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Volkswagen unveils pumped-up Polo

Popped collar: Volkswagen has increased the boot storage capacity of its new-generation Polo by 25 per cent, meaning the boot can swallow up to 351 litres of luggage.

New-gen Volkswagen Polo in Australia around March, GTI to follow in Q3 2018

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Volkswagen logo19 Jun 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN

VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia (VGA) is targeting a March on-sale date for its all-new Polo light car, which was revealed in larger, more practical and feature-rich sixth-generation guise over the weekend at an event in Berlin.

Speaking with GoAuto, VGA corporate communications general manager Paul Pottinger confirmed the new front-drive Polo’s launch window and gave an indication of which engines would be available in the mix, as well as when to expect the high-performing GTI variant in local showrooms.

“We’re aiming for March, end of Q1,” he said. “You can expect a couple of petrol models, you can expect a Beats edition with a sound system by Dr Dre… and of course a GTI which will be here in quarter three, 2018 with a 2.0-litre engine.”

Although not a radical departure in appearance from its outgoing form, the new Polo wears a new front grille, bumper and Golf-like headlights for an updated look, as well as a more pronounced shoulder crease and tweaked rear end.

Built on Volkswagen Group’s ubiquitous MQB platform, the new Polo grows in size to measure 4053mm long, 1751mm wide, 1446mm high with a 2564mm wheelbase, up from the fifth-gen’s of 3972mm long, 1682mm wide, 1453mm high and 2470mm wheelbase dimensions.

With the increase in physical size, the sixth-gen Polo will accommodate 351 litres of storage in the boot with the rear seats in place, up from the 280L in the previous generation for an increase of around 25 per cent.

By comparison, the new Polo easily outclasses segment rivals the Mazda2 (250L), Toyota Yaris (286L) and Ford Fiesta (281L) in boot space, as well as the hatchbacks in a segment above including the Ford Focus (316L), Mazda3 (308L) and Toyota Corolla (280L).

Overseas Polos will be available with diesel and natural gas engine options but, as previously stated, the Australian-spec light car line-up is likely to be underpinned exclusively with petrol powerplants.

“We’re introducing a new diesel to the Golf line-up and there’s quite a few diesel choices there, but in the class down from that (light car) it’s not something which people seem particular interested in,” Mr Pottinger said.

Of the petrol engines on offer internationally, the most likely candidates for an Australian market debut will be the 1.0-litre turbocharged three-pot in either 70kW or 85kW tune, as well as an 110kW 1.5-litre four cylinder.

The current standard Polo line-up is available in two trim levels powered by a 1.2-litre turbo four producing 66kW/160Nm in the Trendline and 81kW/175Nm in the Comfortline.

Volkswagen has also upped the ante on its Polo GTI by shoehorning a 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI under the bonnet for 147kW of power, up from the previous 141kW of the 1.8-litre engine.

Internationally, the aforementioned petrol engines are available with either a five- or six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but Mr Pottinger could not confirm if both configurations would be made available locally.

“Difficult to know at this stage, it’s still such a long way out,” he said.

“Even in that class of car, pick-up of manual is declining year-on-year.”

Overseas Polos will be available in Trendline, Comfortline and Highline as well as Beats and GTI flavours, while Australian-spec hatchbacks are expected to retain the same Trendline, Comfortline and GTI levels with the Beats edition available in limited quantities as before.

Inside, the sixth-gen Polo will wear Volkswagen’s new Active Info Display all-digital instrumentation, as well as featuring LED daytime running lights, 6.5-inch central entertainment and information touchscreen, speed limiter, 14-inch wheels, and autonomous emergency braking as standard.

Higher-spec cars gain access to a driver alert system, centre armrest, park distance control, larger wheels, 8.0-inch central display, and, in the case of the Beats edition, an up-rated 300-watt sound system.

Options in overseas Polos include LED headlights and tail-lights, wireless smartphone charging, panoramic sunroof, active dampers, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert and a semi-autonomous park assist function.

Australian pricing and exact specification is expected to release closer to launch.

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