19 May 2017 ~ 0 Comments

Sixth-generation Polo: prototype drives, leaked details and renderings round-up

2018 Volkswagen Polo prototype

Speculation has been gathering pace the past few weeks as more details on the sixth-generation Polo are leaked. The latest intelligence is first-hand, though, as both weekly UK motoring magazines Autocar and Auto Express have been out in the newest version of our favourite small Volkswagen, by way of prototype drives in South Africa. The Autocar first drive report is here, while this link leads to the comments from Auto Express. Volkswagen has even got in on the act, too, and has released its own teaser video (below).

Impressive refinement
Just as with the new SEAT Ibiza which is also based on the smallest ‘A0’ version of the new ‘MQB’ platform, impressive refinement and grown-up abilities are touted, and these are both qualities which, in the past, have served the Polo well. Increased space thanks to the new underpinnings looks set to increase comfort, while handling appears to point to the ‘secure’ end of the scale.

The Ibiza-previewing-Polo story is a familiar one: the second-generation Ibiza previewed the third-generation Polo, being based on the new small VW’s chassis, though with a longer front overhang and engine bay, the Spanish car was able to take more powerful engines. Even Skoda was at it in 1999: the platform of the first-generation Fabia then appearing in both the fourth-generation Polo and third-generation Ibiza.

Evolutionary appearance
Of course, with prototype drives, there’s always some supposition, and it’s the same with how the sixth-generation Polo’s looks. The prototype cars were shrouded in camouflage – though the basic silhouette and form suggests an evolutionary appearance – but photos which originated from Car magazine in South Africa caught an undisguised car undergoing testing. The latest images of the new car surfaced this week, and with the virtually no disguise, that evolution is very definitely clear to see.

Again, sharper lines update the design themes of the current car, but it’s a masterclass in caution. It’s the same with the round of speculative renderings which have surfaced from various sources. Although we’re not quite sure which direction the car could have gone in, Volkswagen was clearly not going to deviate from the successful template too much: the Polo is a best-seller both in Europe and the UK after all, and is gathering popularity in other far flung markets such as India and South Africa.

2018 Volkswagen Polo prototype

Turbocharged petrol engines
The biggest revolution appears to be both under the skin and bonnet. A range of small-capacity turbocharged petrol engines will make up the bulk of the new Polo family, with a trio of 1.0-litre TSI units with varying power outputs from 64 to 113bhp. Two versions of the just-launched new Golf’s 1.5-litre TSI with active cylinder shutdown will also feature, while the GTI model – yes, there will be one! – should get upwards of 200bhp. A brace of 1.6-litre diesels is also expected: the Polo’s not eschewing the black pump yet, even though diesel superminis don’t sell in big numbers.

Despite the presentation slides at the re-launch of the fifth-generation car in 2014 stating there would be a mild hybrid version of the current Polo, it never arrived, and although initial reports suggested otherwise, it appears that this will be the case with the new car, too. Cost is thought to be the primary reason for the change of heart at VW, which means the Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris are set to have the supermini hybrid party to themselves for a little longer.

‘Big car’ technologies
Inside, the latest Polo is expected to continue its predecessors’ reputation for high quality, with yet again, many ‘big car’ technologies showcased. Most noticeably, the ‘Active Info Display’ digital instrument technology is thought to be optional on higher trim models, while reports suggest that the colour touchscreen infotainment system could boast a screen of 9.2 inches in size, again, most probably as a factory extra on more luxurious versions.

While PoloDriver.com isn’t usually one for speculation, there’s been so much going on with the the new-generation car recently, we felt we couldn’t ignore all that has been going on. We’ll bring you full details of the new Polo when we have them. While an official unveiling – and the start of production – is expected next month, the car itself is widely expected to make its first public appearance at the Frankfurt motor show in September, ahead of a UK on-sale of spring 2018. Prices are expected to start at around £13,000, rising to £21,000 for the sporting GTI version.

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