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to the online resource for everything Volkswagen Polo.

Find the latest Polo news from around the world, past-model flashbacks, road tests, spotlights on selected models, as well as views from contributors here. If there is a Polo story that you would like to share or if you would just like to get in contact, email us at info@polodriver.com

19 December 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Match point: new value-driven Polo Match Edition launched in the UK

2016 Volkswagen Polo Match Edition (UK)

Volkswagen UK has enriched the popular Polo range with the addition of the Match Edition model, available to order from Volkswagen Retailers on 21 December. Prices start at £13,315 OTR for the model with enhanced technology, which also comes with a choice of four engines. Among the highlights of the Polo Match Edition is Car-Net App-Connect which integrates smartphones to the car via a USB connection, and allows Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or MirrorLink apps to control the device.

Useful interactivity
Practical information and apps such as Skype and Spotify – can also be accessed by the Car-Net App-Connect system – which also features on the distinctive Polo Beats model – while for Android smartphones, Google Voice Control functionality is also enabled. Car-Net App-Connect builds on the car’s standard Composition Media infotainment system, too, for further useful interactivity.

For MirrorLink users, Volkswagen has developed special apps including Call & Remind for those all-important ‘to do’ lists, as well as Cam Connect, which lets a GoPro® Hero4 camera be placed in the car and a still image shown on the infotainment screen on demand. Video from the camera can also be streamed when the car is moving slowly or is at a halt.

2016 Volkswagen Polo Match Edition (UK)

Value-driven
Aside from the heightened technology count, standard equipment on the value-driven new Polo Match Edition is high. Features on the Polo Match Edition include auto-dimming rear view mirror and auto-sensing windscreen wipers, cruise control, a ‘coming/leaving home’ function for the lights, electrically-heated door mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, as well as 15-inch ‘Stratford’ alloy wheels.

Three petrol and one diesel engines power the Polo Match Edition. A 1.0-litre petrol unit starts the range, and is available in 59 and 74bhp forms, while Volkswagen’s familiar 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine with 89bhp provides a little more go, and can be chosen with either a manual or DSG automatic gearbox. A 1.4-litre TDI diesel engine with 74bhp completes the Match Edition range, and Volkswagen states it offers as much as 74.3mpg* on the combined cycle.

For additional details on the Polo Match Edition and the complete Polo range, visit the Volkswagen UK website. Pricing for the Polo Match Edition is below.

2016 VOLKSWAGEN POLO MATCH EDITION PRICES (UK)
1.0 BMT 59bhp, 108g/km, five-speed manual, 3dr: £13,315
1.0 BMT 59bhp, 108g/km, five-speed manual, 5dr: £13,945
1.0 BMT 74bhp, 108g/km, five-speed manual, 3dr: £13,840
1.0 BMT 74bhp, 108g/km, five-speed manual, 5dr: £14,470

1.2 TSI BMT 89bhp, 109g/km, five-speed manual, 3dr: £14,460
1.2 TSI BMT 89bhp, 109g/km, five-speed manual, 5dr: £15,090
1.2 TSI BMT 89bhp, 109g/km, seven-speed DSG, 3dr: £15,835
1.2 TSI BMT 89bhp, 109g/km, seven-speed DSG, 5dr: £16,465

1.4 TDI BMT 74bhp, 97g/km, five-speed manual, 3dr: £15,525
1.4 TDI BMT 74bhp, 97g/km, five-speed manual, 5dr: £16,155

* Fuel consumption and CO2 figures are obtained under standardised EU test conditions (Directive 93/116/EEC). This allows a direct comparison between different manufacturer models but may not represent the actual fuel consumption achieved in ‘real world’ driving conditions. More information is available on the Volkswagen website at www.volkswagen.co.uk and at www.dft.gov.uk/vca

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10 December 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Twin test: SEAT Ibiza Cupra vs Volkswagen Polo GTI

PoloDriver.com contributor, motoring writer, engagesportmode.com editor and Polo GTI owner John Redfern weighs up the pros and cons of two seemingly similar Spanish-built Volkswagen Group hot hatchbacks

2016 Volkswagen Polo GTI and SEAT Ibiza Cupra

Styling
This is evidently a subjective area, and neither Cupra nor GTI could be considered unattractive designs. Whether you prefer the basic Polo or Ibiza shape is personal taste, so we concentrated on the actual effort made to transform regular supermini into a hot hatch.

So what sets the GTI apart is the fact it looks more bespoke compared to the rest of the Polo range. From the red trim running across the grille into the headlights, to the honeycomb mesh and the GTI branding, it feels more special. Yes, it might be a scaled-down pastiche of the Golf GTI, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

On the other hand, the Ibiza Cupra struggles to separate itself from the hundreds of FR-badged imitators. Where it does differ is often through fussy styling, like the trapezoidal centre-exit exhaust or fake vents in the rear bumper. It’s still a good-looking car, but doesn’t quite do enough to make things feel distinctive.

