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Shape of things to come for VW Polo

Shaping up: The roof line of the next VW Polo is expected to be lower than the current model, as eagle-eyed fans might discern from this teaser image of the next-gen’s silhouette.

Volkswagen gets a bit ahead of itself with leaked teaser image of 2018 Polo

7 Jun 2017

A TEASER image of Volkswagen’s sixth-generation Polo has slipped out of the German company ahead of its scheduled official distribution later this week, revealing the silhouette of the all-new light hatchback that is due to be formally launched at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

Said to be the biggest generational change of any Polo in the car’s 42-year history, the latest model is described by company insiders as a “junior Golf”, even sitting on a version of the same MQB platform that underpins its bigger sibling.

Volkswagen Group Australia corporate communications general manager Paul Pottinger confirmed that the new Mark VI Polo is expected to be launched in Australia in its standard form in the first quarter of 2018, with the GTI arriving in Q3.

“It is certainly the biggest generational change we have seen in the Polo class,” he said. “The extent of the change has been likened to the change in Golf from Mark VI to Mark VII.”

Mr Pottinger said the car would be appreciably bigger than the current model, sitting on the MQB platform of the Golf.

“To me, it is very much a junior Golf. I would compare it with the Mark IV Golf.” Spy shots of the undisguised Polo taken in South Africa earlier this year suggest the styling is also in line with Golf, an evolutionary upgrade that hides a much greater makeover under the skin.

VW has started a teaser campaign ahead of the Frankfurt reveal, recently showing images of camouflaged test mules. However, the silhouette shown here was not meant to have been distributed until late this week, somehow escaping early.

Some overseas reports suggest the new Polo will be 4053mm long, which would make it 81mm longer than the current Polo but 286mm shorter than the current Golf.

It is expected to also be lower but wider than the current version, as well as sit on a longer wheelbase. Despite the growth, the new Polo is expected to be lighter, improving fuel efficiency.

Mr Pottinger said that as the launch of the new Polo was the better part of a year away for Australia, the powertrain line-up and other aspects of the range were yet to be decided.

He said he expect the product planners would elect to go with a choice of two petrol engines in the standard range, plus the GTI – similar to the current range.

In the current range, the Polo offers a 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in two states of tune – 66kW and 81kW – while the GTI comes with a 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine delivering 141kW.

Next time, VW might be tempted to fit the base Polo in Australia with the 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine offered in Europe, perhaps stepping up to the new 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine offered in Golf.

Britain’s Autocar speculates that the Polo GTI will step up from the 1.8-litre turbocharged engine to a 2.0-litre unit, naturally with more poke.

As before, no diesel will be offered in Polo in Australia, even though such a variant will be available in Europe.

And also as before, VW Australia is expected to stick with the five-door version, eschewing the three-door variant.

One thing you can bet one: the popular limited-edition Beats version, armed with a high-amp premium sound system from Beats Electronics – will make a return next time around.

VW Australia offered a run of 400 Polo Beats in the last quarter of 2016, and was sufficiently encouraged by the sales success to repeat the dose in the next model.

So far this year, VW has sold 2704 Polos in Australia, down 19.5 per cent on the corresponding period last year. However, it is holding a handy 8.7 per cent of the light car segment, ranking fifth behind the class-leading Hyundai Accent (6349), Mazda2 (5080), Toyota Yaris (4815) and Honda Jazz (2895).

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