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Geneva show: VW’s refreshed Polo revealed

Polo player: Volkswagen’s updated Polo features subtle styling changes including a restyled front bumper and grille.

Updated Volkswagen Polo revealed but new 141kW GTI not until 2015


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29 Jan 2014

VOLKSWAGEN has revealed the mid-life facelifted Polo ahead of its Geneva motor show debut in March and arrival in Australia during the second half of 2014.

The light-car will receive subtle styling tweaks, updated powertrains and additional safety equipment as part of the upgrade. However, the updated 141kW GTI hot-hatch will not arrive until 2015.

The most significant changes to the Polo are under the skin, with VW offering a range of new Euro 6 compliant petrol and diesel powertrains with fuel efficiency gains of up to 21 per cent on some engines.

Current Australian Polos are powered by either 63kW/132Nm atmo 1.4-litre or 77kW/175Nm 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol engines, or a 66kW/230Nm 1.6-litre turbo-diesel.

These will be replaced with revised powertrains. Available in Europe will be 66kW or 81kW versions of the 1.2 TSI.

European Polos will also be available with a choice of three new 1.4-litre three-cylinder direct-injection turbo-diesel units in a variety of tunes ranging from 55kW, 66kW and 77kW.

Fuel economy for the diesels is improved, with the 55kW TDI BlueMotion down from 3.4 litres per 100 kilometres to 3.2L/100km, easily undercutting green car hero the Toyota Prius’ figure of 3.9L/100km.

The 66kW version with a dual-clutch DSG transmission sips just 3.4L/100km, down from the 4.3L/100km figure of the previous version.

Idle-stop and regenerative braking will also be available as an option on some variants and standard on others.

Cosmetically, the Polo receives a subtle makeover, with a redesigned front bumper carrying a chrome line separating the fog-lights, a restyled grille that also features a chrome line running along the bottom and optional LED headlights, which VW says is a first for the segment.

New tail-lights and a restyled bumper feature at the rear and the Polo will also be available with five new alloy wheel designs.

Inside, Volkswagen has brought the Polo more into line with its Golf sibling, with a new three-spoke steering wheel that VW says is from the “Golf class”, while a new instrument cluster carries a “3D tube look”.

The centre stack has been redesigned, the climate control interface is new and chrome accents now feature in the door trim panels, around the air vents and in the centre console.

The updated Polo is the first VW to get the second-generation radio and sat-nav ‘modular infotainment system’ (MIB), similar to the unit featured in the Golf.

It uses a touchscreen with a proximity sensor and function that responds to swiping motions, similar to that of a smartphone.

VW has upped the safety gear for the Polo’s mid-life update, with a standard post-collision braking system that stops the vehicle after a collision to reduce kinetic energy and the risk of a second crash.

Other safety features such as a driver alert system, emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are optional on European-spec versions.

Also optional will be a ‘Sport Select’ suspension system that uses electronically controlled dampers to switch between the two suspension settings, while a new electro-mechanical steering system boosts efficiency and according to VW “offers more precise control”.

An updated GTI is scheduled to launch internationally in 2015 and will feature a power boost from 132kW to 141kW.

Currently VW Australia offers the Polo in three specification levels with a choice of three different engines – 1.4-litre petrol Trendline from $16,990 plus on-roads, 1.2-litre TSI petrol Comfortline from $18,990, 1.6-litre diesel TDI Comfortline from $23,990 and the 1.4-litre GTI that retails for $27,990 for the three-door and $29,190 for the five-door.

Volkswagen axed the non-GTI three-door variants from its local line-up in late 2011 due to slow sales.

It is unclear whether VW’s local arm will shuffle the variants and it is yet to confirm what powertrains will end up in the Australian models, but that is likely to become clearer closer to launch.

This facelift marks the first update to the Polo since it launched in May 2010.

Polo sales remained relatively steady in 2013, with 5582 units sold, a six per cent dip compared to the 5925 sales in 2012.

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