Take the gloss black alloy wheels fitted to this Cupra Black test car, and compare them to the multi-spoke items, with diamond cut elements, on the GTI. Whether you like them is a matter of taste, but it exemplifies the extra attention to detail and sense of occasion found on the transformation of the Polo into a GTI.

Winner: GTI

Interior
Volkswagen Group interiors have long held a reputation for strong design and build quality. That doesn’t change when it gets to the Cupra and GTI, but subtle distinctions between them still exist.

As with the exterior, the Polo GTI edges ahead with a cabin that manages to have a greater sense of occasion. It starts with the ‘Jacara’ (or tartan) seats, and extends to the red stitching on the gear knob and steering wheel. The addition of piano black trim helps break up a sea of charcoal, as do the extra chrome elements.

Unlike the GTI there’s no additional trim to separate acres of grained black plastic. It could be a Cupra, or it could be a base-spec E, there’s no real feeling of delineation. Where the Ibiza does score an advantage is with seats that will go lower to the floor, and ultimately feel more cosseting than those in the GTI. Get back in the Polo and the sense of extra seat height is palpable – blame the extra storage drawers hiding underneath for that.

Fundamentally the Polo GTI feels more expensive, looks more expensive, and persuades you that VW were inclined to try that little bit harder in making it feel unique.

Winner: GTI

Performance
Same 1.8-litre TSI engine and, unsurprisingly, the same official performance figures for both. Drive them back-to-back, or have someone drive the other one alongside, and you’ll be extremely hard-pressed to say one is faster than the other.

The Cupra does, however, have a slightly sharper initial throttle pedal response and feels ever so marginally quicker in terms of initial acceleration. Conversely, the GTI seems to have a fraction more lag before the torque kicks in. It is a very subtle difference, and one that could only really be detected driving one immediately after the other.

More noticeable is the lighter clutch pedal and gearbox of the Cupra, which removes an extra degree of effort that’s needed in the GTI. The Polo’s gearbox is still accurate but needs more force to shift cogs, whilst the clutch is also heavier.

Both cars here feature Sport modes that sharpen the throttle response and provoke more noise from the interior sound actuator. As noted in our review, the Cupra makes a slightly strange offbeat tone, whilst the GTI sounds more conventional. Despite the Cupra’s fancy tailpipe design, it’s the GTI that actually makes more noise from the exhaust itself.

The 1.8-litre TSI engine is an impressive unit in both applications and, so nuanced are the differences, we’re calling this round a tie.

Winner: draw

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06 December 2016 ~ 0 Comments

November 2016: Volkswagen Polo is the eighth most popular car in the UK

2016 Volkswagen Polo

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in the UK has released its monthly new car registration figures for November 2016 and once again, the Volkswagen Polo makes the top 10 most popular cars chart. The Polo stays rooted in the number eight position, which is exactly where it was for October. Often criticised for being on the more sensible side of the small car class, you can’t knock its consistency. Overall, 3519 Polos were registered in the penultimate month of the year.

In a very reoccurring trend, the Ford Fiesta again sits pretty at the top of the rundown, with 8382 cars registered in November. Another popular Volkswagen, the Golf, is third, with 4663 units finding their way off the forecourts. The SMMT records that the market growth in November rose by 2.9 per cent, to a total of 184,101 cars registered. Overall, 2.5 million new cars have hit the UK’s roads to date in 2016, a new record.

The UK’s top 10 most popular passenger cars during November 2016 and the year so far (sales figure and position in brackets) are as follows:

1 Ford Fiesta: 9382 (112,327, 1st)
2 Vauxhall Astra: 4829 (54,585, 6th)
3 Volkswagen Golf: 4663 (64,137, 4th)
4 Vauxhall Corsa: 4341 (73,172, 2nd)
5 Ford Focus: 4321 (65,554, 3rd)
6 Nissan Qashqai: 4242 (59,840, 5th)
7 Mini: 3778 (43,691, 8th)
8 Volkswagen Polo: 3637 (50,798, 7th)
9 Audi A3: 3296 (40,817, 10th)
10 Mercedes-Benz C Class: 3203 (41,121, 9th)

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30 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen RX Sweden secures second place at World RX of Argentina

2016 Volkswagen Polo RX, World RX of Argentina: Kristoffersson

A consistent pace and a consistent season rewarded Volkswagen RX Sweden’s Johan Kristoffersson a second place in the last round of the 2016 FIA World Rallycross Championship, the World RX of Argentina. The final and twelfth event of the season took place at the Autodromo Rosario circuit from 25-27 November, and that consistency also netted Kristoffersson second place in the Drivers’ Championship, just 32 points behind champion Mattias Ekström of Audi team EKS.

A brilliant drive
A brilliant drive in both the semi-final and final races in Argentina helped Kristoffersson improve on his third place in the 2015 Drivers’ Championship, and was ample reward for the young Polo RX Supercar racer, who had battled hard throughout the 2016 season. The Swede was delighted with his runner-up position, partly gained thanks to not taking risks: ‘After the semi-finals I knew I had to be first or second in the final to be second in the championship. The start went well, and we managed to avoid any contact.

