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18 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

First drive: all-new 2017 Volkswagen Polo

With an all-new platform, the sixth-generation Polo marks the biggest change for the model since the switch from the second to third-generation car twenty-three years ago. The largest and most technologically advanced Polo ever, Rich Gooding finds that the car’s traditional strengths haven’t been forgotten

2017 Volkswagen Polo

Over 14 million Polos have been sold over the past 42 years, so the sixth-generation model is big news for Volkswagen. The second biggest-selling VW in the UK, the fifth-generation car has remained popular throughout its eight-year life with a staggering 4.2 million examples sold. The new model has a very tough act to follow, but with a state-of-the-art chassis, a raft of technical changes, and armed with a vibrant and contemporary colour palette, the latest version of VW’s small car has been equipped with some of the best tools for the job.

Longest and largest Polo yet
First things first. The latest SEAT Ibiza may have debuted it, but the sixth-generation Polo finally gets the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Transverse Matrix (‘MQB’) platform in its smallest ‘A0’ size. That means an increase in wheelbase by 94mm (now 2,564mm), while at just over four metres, the newest Polo is the longest and largest yet.

The new Polo has a very tough act to follow, but with a state-of-the-art chassis, a raft of technical changes, and armed with a vibrant and contemporary colour palette, the latest small Volkswagen has been equipped with the best tools for the job

Width is up by 69mm to 1,751mm, while wider 1,525m front and 1,505mm rear tracks give the new car a four-square stance. Arguably the most impressive figure is the increase in luggage space: now 351 litres, an amazing 25 per cent (70 litres) larger than before, and only 29 litres down on big brother Golf. Indeed, much has been made of the fact that the latest Polo is a big as the fourth-generation version of VW’s biggest-selling model.

The MQB platform brings many benefits – not least the technology, which we’ll come on to later – including an improved silhouette and a more dynamic look. In our eyes, there was little wrong with the neat looks of the outgoing car, and although the new model follows the well-trodden ‘evolution not revolution’ path, it does manage to look both refreshed and rejuvenated, as well as more youthful, which reflects Volkswagen’s new focus on style and technology to lure in younger buyers.

2017 Volkswagen Polo

Confident stance
We were fans of the broad ‘shoulders’ of the fifth-generation Polo, and on the new car they are even more defined. That’s thanks in part to Volkswagen’s new ‘Tornado’ line which starts on the front wing and extends the whole length of the car, finishing at the new tail lights. In profile, the new Polo’s overall look is similar to what went before, but shorter overhangs give the car a confident and more dynamic stance. It’s up front where perhaps the biggest changes occur.

The bonnet is more curved than on the fifth-generation Polo, and the four creases extend down to the bonnet ‘brow’, a body-coloured ‘extension’ which sits in-between the headlights spanning the front grille. We’re not quite sold on this feature yet, but like the way the chrome strip (red on the GTI) extends into the headlights. When optioned, this becomes the LED headlamp, also doubling as the turn signal – very clever and a high-class, ‘big car’ touch. At the rear, the tail lights are similar to before in overall shape, but sharper graphics ensure they are more distinctive under the cover of darkness.

Second generation of Active Info Display
Thanks to the MQB underpinnings, there are more ‘big car’ features, too. A whole suite of safety systems, including Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection and Front Assist monitoring systems. The new Polo also debuts the second generation of Volkswagen’s ‘Active Info Display’ colour digital instrument panel.

The 10.5-inch high-resolution 133dpi/1,280 x 480-pixel display really does look stunning and adds a luxurious touch to what is – despite the well-documented dimension increases – let’s not forget, still a small car. It can be configured in various views to prioritise driving information, navigation or assistance functions. Infotainment system data can also be displayed, and, although it’s not standard kit on lower-rung cars, it’s only a £325-£475 option on selected models. It’s a proper ‘big car’ option and a small car segment first.

2017 Volkswagen Polo Beats

Also impressive is the range of full-colour infotainment touchscreen systems which are arranged in the same horizontal sight line as the instrument panel. This sounds a very minor change, however, by grouping all the displays in a horizontal axis rather than a vertical one, it means the driver needs less time to view the required information.

