The new Polo features a more dynamic-looking exterior that, VW officials suggest, will help broaden its sales appeal. Redesigned headlights, a more heavily sloping roofline and a more structured rear-end design were among the elements evident in recent sightings of a clay model of the new Polo at Volkswagen’s design base in Germany.
The new Polo eschews the old PQ25 platform of today’s model for an all-new MQB-based structure developed for the Volkswagen Group’s so-called AO segment models, which include the new Seat Ibiza and next-generation Skoda Fabia. Reflecting the changes to the recently unveiled new Ibiza, the upcoming Polo is notably longer and wider than before.
The bigger dimensions are allied to a longer wheelbase and wider tracks, which also mean increased interior space and a significantly larger boot than the outgoing model’s.
As today, the new Polo will be offered as both three and five-door body styles.
It’s not yet clear whether VW will offer a CrossPolo variant with increased ride height and additional cladding to give it a quasi off-roader look.
The CrossPolo may be ditched because of the new production version of the T-Cross Breeze SUV, which shares its platform with the new Polo and will offer the choice of either front or four-wheel drive.
The latest Polo has gained an all-new cabin. VW hopes it will trump rivals on perceived interior quality, with a soft dashboard fascia and new trim elements, as well as controls and front seats sourced from the recently facelifted Golf.
There will also be options recently introduced to larger models. These include a digital instrument display, a new generation of touchscreen infotainment systems, the latest Park Pilot automatic parking and keyless entry.
The engine line-up will be consolidated in line with cost-cutting initiatives instigated by VW boss Herbert Diess.
An insider told us: “Today’s model has 14 different drivetrain alternatives. This will be reduced. You’ll see more modern and economical engines in the future.”
Entry-level versions of the new Polo will use a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine in 64bhp, 74bhp, 94bhp and 113bhp guises. Meanwhile, the turbo 1.2-litre petrol unit is likely to be dropped. VW’s three-cylinder petrol engine is again set to power a frugal BlueMotion version.
The turbo 1.4-litre four- cylinder petrol engine used in today’s Polo will be replaced by the turbo 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol unit recently launched in the facelifted Golf.
As in its larger sibling, it has cylinder shutdown technology and it is expected to be offered in 128bhp and 148bhp guises. The higher-powered version will propel the replacement for today’s Polo Blue GT.
Topping the range will be a successor to the Polo GTI. Rumours suggest it will use a turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol unit with upwards of 200bhp. Plans for an even more powerful Polo R have been cancelled.
Although VW eventually intends to replace its small diesel engines with petrol- electric drivetrains, the new Polo will continue to offer diesel units. Replacing the 1.4-litre three-cylinder diesel of today’s model is an updated version of VW’s controversial 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, likely in 79bhp, 94bhp and, possibly,108bhp guises.
Unlike with the larger Golf, VW has no immediate plans to provide its new supermini with a pure-electric or extended- range petrol-electric hybrid. However, the new Polo will be sold with a short-range petrol- electric mild-hybrid drivetrain.
Also planned is a natural- gas-fuelled version of the turbo 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, developing 95bhp in a new Polo TGI in selected markets.
A five-speed manual gearbox will be available on lower-powered engines, with a six-speed manual on powerful units. A seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox will be an option.
Although the MQB platform supports four-wheel drive, its introduction on the Polo is not a given according to VW officials, who point to a low take-up rate on the Golf.