1.6 has been one of the best driving, affordable B segment hatchback that was sold in Malaysia and I hope this would continue with the Mk 6. With the right specification and equipment, it could be an urban runabout that even this writer and his family would aspire to own.

 Polo Highline with R Line body add ons

 Polo Highline interior
 Polo Beats variant

Volkswagen unveils the new Polo in Berlin

New Polo impresses with clear, charismatic design and provides more room for passengers and luggage
Sixth generation comes with multitude of driver assistance systems
Broad spectrum of versions: in future including Polo GTI and Polo Beats
Available for the first time with a natural gas engine

The new Polo has arrived! Volkswagen is presenting the completely redesigned generation of this best-selling car at a world premiere today in Berlin. With a clear, powerful design, much greater room, more efficient engines and pioneering driver assistance systems, the new Polo is set to continue its story of success. Dr Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management, explains: "The Polo is a young, fresh car. It combines charisma with strong technology. No other car offers so much space for its size. This makes our Polo the number one compact car, and it will remain number one."

With more than 14 million units sold to date, the Polo is one of the world's most successful compact cars. Including all different versions the Polo has even been sold over 16 million times worldwide. The sixth generation has a fully new exterior design, which makes the car – now as a rule with four doors – appear sportier and more grown up. At the same time, the new Polo has been made bigger than its predecessor in every dimension. As a result, it offers more space for driver and passengers, plus significantly increased boot volume, which has gone up from 280 to 351 litres.

In unveiling the new Polo, Volkswagen is presenting one of the world's most advanced compact cars. This is reflected in such advanced features as the multitude of driver assistance systems that were previously reserved for the Golf and Passat class. In addition to the three standard Trendline, Comfortline and Highline trim lines, the special edition Polo Beats (with features including a 300-watt sound system) and the sporty top model, the Polo GTI1 (delivering 147 kW / 200 PS), provide added variety. Even the base version of the new Polo, the Trendline, has standard features such as LED daytime running lights with coming-home and leaving-home functions, a speed limiter and the Front Assist area monitoring system with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring. Prices for the Polo Trendline in Germany start from €12,9751.

One option again on offer is adaptive cruise control ACC (can now be activated up to a speed of 210 km/h). New options available in the Polo are the Blind Spot Detection lane change system with Rear Traffic Alert, the semi-automated Park Assist system for exiting parking spaces and a ‘manoeuvring function'. The latter provides automatic protection from any bumps while parking. The optional Keyless Access locking and engine starting system, which is also new, can be used to unlock and start up the Polo.

In addition, the Polo is the first Volkswagen and first Group model at all in which a new generation of the Active Info Display is available. The functionality and ease of use of the digital instruments are something completely new in this segment. At the same time, the Polo has been given the latest generation of infotainment systems with display diagonals ranging from 6.5 to 8.0 inches – glass-encased devices that are as sophisticated as high-end smartphones, giving the interior a technical, clear look.

A large range of fresh new colours (a total of 14 exterior colours are available) and twelve wheels (14- to 18-inch, some painted in contrasting colour), dashpads in a multitude of décors and eleven different seat covers make the Polo more colourful and more individual. Further personalisation options include full LED headlights, LED tail lights, an Air Care Climatronic system with humidity and sun sensor plus allergen filter, wireless charging for smartphones (optionally including inductive antenna connection), Sport Select running gear with adjustable shock absorbers and one of the biggest panoramic sunroofs in this class.

In many parts of Europe the new Polo is due to launch before the year is out, with a number of Euro 6 engines being used phase by phase. The range of power output options at the start of sales will extend from 48 kW / 65 PS to 110 kW / 150 PS. For the first time, the Polo will be available with a natural gas engine – the newly developed 1.0 TGI with an output of 66 kW / 90 PS. In addition, there will be a choice of four petrol and two diesel engines, all equipped as standard with start/stop system and regenerative braking mode. Every engine with a power output of 70 kW or above can be combined with a dual clutch gearbox (DSG).

The new Polo on film:

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