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Coming soon: updated VW Polo

Fresh tech and a simplified range structure boost Volkswagen’s popular supermini in the competitive small car sector

Small cars remain a popular choice for British motorists, be they new drivers, as a second vehicle in a busy household or, increasingly, as a smart downsizing option for cash-savvy empty nesters tempted by ever improving refinement, performance and tech. Little wonder that VW is therefore updating its popular Polo to keep pace with other cars in the family based on the same platform, such as the recently updated Seat Ibiza and new Skoda Fabia.
This brings all three up to date, though it’s fair to say the Polo remains top of this particular family tree now being in its sixth generation and having sold more than 18 million examples worldwide in over 40 years of production. Volkswagen says this update ‘rationalises the model’s trim line-up’ into what it describes as the ‘familiar Y-structure’ of its product ranges, which basically translates into the core Life model and a split into comfort-oriented Style and sportier R-Line options. An updated GTI will also follow in due course.
Before that arrives all share variants of the same 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine with a five-speed manual gearbox in the 80 and 95 horsepower outputs. The latter also gets the option of a seven-speed DSG, the most powerful 110 horsepower version available exclusively with this automatic transmission. VW expects the 95 horsepower to be the most popular, the official 54.3mpg fuel consumption figure likely to go down well with buyers spooked by recent fuel shortages and the threat of rising pump prices to come. Saying that there’s still no hybrid, rivals like the Renault Clio and Toyota Yaris among those offering part-electrified powertrains at this level.
While the looks haven’t changed all that much big-car tech takes a bigger focus than ever, even the entry level model getting assisted driving features on all but the base engine, with LED headlights, active cruise control and VW’s Digital Cockpit also standard. Connectivity is also improved, with the ability to use your phone’s apps on the central screen via a cable or Bluetooth link. Style adds fancier LED ‘matrix’ headlights, climate control, bigger digital instrument display and built-in navigation while R-Line gets much of the same with a bodykit, sports seats and ‘microfleece’ upholstery. Prices start at just shy of £18,000 for the basic Life version, the updated GTI joining the range a little further down the line.

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