THE Volkswagen Group has introduced the Wolfsburg-based brand’s revised Polo range – headlined by the 147kW/320Nm GTI variant – in Australia.
The firm has specified the light hatchback to entice buyers (who would otherwise be in the market for a small hatchback) to “buy down” without the need to compromise on features.
However, the Polo’s notably higher standard specification reflects in its steeper pricing – the entire line-up has gone up by between $5560 and $6460, depending on variant.
From an aesthetic point of view, the updated Polo looks smarter and more upmarket than its predecessor (also produced in VW’s South African assembly plant), thanks to revised bumpers and LED headlight clusters with daytime running lights, as well as two-part LED taillights.
Changes to the German brand’s sixth-generation light hatchback are much more apparent on the inside, where apart from updated trim, all variants now feature a Digital Cockpit electronic instrument cluster of least 8.0-inches in size, DAB+ digital radio, and wireless smartphone mirroring and charging – “features from more senior passenger vehicles,” Volkswagen says.
The base Polo Life is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol that produces 70kW/175Nm when paired with a five-speed manual gearbox ($25,250, plus on-road costs) or 85kW/200Nm with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission ($28,250 + ORCs).
Volkswagen claims combined fuel consumption of 5.4L/100km for both versions.
The entry-grade Polo’s specification is based on that of the outgoing Comfortline, but beefed up to include automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, front-seat lumbar adjustment, cruise control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 8.0-inch Composition Media touchscreen infotainment array, a front centre armrest and illuminated vanity mirrors.
The mid-range Polo Style ($31,250 +ORCs) rides on 16-inch alloys (as opposed to the Life’s 15-inch rims) and is further distinguished by front fog lights, an illuminated LED grille strip, IQ Light Matrix LED headlights with adaptive high-beam and LED taillights with dynamic indicators.
Sports front seats, a 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro instrument panel, dual-zone climate control and LED interior ambient lighting are standard on the Style, along with the semi-autonomous Travel Assist suite that includes adaptive cruise control, side assist and rear cross-traffic alert and automatic reverse parking assistance.
Finally, the flagship Polo GTI is propelled by a 147kW/320Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine with seven-speed DSG and said to consume 6.5L/100km on the combined cycle.
It looks suitably racy courtesy of its 18-inch alloys, GTI body styling and red brake calipers, while tartan interior trim and sports seats add to the range-topping Polo variant’s sense of occasion.
An 8.0-inch Discover Media touchscreen infotainment array with built-in navigation and voice control, keyless entry with push-button start and a security alarm system completes the package.
For its intended audience of driving enthusiasts, the Polo GTI features drive mode selection, adaptive dampers and paddle-shifters mounted on the sports steering wheel.
Metallic paint is standard on this variant, although premium metallic paint is available for $300. On other Polo variants (Life and Style respectively), a metallic finish is a $600 option, while a panoramic glass sunroof can be ordered for $1500.
On the Polo Life automatic, a Vision and Tech Package including built-in navigation, 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro, voice control, travel assist and adaptive cruise control is available for $1700.
The Polo Style can be specified with a Sound and Tech Package that includes built-in navigation, voice control, keyless entry and start, and a 300W Beats premium audio with six speakers and digital eight-channel amplifier for $1900,
GTI buyers can upgrade with a $1500 Sound and Tech Package that incorporates a Discover Pro 9.2-inch navigation touchscreen array and Beats premium audio.
In terms of standard safety specification, all updated Polo variants are equipped with seven airbags including centre front airbag, front assist with pedestrian and cyclist monitoring, adaptive lane-keep assistance, parking sensors front and rear.
VW points out that these features are upgrades over the outgoing Trendline variant’s standard safety suite and additional to what came on the pre-facelift Comfortline.
Practicality of the Polo GTI and Beats audio-equipped Polos has also been expanded, with boot volume increasing from 305 litres to match all other Polos at 351 litres.
“We’ve moved the Polo further from the sticker-driven rat race into its most premium form yet,” said Volkswagen Group Australia’s brand director of passenger vehicles Michal Szaniecki.
“Already in the pre-updated form, the sixth generation Polo asserted its technical superiority over perceived competitors due to its efficient turbo engines and MQB platform.
“With this mid-life upgrade, (our) entry range is positioned to meet customer requirements. Just as the Golf 110TSI is equipped and priced to reflect the fact that it has always done most of its business well above the entry point, Polo customers have typically selected heavily optioned variants.
“With standard Digital Cockpit, wireless charging and the availability of features from more ‘senior’ Volkswagen passenger vehicles, the Polo range is not so much a junior Golf or entry car to our broader passenger vehicle showroom as a fully evolved range in its own right,” he added.
All Volkswagen Polo variants are covered by a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and one year’s roadside assist.
2022 Volkswagen Polo pricing*:
|Life||$25,250||(+$5960 over Trendline)|
|Life (a)||$28,250||(+$6460 over Trendline)|
|Style (a)||$31,250||(+$5560 over Comfortline)|
*Pricing excludes on-road costs.