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05 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen Polo remains in UK’s ten most popular cars chart

2016 Volkswagen Polo

Continuing its success story, the Volkswagen Polo remains one of the most popular cars in the UK according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). During September 2017, it was in sixth place in the UK top 10, with a tally of 8,189 Polos registered. A total of 40,455 examples of Volkswagen’s small car have found new homes in 2017 to date. It’s even more impressive given that these figures refer to the outgoing fifth-generation model, the sixth-generation car has just gone on sale with first deliveries expected in January 2018.

With 426,170 units registered, the September 2017 UK new passenger car market dropped by 9.3 per cent, the sixth consecutive monthly decline. It’s also the first time the traditional new registration month of September has fallen in six years. The UK’s top 10 most popular cars during September 2017 and the year-to-date (sales figure and position in brackets) were as follows:

1 Nissan Qashqai: 13,499 (53,197, 4th)

2 Volkswagen Golf: 12,800 (57,018, 3rd)
3 Ford Fiesta: 10,826 (75,814, 1st)
4 Ford Focus: 10,235 (57,526, 2nd)
5 Vauxhall Corsa: 8,562 (46,600, 5th)
6 Volkswagen Polo: 8,189 (40,455, 7th)
7 Mini: 8,137 (36,784, 9th)
8 Nissan Juke: 7,757
9 Mercedes-Benz A Class: 7,672 (34,547, 10th)
10 Mercedes-Benz C Class: 7,584 (39,055, 8th)

(The 2017 year-to-date top 10 most popular car absent from September 2017’s registration figures was the sixth-placed Vauxhall Astra with 41,250 registrations recorded.)

Elsewhere last month, the Polo held onto its second most popular car status in South Africa with 2,324 examples registered. Once again the entry-level Polo Vivo claimed the number one spot, with 2,942 cars finding new homes. Based on the revised fourth-generation Polo sold in Europe from 2005 to 2009, the Vivo has dominated the South African new car sales charts since it was introduced in 2009, when it took over from the fondly remembered Citi Golf as Volkswagen South Africa’s lowest-priced model.

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03 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

UK order books open and prices released for all-new Volkswagen Polo

2017 Volkswagen Polo Beats

Volkswagen UK has opened the order books for its all-new Polo today, and has also released the first round of pricing. The sixth-generation car will be available from £13,855 OTR, and the range will expand to feature a seven-model range, including the 197bhp GTI and an enhanced-specification GTI+ trim.

We’ve covered the main technological developments of the new car here, but with more passenger space thanks to being based on VW’s ‘MQB’ platform, a new range of engines, a sharper design, as well as myriad safety and enhanced infotainment systems, the latest Polo is a thoroughly modern update of Volkswagen’s perennially popular small car. How popular? Over 1.4 million Polos have found UK homes since the first-generation Polo arrived in 1975.

1975 to 2017 Volkswagen Polos

Segment firsts
Always a standard-setter, segment firsts this time around include the debut of digital instruments in a compact car, as well as a new level of assistance systems in the small car sector. These include Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection, City Emergency Braking, and Pedestrian Monitoring technologies. In a move which does away with the 6.5-inch units available in other markets, there are also eight-inch glass-encased colour infotainment systems standard across the whole of the UK new Polo range.

The £13,855 1.0-litre S with 64bhp kicks off the UK range, the trims running S, SE, Beats, SEL, R-Line, GTI, and GTI+. The only prices released so far are those pertaining to the 1.0-litre MPI and TSI models, though we do know that the 1.5-litre ‘EVO’ engine with 147bhp and active cylinder management – which shuts down two cylinders under light load for increased efficiency and reduced emissions – will only be available in higher-specification R-Line trim. The lowest-priced diesel will be the SE 1.6-litre TDI with 79bhp, and both it and the more powerful 94bhp version have SCR catalytic converters.

2017 Volkswagen Polo R-Line, GTI and Beats

Manual or DSG
The range-topping GTI and GTI+ models are powered by a 2.0-litre TSI engine producing 197bhp, which comes from the ‘EA888’ engine series, higher output version of which also make an appearance in the Golf GTI, Golf GTI Performance and Golf R. All new Polos have a stop-start system and regenerative braking, while cars with an output of 94bhp upwards can be ordered with a six or seven-speed DSG gearbox as an option to the five or six-speed manual gearbox which comes as standard.