‘I have to admit I was driving a little bit like a grandma, avoiding punctures and no drifting or anything, but it’s such a great feeling to be second in the race and the Championship. At the beginning of the weekend it didn’t feel like we were where we wanted to be, but everyone worked really hard and we finished one place better than last season in the points. I have to say it’s very tight, for there to be only one point between second and fourth in the championship after 12 events is just amazing,’ he continued.

Banished bad luck
Qualification in the semi-final and seventh overall for second Volkswagen RX Sweden driver Anton Marklund helped the team secure third overall in the 2016 Teams’ Championship standings. Despite challenging weather conditions, Marklund banished the bad luck which has affected him and his 600bhp Polo this year and proved that by securing a place the semi-final, he has the pace to challenge for podium results and pick up valuable team points.

‘The track was tough in Rosario and it was hard for everyone to have three qualifying races on Sunday morning, but after some small issues we got the car perfectly in shape for Q4 and a good result put me into the semi-finals,’ said the ex-2012 FIA European Rallycross Championship Touringcar winner.

‘Unfortunately I got crashed into in the first corner and was never able to recover for a top-three finish to make it into the final. The pace was definitely there – I was catching Robin Larsson – but we just ran out of laps. It’s great that Johan was able to finish second for himself and we both managed to finish third in the Teams’ Championship to take the bronze medal back to Sweden.’

‘We achieved it’
Team Principal Michael Schneider was delighted for the whole Volkswagen RX Sweden team that the weekend’s target had been reached. ‘Johan and Anton both performed so well this weekend. The way Johan drove in both the semi-finals and final was fantastic.

‘We had the chance to be second in the Drivers’ Championship and third in the Teams’ Championship coming here and we achieved it. I have to thank the team, sponsors, partners and team owner Jan Marklund. Everyone has worked so hard all season long and everyone deserves this,’ he exclaimed.

2016 FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP,

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

1 Mattias Ekström, Audi S1: 272
2 Johan Kristoffersson, Volkswagen Polo: 240
3 Andreas Bakkerud, Ford Focus RS: 239
4 Petter Solberg, Citroën DS3: 239
5 Sébastien Loeb, Peugeot 208: 209

2016 FIA WORLD RALLYCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP,

TEAMS’ CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS

1 EKS: 422
2 Team Peugeot Hansen: 387
3 Volkswagen RX Sweden: 316
4 Hoonigan Racing Division: 302
5 World RX Team Austria: 226

[Images: FIAWorldRallycross.com / Volkswagen RX Sweden]

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23 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen bids farewell to Polo R WRC with Rally Australia win

2016 Volkswagen Polo R WRC, Rally Australia: Mikkelsen

Volkswagen Motorsport waved goodbye to four years of World Rally Championship domination with a final one-two victory at Rally Australia, the final round of the 2016 series. Volkswagen young-guns Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jæger lifted the trophy in Coffs Harbour, with four-time and 2016 World Champions* Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia in second place. The end-of-era win was the 43rd victory for the German team from Hannover which also tops the Manufacturers’ Championship* for 2016.

Exciting in-house battle
The Norwegians really did deserve the prize, as the pair led for over 94 per cent of the event’s 283.36kms of dusty and loose gravel stages. An exciting and closely-fought in-house battle with Ogier and Ingrassia proved a fitting send off for the record-breaking 318bhp four-wheel drive Polo R WRC, and ensured the car finished its service in the top-flight motorsport series on a high. Both Polo R WRC crews had unfavourable starting positions, too, given the ‘sweeping’ of the loose surface which was needed to clear a path through it.

Ogier and Ingrassia came top of the Shakedown pile, with their Norwegian team-mates close behind them. Mikkelsen and Jæger won five of the opening day’s eleven special stages to take an early lead, and finished in the top three on every stage to take a lead of 15.4 seconds. Ogier and Ingrassia produced a performance worthy of their world champion status to win four special stages, ending day one in second place overall.

Mikkelsen went on only to lose his lead once during the whole rally, when a bizarre incident almost cost him the event. His Polo R WRC’s clutch pedal bent and held down his brake pedal after the floor of his car was dented. A water bottle also wedged itself in the pedal area of his car, but the Norwegian solved these ‘interesting’ setbacks and claimed the third of his career wins and his first since Rally Poland back in July.

As magnificent as it was, Mikkelsen and Jæger’s final performance in the Polo R WRC sadly wasn’t enough to achieve second place in the 2016 Drivers’ Championship. Mikkelsen’s friend and rival Thierry Neuville finished the Australian event in third place, leap-frogging the second-placed Norwegian in the overall standings, finishing runner-up behind world champion Ogier. In the end, Neuville’s jump over his friend was narrow – just six points separated him and Mikkelsen – but for a driver who started his international WRC career at Volkswagen, it didn’t seem to matter.

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