When we say the 'new' Volkswagen Polo will arrive early next year, what we mean is that this VW Polo will arrive early next year. As in, basically, the current Polo but with some small styling tweaks and some new equipment and options.
New LED lights
Really, there's not a lot of newness here. At the front, there's now a more distinct grille, new lights (standard LEDs across the range) and a light bar running between the two front headlight units. Those headlights have also been slightly subtly reshaped to give the Polo more of a Golf-y appearance, which Volkswagen says is a little more 'masculine.'
Around the back, there are new brake lights - two-piece items to make the rear of the car appear wider, and they're LED units too. There's also a small kink in the rear pillar design which, according to VW's head of design, Marco Pavone, is a visual link to the original 1975 Polo Mk1 (or VW Type 86 for those of you with Wolfsburg anoraks).
Inside, there's a choice of new optional digital instrument panels (in either eight- or ten-inch widths) and a new central infotainment screen, which can be optionally upgraded to a full 9.2 inches across the diagonal. There's a new touch-sensitive climate control panel (air conditioning is now standard across the range), too, but thankfully it's the simpler and easier-to-use one from the recently-revised Tiguan, not the fiddly little sliders from the Golf.
The infotainment screen gets the latest MIB.3 operating software, has wireless Apple CarPlay connectivity, and lots of other online options, via VW's App-Connect service, including info on local fuel prices, parking availability and more.
The Polo has long been touted as a very safe car, and in that respect Volkswagen is pushing the boat out. It's going to stuff the Polo with new advanced driver aids, as part of the Travel Assist package. That will include a pedestrian-and-cyclist monitoring camera, with emergency brake activation, lane-keeping steering, a blind-spot monitor and a new central airbag, which inflates between the front seats, to ensure higher occupant safety in a side impact.
When the new Polo arrives here in Ireland in early 2022, it will come badged simply as 'Polo' for the basic model, with upgrades available to Life, Style and R-Line versions. Air conditioning, front electric windows, body colour mirrors and door handles, electric and heated side mirrors and a multi-function steering wheel will all be on the standard equipment list. Style versions will come with high-tech IQ.Light Matrix LED headlights.
On the engine front, there's nothing new - the range will be primarily made up of the same 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine as before, in 89hp, 95hp and 110hp forms. Volkswagen did allude, at the launch event, to the possibility of hybrid or mild-hybrid versions further down the line, and there will definitely be a new Polo GTI with 206hp.
According to Volkswagen Ireland, prices will start at less than €20,000 when the new Polo goes on sale.