The next-generation Volkswagen Polo – scheduled to make its world debut at the Frankfurt Show – has been photographed in South Africa. Built on the MQB-platform that underpins the Golf, it is longer, wider (thus bigger) and much more sophisticated than the current car… and we expect it to make its debut on the local market early in 2018.
Last year we spotted disguised next-generation Volkswagen Polo and GTI derivatives undergoing testing in Germany and expected the new range to debut at the recent Geneva Show, but now it seems that the Polo will make its show debut at Frankfurt (although some media publications say official photos and specifications will be available as soon as June, around the time when the hatchback will go into production in Uitenhage for the European market).
The next Polo rides on the smallest version of the flexible MQB platform (AO), which underpins a number of compact products in the Volkswagen/Audi family. By virtue of its larger dimensions, the notably lower newcomer (claimed to be up to 200 mm longer, which will make it lengthier than the Golf 4) is, significantly, much more spacious inside, yet it's about 70 kg lighter than the current car.
Given the recent (overseas) introductions of the Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio, both of which feature improved interior finishes and infotainment functions, the Polo will need to have a substantially upmarket cabin to remain at the top of its segment in terms of interior quality…
This pre-production model looks very close to the finished product. Its frontal appearance is certainly more distinctive than the current car.
To that end, there will be a soft-touch dashboard fascia, strategic padding and expensive-looking trim elements, and front seats sourced from the facelifted Golf, a British publication suggested.
Active Info Display (Volkswagen’s all-digital instrument cluster), a new generation of touchscreen infotainment systems, Park Pilot automatic parking and keyless entry will be optional, plus it is not inconceivable that electronically controlled adaptive suspension could be available too.
As far as the engine lineup is concerned, on the turbopetrol side there will be a 1.0-litre TSI (available in various states of tune), while the 1.2-litre TSI engine could be replaced by the Golf’s 1.5-litre unit (with cylinder shutdown technology, still under consideration for South Africa). In Europe, the 1.5-litre TDI turbodiesel will be superseded by a 1.6-litre TDI unit (local models are currently 1.4-litre units).
The more streamlined rear appearance hides an enlarged luggage bay capacity.
Meanwhile, the Polo GTI derivative will either be powered by 147 kW 2.0-litre TSI or an upgraded (more powerful) version of the current 1.8-litre powerplant. Transmission options for the range will comprise 5- and 6-speed manual gearboxes, with a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission available on high-spec versions.
In South Africa, Volkswagen South Africa recently introduced a Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line derivative as the current range enters its run-out phase. It remains to be seen whether the Vivo range will be replaced by a product based on a scaled back current-generation Polo, but it seems highly likely...
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