What's the news?
Volkswagen has taken the wraps off a brand new Polo supermini, the sixth generation of the nameplate. While still identifiable as a Polo, the new five-door hatchback is an all-new design that is larger than before. The Polo will adopt much of the updated Golf's infotainment and safety technology and as before be offered in a range of flavours. Volkswagen Ireland expects the first examples on the ground here by November 2017, following a public world debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with sales focus on the '181' registration period in January 2018.
The level of customisation for the Polo is being ramped up, so expect lots of styling packs on the options list such as R-Line, Black and Style. Aside from that there are 14 paint colours to choose from and 12 different wheel designs measuring 14- to 18 inches in diameter. In every dimension other than height (where the new Polo is 7mm lower than the old) the new Volkswagen Polo is larger than the outgoing car. The new one should be much more spacious inside thanks to a 94mm increase in wheelbase and a 69mm width increase. All models get LED daytime running lights up front, with the option of LED headlights and tail lights.
Despite the reduced overall height of the car, Volkswagen says there's actually more headroom front and rear. On top of all that, the boot space grows from 280 litres to a much more useful 351 litres. But it's the interior design and technology that will grab attention in the showrooms, as the new car is highly customisable. The Polo is actually the first car in the whole Volkswagen Group to get a new generation of the Active Info Display digitally rendered dashboard. Complementing that is a range of glass-covered touchscreens measuring up to 8.0 inches. Volkswagen says there are 13 different styles of dashpad, two core interior colour themes and 11 different seat covers.
Irish sales of the Polo are likely to continue to be dominated by 1.0-litre petrol engines, ranging from the 65- and 75hp naturally aspirated MPI options to the feistier turbocharged TSI units available in 95- and 115hp states of tune. The new 1.5-litre TSI engine from the Golf will also be employed, producing 150hp and using cylinder deactivation technology to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The 80- and 90hp 1.6-litre TDI diesels will be offered here, even though it's a sector dominated by petrol power, and they'll come on stream in February 2018. Entry-level engines come with a five-speed manual gearbox, while the more powerful models gain a six-speed transmission. Any Polo with 95hp or more can be specified with the company's seven-speed, dual-clutch DSG automatic. All cars are front-wheel drive.
Volkswagen Ireland has confirmed that, unlike its predecessor, there will be a GTI variant of the new Polo offered here - and it looks every inch the wannabe Golf GTI. Under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine producing 200hp, though no performance figures have been released as yet. It'll ride on 17-inch alloys as standard, with the option to upgrade to 18s. LED headlights with red highlights will also be on the options list, as will Sport Select, a new adjustable damping chassis system. The Polo GTI hits Ireland in March 2018.