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Volkswagen Polo gets a new look, interior updates - and updated tech

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Easily one of South Africa’s most popular cars, the VW Polo enjoys great popularity among consumers. Classy styling, solid build quality and a great driving experience are among the myriad hallmarks of the little Volkswagen. This shows in the sales figures. Recently, VWSA announced impressive sales figures, the brand shifting 55 000 vehicles in the first 10 months of 2021. 16 454 Polo’s were sold in this year alone, an impressive feat. 

The Polo is a driving factor behind Volkswagen’s success and, to keep it fresh and contemporary, the Wolfsburg-based carmaker has given it’s B-segment hatchback a facelift. Proudly South African, the hatchback is built in the Eastern Cape, with 80% of total Polo production exported internationally. 

So, what’s different? For a start, the bumper and tailgate have been revised, with the head- and taillamps receiving fresh clusters. LED technology is now standard. Up front, VW’s IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlamps make an appearance which work in conjunction with the signature LED light strip. The stylish addition now forms part of the radiator grille. Eight exterior colours are available, with four being new - Ascot Grey, Smoky Grey Metallic, Kings Red Metallic and Vibrant Violet Metallic.

Inside, a host of new tech features are to be found. VW says the Polo now boasts a Digital Cockpit which, together with the infotainment system, creates a “coherent digital cockpit landscape.” R-Line and GTI models now have touch panels and sliders to replace the conventional buttons found on the two-zone climate control panel. Other updates include a redesigned multi-function steering wheel.

Depending on the trim level, the Polo is available with a choice of three infotainment systems. The most basic option is the 6.5-inch Composition Colour, followed by the 8.0-inch Composition Media display and, lastly, an 8.0-inch Discover Media system which is packed with features; navigation, wireless App-Connect, Voice Control, inductive mobile charging and a multi-colour Digital Cockpit Pro. This is available as an optional extra on Life, R-Line and GTI models.

Also available as an option is the IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist feature. This brings together the functions of the new, predictive Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist, which enables semi-automated driving. When IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist is active, the German hatchback is able to brake, steer and accelerate automatically - within system limits.

Furthermore, Front Assist and Pedestrian Monitoring is also available.

Also new (and specific to the facelift) is the new naming convention. Previously, the little VW was available in Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. The new line-up consists of Polo (base model), Polo Life (mid-range) and R-Line (range-topper). A GTI will, of course, be made available. 

Even the entry-level Polo receives LED head- and taillamps, as well as electric windows and colour-coded mirror caps and door handles. The Life receives a few more niceties, including 15-inch alloy wheels and a leather-trimmed gear knob and steering wheel.

R-Line models receive the striking bodykit that’s associated with the trim level, sporty 16-inch alloy wheels, two-zone climate control and inductive mobile charging.

Those wanting the finest Polo money can buy will have to opt for the GTI. Aside from the aforementioned luxuries, GTI models receive additional specification. Sports suspension lowers the vehicle by 15 mm, providing an edgy look and more dynamic handling. GTI calling cards, the honeycomb grille and red pinstripe detailing, are also present.

The facelifted GTI also receives various driving modes, which can be adapted according to the driver’s mood. Eco, Individual, Normal and Sport are the four choices available. 

In SA, three turbopetrol engines will be made available. Polo and Polo Life models receive the 70 kW/175 Nm 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine which needs 10.8 seconds to reach 100 km/h. This engine is equipped with a five-speed manual transmission. The more powerful 85 kW/200 Nm derivative is mated to a seven-speed DSG ‘box and, despite having more power, is a touch slower to 100 km/h, needing 11.3 seconds to complete the sprint. This engine/gearbox combo is only available on Life and R-Line models.

Lastly, the GTI, with its 2.0-litre turbopetrol engine, is decidedly quick. With 147 kW/320 Nm, it blitzes the 100 km/h run in just 6.7 seconds.

Volkswagen SA is yet to confirm pricing, but will do so closer to the launch date. Expect to see models, available in dealers, from January 2022.

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