Standard on both the GTI and GTI+, but a £115 option on other models, the Driving Profile Selection allows the choice of one of four programmes – ‘Eco’, ‘Sport’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Individual’ – which tailor the Polo’s character to the driver’s precise need and mood. In the ‘Eco’ driving mode, engine control, air conditioning and other auxiliary systems are regulated for optimal fuel efficiency. In DSG-equipped Polos, a coasting function can be used in the ‘Eco’ mode, while in ‘Sport’ mode, engine response and shift points of the DSG are configured to be more dynamic and, where fitted, tuning of the adjustable dampers is modified.

2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI

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29 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

European advertising campaign for the new Volkswagen Polo begins

2017 New Volkswagen Polo advertising campaign

With the first press drives complete and the car now in showrooms, the European advertising campaign for the new Volkswagen Polo was launched today. The primary focus will be on the sixth-generation car’s safety assistance and convenience systems, with the first press advertisement proclaiming ‘Your back-up when backing-up’, and promoting the Park Pilot and Park Assist functions.

‘Emotional, authentic and humourous’
‘As one of the world’s most advanced small cars, the new Polo calls the tune in its class when it comes to safety – something that is important to people. Our campaign highlights this subject in typical Volkswagen style: emotional, authentic and humorous’, said Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen Brand Board Member for Sales. According to Volkswagen, the new TV commercial, print materials and social media campaign will highlight how the new Polo ‘combines safety with adventure’.

The ‘emotional’ aspect comes in the form of a father and son story illustrated in the TV commercial. The spot which shows how assistance systems ‘can enrich lives’, with the father’s unsuccessful attempts to assist his more adventurous son documented through time. But, when they are both in the new Polo, he can relax as the car will ‘assist’ his son, through its numerous safety systems which include a blind spot lane change monitor, as well as front and pedestrian monitors.

The ‘360-degree’ campaign begins in over 30 European countries simultaneously. The print campaign will focus on modern convenience and safety technologies, while Volkswagen also states that the new Polo will also be the star of ‘entertaining’ feature films especially made for social media channels. The campaign has been devised by DDB Berlin, DDB Hamburg, and Adam&Eve DDB London.

The new Polo’s ‘father and son’ one-minute TV spot can be seen at www.volkswagen.de.

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15 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

“More sporty driving style” – new Polo GTI debuts at IAA 2017

2017 Volkswagen Polo GTI: IAA 2017

As well as the first public showings of the T-Roc SUV, the latest I.D. Crozz electric concept car, and the new Polo range in general, Volkswagen also chose the 2017 Frankfurt motor show (14-24 September) to debut the new Polo GTI. Although the 2018 version of the hot hatchback was shown at the new Polo’s global unveiling in Berlin on 16 June, its world premiere at IAA 2017 was the first time the car had been seen by a public audience, just as with the more mainstream models.

200PS, 320Nm and XDS
As well as unveiling the car alongside the smaller Up GTI, more details of the latest performance Polo have also been revealed. Of course, the headlines are unchanged from the June new Polo launch: 197bhp (200PS) 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, 236lb ft (320Nm) of torque, a top speed of 147mph (237km/h), with sports suspension and Volkswagen’s XDS electronic differential lock as standard.

The increase to 1,984cc means that the Polo GTI is in the 2.0-litre performance hatchback category for the first time, while maximum power is delivered between 4,400 and 6,000rpm. The EA888-derived unit’s maximum torque meanwhile can be accessed from as low as 1,500rpm. The car will also launch with a six-speed DSG gearbox (as with the 2010-2014 Polo GTI ‘6R’), but don’t fret: a six-speed manual will follow for all you cog-swappers. For those interested, emissions are 134g/km, 5g/km down on the outgoing 189bhp Polo GTI.

Externally, the car looks every inch a GTI. All the sub-brand’s signifiers which have identified go-faster VWs since 1976 are there: the ‘GTI’ badges, the red grille strip (which, as before, extends into the headlamps), honeycomb air intakes, while the 2018 Polo GTI also adopts key new Volkswagen styling trends such as the C-shaped gloss black lower front bumper sections which frame the integrated fog lights.

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