We drive the new Volkswagen Polo

The new Polo isn’t just an upgraded version of its outgoing model, it’s a whole new car!

The new Volkswagen Polo launched at the start of 2018 and as expected, accompanied by a whole lot of hype!

Understandably so, since the Volkswagen Polo has been South Africa’s second best-selling passenger car since its initial launch in 2010, with its sibling, the Polo Vivo taking first place.

We’ve spent the last week getting up close and personal with the latest Polo, and we’re happy to report that the new Polo is certainly more spacious, more tech-savvy and a whole lot more premium!

Better handling 

All the new Polos are powered by a 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine, however a new GTI will come with a 2.0-litre engine. It’s as refined as it is punchy, despite it only offering 70kW from its 3-cylinder engine. You can opt for the 85 kW engine, but I feel that there isn’t much need unless you really plan on pushing out power often. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much power there is!

Steering is light, quick and precise and a real pleasure when trying to get in and out of tricky parking spots. I love how much driver-comfort the new Polo offers while I noticed very minimal body-roll when taking sharp corners and bends.

Better looking 

The new Polo isn’t just an upgraded version of its outgoing model, it’s a whole new car! Like the Golf, Touran, Tiguan, Passat and Arteon, the sixth generation Polo is now based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform, which gives it a number of advantages, like compact proportions and technical enhancements under the skin.

Now, it has a much more sporty-look, with compact proportions and a dynamic looking exterior. We drove the ‘Pure White’ colour option, and noticed how a lot of people took a second look before asking what the name of the colour was. It also comes in Flash Red, Dark Petrol, Reflex Silver Metallic,  Limestone Grey Metallic, Pale Copper, Reef Blue, Energetic Orange, Deep Black Pearl Effect and White Silver Metallic. Wheels of up to 18 inches in size are available and give the new Polo a bit of masculinity.

Comments on social media by the public noting that the new Polo “looks like a VW Golf” are rife, understandably so, since many of its new features are borrowed from its Golf sibling.

The new Polo is available in three trim levels: Trendline, Comfortline and Highline, as well as a special edition Polo Beats, which features a 300-watt sound system. An R-Line package is also available for those wanting an even more sportier exterior (side sills, boot spoiler, rear diffuser and more).

Also read: One-litre engine added to new Volkswagen Polo range 

Better dimensions 

More good news is that the new Polo is even bigger than before. A larger wheelbase, and overall exterior length and width  have all grown, and while it makes for a more spacious cabin, it doesn’t compromise on its compact exterior that people have come to know and love.

The length of the new Polo has grown by 81 mm to 4,053 mm, while its wheelbase has also grown by 81 mm to 2,548 mm. So the wheels are now positioned further to the front and rear. It’s also wider (overall width of 1,751 mm).

Better equipment 

The new Polo has a wide range of driver assistance features such as the latest Park Assist system for those tricky parallel and perpendicular parkings. Standard in the Highline is ‘Driving Profile Selection’ which allows you to choose between Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual, depending on your environment and preferences.

What about safety? The new Polo boasts a range of safety features, such as Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Traffic Alert, a proactive occupant protection system and a manoeuvre braking function.

In conclusion, it would be surprising if SA’s second best-selling passenger car doesn’t live up to the same expectations as its predecessor, especially among Polo fans looking for something they know and love, but with a whole new level of advanced and premium qualities.

The new Volkswagen Polo currently starts at R235 900 for the base model, 1.0 TSI 70 kW Trendline and rises to R302 200 for the range-topping 1.0 TSI 85 kW Highline DSG.