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New generation VW Polo for 2017

By raccars Published

Volkswagen Polo

A new Volkswagen Polo is on its way, smarter and more spacious than ever before.

Volkswagen has big plans for the next version of its stalwart supermini, the sixth generation of the Polo. It has never been the flashiest of the German firm's cars but the Polo has consistently sold well, providing premium quality and understated style in a very crowded sector since its release in 1975. VW is planning to take that build quality a step further now, with an even better finish plus big car technology.

The current, fifth generation Polo has been on sale since 2009 and is starting to look rather bland next to rivals. It was given a facelift a couple of years ago with new bumpers, a new steering wheel and the addition of a touchscreen infotainment system, together with some extra safety kit and a couple of new engine choices.

VW Polo vs Ford Fiesta: the competition heats up

Due in about a year's time, the next Polo will use the firm's new MBQ A0 platform architecture. Its major rival the Ford Fiesta arrives in the meantime, also promising an upgraded interior and more space in the rear cabin. It's going to be an interesting competition between the two; the Polo's higher price point has surely been a major contributing factor in keeping sales lower than the Fiesta's.

However VW has to be conscious of the budget customer. Ford can offer the Ka+ to budget buyers, but VW doesn't have a cheaper alternative and has to be careful not to exclude a large section of the car buying public which expects more and more big car sophistication from its affordable small cars.

A new platform

The new, simple but clever platform should help VW to keep costs down and will also be used for the Skoda Fabia, Seat Ibiza and the Audi A1 in the future, plus any SUV variations of the same. While the new Polo's wheelbase will become longer, its overhangs are likely to shrink to ensure the overall length remains much the same. The new configuration should return some extra cabin space.

Under the bonnet

The engine line-up will focus on small units assisted by turbochargers, but an entry-level model will feature an updated version of the three cylinder 1.0 litre petrol engine, with about 75bhp. With turbos added and some tuning, the same engine will also be offered in 100bhp and 115bhp formats. There should also be a couple of 1.5 litre units, petrol and diesel, each offered with varied power outputs according to tuning. VW is unlikely to offer the Polo with a hybrid power train because the reconfiguration required would be uneconomical.

Expect a six speed manual transmission as standard, plus a possible five speeder and the dual clutch seven speed automatic gearbox.

The interior

In the cabin you'll find a colour infotainment screen and most trim levels should include smartphone connectivity and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Higher spec models could be offered with touchscreens as large as 9.5 inches, not found elsewhere in the supermini sector, together with the digital instrument binnacle used in the latest Passat and various Audis. Options are likely to include integrated WiFi connectivity.

A Polo SUV

In addition to the standard hatchback, VW is working on an SUV variant of the Polo, which is expected to resemble the T-Cross Breeze concept car introduced this year. It's expected to be made available with hard and soft tops, while VW Group sister brands Skoda and Seat are preparing their own versions of the same for slightly later release.

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