2018 Volkswagen Polo and Polo GTI revealed, Australian debut early next year

 

Today, mere hours after the first clear images made their way online, the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Polo has been given an official unveiling.

The model replaces the current fifth-generation Polo that made its global debut at the 2009 Geneva motor show, before 2014 brought minor styling tweaks and significant technology changes.

The tech upgrades continue with the new 2018 model and, although its styling is unmistakably Volkswagen, there is no disguising the fact: This is an all-new Polo.

For its sixth go at life, the Polo has been made significantly bigger than the car it replaces, its wheelbase growing to the same 2564mm footprint of its Spanish cousin the Seat Ibiza. Both cars ride on the same new ‘A0’ version of the Volkswagen Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform, and the next Audi A1 will do the same.

At 2564mm, the Polo’s new wheelbase is a significant 94mm longer than before. To put that in perspective, the fourth-generation Golf rode on a 2512mm wheelbase. Indeed, even the Golf 5’s footprint was only a little longer than that of the new Polo, at 2578mm.

Overall, the new Polo measures 4053mm long – an extra 81mm on the outgoing model – and its boot capacity, rear seats upright, has grown from 280 to 351 litres.

There’s an additional 15 and 25mm of headroom, front to rear, despite the new Polo being just 7mm taller than its predecessor.

In Europe, the new Polo will be offered with five petrol and two diesel engines, but, as Volkswagen has made abundantly clear, hybrid and electric variants will feature heavily in the years following launch.

Three-cylinder 1.0-litre units will feature at the entry end, offering city-focused power figures of 48kW and 55kW depending on the model, with a five-speed manual also pointing to the city intent.

The 1.0-litre three-pot formula continues with a pair of 70kW and 85kW direct-injected units, matched to five- and six-speed manual transmissions respectively. A seven-speed dual-clutch auto will be offered as an option.

The bigger units, more likely to come to Australia (although the 85kW three-pot shouldn’t be ruled out), will include 110kW 1.5- and 147kW 2.0-litre petrol engines. The former is drawn from the larger Golf, and the latter will drive the hero GTI – representing a little 7kW boost over the current GTI.

Diesels will include a pair of 1.6-litre four-cylinder engines, in the former of a 59kW five-speed manual option and a 70kW manual or seven-speed DSG option.

All models will be front-wheel drive, but, with all-wheel-drive being designed into the MQB-A0 platform, we could see another Polo R in the future – this time in proper all-paw form.

In the cabin, Volkswagen’s latest generation of display technology has been made available to the little Polo. There’s a glossy centre display ranging in size from 6.5 to 8.0 inches, covered in a glass finish that Volkswagen says are “as sophisticated as high-end smartphones”.

The company’s fully-digital Active Info Display instrument cluster also features behind the steering wheel, with a new-generation interface making its debut in the Polo.

Tech will include City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Monitoring, along with blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and park assist.

In addition to the three standard Trendline, Comfortline and Highline trim lines, there will also again feature a special-edition Polo Beats, its equipment list headlined by a 300-watt sound system.

“The Polo is a young, fresh car,” said Volkswagen CEO, Dr Herbert Diess, at its unveiling. “It combines charisma with strong technology.”

“No other car offers so much space for its size. This makes our Polo the number one compact, and it will remain number one.”

Further details on the new Polo are still to come, including fuel figures, torque and acceleration numbers. Expect to learn more at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

The new Polo will make its Australian debut in the first quarter of 2018, with local features and pricing to be confirmed closer to launch.