Volkswagen has taken the wraps off the restyled 6th-generation Volkswagen Polo... The update to the Wolfsburg-based brand's popular compact hatchback incorporates several cosmetic updates (inspired by the new Golf 8), as well as a number of high-end onboard technologies. The newcomer will go into production at VWSA's Uitenhage assembly plant in the latter half of the year and is expected to reach local showrooms in early 2022.
The Polo's styling has always erred on the side of conservativism – and that's still the case, although Volkswagen has ensured that its compact hatchback still looks youthful; it comes replete with new-gen VW emblems (which already debuted on local Polos late last year), an LED light bar across the hatchback's grille and, should you specify them that way, LED tail-light clusters with dynamic indicators.
The LED daytime running lights in the headlamp clusters are connected by the light bar integrated at the bottom of the grille.
The updated Polo can be distinguished by its revised bumpers and new-look LED headlamp- and tail-lamp clusters... Those at the rear are strongly inspired by the rear lights of the Golf 8, which will soon arrive in Mzansi in GTI guise, and optionally feature a "wiping" lighting effect as seen on the Touareg's tail-lights, for example. Polo lettering again appears beneath the fresh VW badge on the tailgate.
The dark blue metallic car shown here has the top-of-the-range R-Line trim, which includes sportier bumpers, new IQ.light matrix LED headlights (ostensibly as standard on the flagship derivative and upcoming GTI), LED fog lamps and 16-inch alloy wheels. Note the quartet of chrome-effect faux exhaust exits that are integrated into the gloss-black "diffuser" on the edge of the rear bumper.
Unfortunately, those racy-looking exhaust tips are just for show. The upcoming GTI will be a different story, however.
As for the interior of the updated Polo, it's been reported that an 8-inch digital instrument cluster (or 10.25 inches, for the Digital Cockpit Pro version) will become standard across the range, which means traditional dials appear to have been consigned to the scrapheap. The newcomer's (now Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-compatible) touchscreen infotainment system measures 6.5-inches, whereas an 8.0-inch or, for the first time, a 9.2-inch display can be specified at extra cost. The latter 2 setups incorporate Volkswagen’s We Connect connectivity (for real-time traffic info and live music streaming).
Note the subtle upgrades, which include subtle LED lighting and a "frameless" rear-view mirror...
Meanwhile, the safety technology offered as standard on the updated Polo, which is a compact hatchback model, after all, beggars belief: Volkswagen says that predictive ACC (adaptive cruise control) and lane-keeping assist will feature on every derivative. In the European market, at the very least, the Polo will be offered with the optional IQ.Drive Travel Assist semi-autonomous driving assistance system.
Here's how it works: IQ.Drive Travel Assist can take over the accelerating, braking and steering of the Polo, from standstill in auto derivatives and from a rolling 29 kph in manual cars; it works by combining the lane-keeping assistance and the predictive adaptive cruise control functions (as long as the driver keeps their hands on the wheel at all times).
Another addition to the newcomer's suite of standard safety features is a centre airbag, which opens towards the centre of the cabin in the event of an accident to protect the driver and front passenger.
Apart from a new multifunction steering wheel, electrically folding and heated side mirrors are fitted throughout the range. As the trim levels move up, the Polo gains 15-inch rather than 14-inch wheels, App-Connect, a centre armrest with an additional USB-C port in the middle of the passenger compartment and leather trim on the steering wheel and gear knob.
What's more, Polos equipped with automatic climate control feature a piano-black touch-sensitive panel with digital temperature readouts, below which an abutment with a pair of illuminated USB-C ports is fitted. Finally, a wireless smartphone charging pad (as shown below) can be ordered at extra cost.
Volkswagen is also set to re-align the Uitenhage-built car’s trim structure; apparently, the Trendline, Comfortline and Highline designations will fall away and be replaced by the Polo (standard), Life, Style and R-Line specifications. To reiterate, the newcomer will arrive in South African showrooms early in 2022 and an updated GTI hot hatch version will follow during the course of next year.