Volkswagen has been through some tough times of late, but that hasn't stopped it from constantly improving its already impressive product lineup. Having treated the Golf to a technology injection, the company has overhauled the Polo. It might serve as an entry point to the VW range, but the Polo packs a range of features passed down from its big brothers.
It might not be quite as well known as the Golf, but the Polo nameplate is an enduring member of the VW family. More than 14 million examples have been sold since it debuted in 1975, but the sixth-generation car launches into a class full of excellent rivals headlined by the fresh Ford Fiesta. Volkswagen has thrown the kitchen sink at this new car, although the evolutionary styling would suggest otherwise.
For starters, the car has grown in every direction. It's now more than 4 m (13.1 ft) long and 1.7 m (5.6 ft) wide, with a 2.56-m (8.4-ft) wheelbase. Not only is that wheelbase longer than the last Polo, it's longer than that on the Mk4 Golf. There's also more boot space in the new entry-level hatchback, and more headroom for all passengers – with the little up! sitting below it in the range, the Polo has grown significantly.
This upsizing extends to the in-cabin technology, with the new dashboard design neatly integrating a bigger 8-inch touchscreen, and the Virtual Cockpit now appearing on the option sheet. Adaptive cruise control, auto-emergency braking and blind-spot warnings are new for the Mk6 Polo, and the car will park itself in tight spots. A low-speed braking system will even help drivers avoid bollards or low kerbs when manoeuvring in tight spaces.
Along with all the technology on offer, the Mk6 Polo debuts a playful interior design streak rarely seen at Volkswagen. The large dashboard trim piece can be specced to match the exterior finish, and there are even some bright options for the seat covers. It looks great in pictures, especially when you compare it to the dour current model.
Power will come from a dizzying array of gasoline, diesel and natural gas engines. The gasoline range kicks off with a 1.0-liter engine making just 48 kW (64 hp), and extends to the range-topping Polo GTI producing 147 kW (198 hp) from its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. Fans of diesel can choose from two versions of the same 1.6-liter engine with 59 or 70 kW (79 or 94 hp), while the single natural gas-powered option produces 59 kW (89 hp).
Expect to hear more about the new Polo at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year. Prices will start at €12,795 (US$13,320).