Subtle redesign hides significant mechanical updates to Volkswagen’s supermini, which goes on sale today
25 March 2014

The facelifted Volkswagen Polo has gone on sale, priced from £11,100, having made its debut at the Geneva motor show earlier this month.

The refreshed version of the fifth-generation Polo gains a number of customary mid-life exterior styling changes together with an upgraded interior and a range of new driver-assistance systems in a bid to boost sales five years after introduction.

The biggest changes, however, centre around the Polo’s three- and four-cylinder engines, which have been significantly updated or replaced by more contemporary units boasting improved performance and economy.

New to the petrol engine line-up are two three-cylinder 1.0-litre MPI units with either 59bhp or 74bhp, as well as two 1.2-litre four-cylinder TSI engines available with either 89bhp or 108bhp. The 1.4-litre TSI now comes with cylinder deactivation technology, and includes a power increase to 148bhp. 

Diesel engines include two new three-cylinder 1.4-litre TDI engines, with 74bhp and 89bhp respectively.

Described as significantly smoother and more flexible than predecessor engines, the 74bhp unit in the TDI BlueMotion model is claimed to develop peak torque of 155lb ft at 1500rpm for improved standing start and in-gear acceleration along with a combined 88.3mpg and 82g/km.

Even bigger fuel savings are made with the new 89bhp unit, which is claimed to have a 21 per cent reduction in consumption at 83.1mpg and 89g/km against the 65.7mpg and 112g/km of the earlier 89bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel it replaces.

Depending on the engine, buyers will be able to choose between a standard five or six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Volkswagen has also worked on improving the Polo’s ride and handling by providing it with an optional Sport Select suspension with two levels of damping stiffness along with a new electro-mechanical steering system.

Among the external styling changes made to the facelifted Polo is a new front bumper with added structure and larger air ducts together with a reworked grille whose horizontal emphasis aims to provide the strong selling hatchback with greater visual width.

The headlamps retain the same shape as before, but they are now available with an LED main beam function on upper-end models, giving the Polo a new night-time optic.

At the rear is a subtly restyled bumper with a wider cutout for the number plate, along with revised taillamps and altered graphics. Buyers will once again get to choose between 15-, 16- and 17-inch wheels depending on the trim line along with 15 different exterior colours, eight of which are described as new.

Mirroring efforts made on the larger VW Golf, Volkswagen has attempted to lift the perceived quality of the Polo’s interior with a new three-spoke steering wheel, altered instrument graphics and a revised centre console with new controls for the air-conditioning, the choice of either a 5.0- or 6.5-inch touchscreen monitor, a range of optional infotainment features and a new rear camera to ease parking.

The latest Volkswagen also receives a range of new driver assistance and safety systems, including a post collision braking system that automatically stops the car after a heavy impact, fatigue monitoring system, adaptive cruise control radar-controlled distance control that operates between 18mph and 100mph as well as a city emergency braking function with automatic braking at speeds below 18mph.

Standard Polo trim includes the new 5.0-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, and a height-adjustable driver's seat. SE trim adds 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, air-conditioning, a trim computer and the larger infotainment screen. SE Design includes 16-inch alloy wheels with new interior trim, while SEL adds front fog lights, front and rear parking sensors and a central armrest.

At the top of the range sits the Blue GT, which comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, lower sports suspension, sports seats and an electronic differential.

Prices for the facelifted Polo start at £11,100 for a 1.0-litre model in Standard trim, rising to £19,715 for a top-spec Blue GT version. First deliveries are scheduled for July.

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Polo

The fifth-generation Volkswagen Polo has junior Golf looks, but is that enough?

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Comments
11

25 March 2014
Good grief, that is tediously dull!

25 March 2014
As supermini's go it's brilliant. No other car in this class can make the driver feel they're driving a car many sizes up (including it's VAG cousins) + running costs will be low. Seems VW have also addressed one of the Polo's weak points - poor std spec. The only problem is list price because unlike many of it's rivals, don't expect huge discounts. In fact, don't even expect small discounts. In that respect, anything above entry model doesn't make sense.

25 March 2014
ronmcdonald wrote:

No other car in this class can make the driver feel they're driving a car many sizes up

Nonsense. Plenty of small cars do that now, and have done for many years. My old Mini Cooper (R56) felt like a much bigger car to drive than its size. My mother in law's Fiesta is very comfortable and relaxed, although the interior is fairly poor compared to the Polo.

25 March 2014
superstevie wrote:
ronmcdonald wrote:

No other car in this class can make the driver feel they're driving a car many sizes up

Nonsense. Plenty of small cars do that now, and have done for many years. My old Mini Cooper (R56) felt like a much bigger car to drive than its size. My mother in law's Fiesta is very comfortable and relaxed, although the interior is fairly poor compared to the Polo.

Interesting - the Fabia Mk1 achieved this, but the current Fabia feels like a small car. A relatively compliant ride, decent sound proofing and a sparse but high quality dashboard can make things feel much bigger and more special than they actually are - ,the Mk1 Clio, Mk2 Seat Ibiza (and Lupo/Arosa) and Mk1 Toyota Yaris are other good examples.

25 March 2014
Greg Kable was lucky he had Volkswagen PR folks to show him the "exterior styling changes" that he says Polo has gained. Us mortals would need a dealer sign telling the old from the new. The engine changes are however significant and the interior has moved positively from terribly dull to moderately so.

25 March 2014
£11,100 for entry spec is a bit over the top. Entry level for a car of that size and spec shouldn't be anywhere over £10,000 but hey, anything that allows VW to push the price of the Up range… well, up.

The BlueGT does sound a very interesting prospect however, best part of 150bhp available with excellent consumption/emission figures. Again, the pricing is a sticking point. May be worth waiting to see how prices compare when the new SEAT Ibiza is launched next year.

25 March 2014
bobbyanderson wrote:

May be worth waiting to see how prices compare when the new SEAT Ibiza is launched next year.

It probably would be better to wait for the new Ibiza next year, however, no one should be under the illusion that it will be all new from the ground up with the new MQB platform. Sources suggest that it will be an extensive facelift with updated mechanical (PQ25 platform) until an all new one arrives in 2017. The Skoda Fabia on the other hand, will probably be all new from the ground up with the new MQB platform as it currently uses an ancient version of the current Polo/Ibiza platform (PQ24) which is the same one used by its predecessor. On another note, the polo might be the best in its segment, but you have to cough up for it. There are other superminis that offer a little bit less, but don't require a premium price tag.

25 March 2014
I think this is a fairly decent tidying up of the Polo's exterior design, the new bumpers look a bit smarter, though I'm not too keen on the current fashion for stuffing loads of twiddly bits of plastic and lenses in the headlamp units. The mechanical revisions are welcome, and the dash looks better, but I hope that VW will be fitting better front seats in the car: The more contoured seats in the pics are currently only an option in the UK on the mainstream models, for me the standard ones are pretty flat and unsupportive.

25 March 2014
VW needs to be careful in how it pitches (and prices) its Polo, as it is, after all, just a "supermini" (albeit a premium one) ... Given the psychological entry point of such cars has always been "under £10,000", I'm surprised (am I really?) that the starting point here is the wrong side by some margin, especially given the lack of discounting from VW ...

25 March 2014
I suspect if you are serious about buying this polo at a discount then go armed with the fiesta brochure in one hand and 10 grand in the other, ask to speak to the senior sales manager and make it clear you can order at the right price today if a deal can be made. A visit at the end of the month should also work in your favour. Be clear that if a deal can't be secured then you can take your cash to where one can be made. Everything is negotiable. Good luck.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

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