The renewed Polo shows Golf features. At the rear, the similarities are greatest: the taillights are no longer simple squares, but Golf-like light units with a spur in the trunk lid. And as with other new Volkswagen models, a logo on the back is no longer enough. The word 'Polo' is underneath it. At the front, the new, sporty lower bumper stands out. In combination with the illuminated strip (optional) that connects the new LED headlights, you can easily mistake the renewed Polo for a Golf.
In the interior, analog makes way for digital. There is a screen behind the wheel of every Polo. The normal Digital Cockpit is 20 centimeters in size, but we recommend paying 310 euros extra for the 26 centimeters Digital Cockpit Pro on which the navigation map also appears. Of course you have to order a Polo with a navigation system.
The two big new features this facelift is all about are IQ.Light and IQ.Drive. The first is a hip term for LED Matrix headlights that do not dazzle fellow road users (standard on the Style). IQ.Drive is a combination of adaptive cruise control and active lane assist. This means that the Polo automatically stays in the middle of the lane and maintains the speed and distance set by you. For example, the new Polo already drives semi-autonomously from the Life version (one version above the basic version). He does that smoothly; the speed controller doesn't panic when a car pulls in in front of you.
Volkswagen is under the spell of digitization, but does not trot on. We're thrilled that there are regular buttons on the steering wheel instead of the touch-trampling you find in other modern Volkswagens.
At the same time, the designers could not resist to exchange the cluster of physical buttons of the climate control for touch buttons and sliders. We don't think that's such a disaster, because you clearly feel the dimple where you have to put your finger in and the red and blue icons, you see from the corner of your eye. Because of this you almost always hit.
The Volkswagen Polo remains a beautiful total package. Among the minor adjustments is the same car as four years ago. Its pluses do not expire. The one-litre turbo engine is well-suited to its duties, the cabin is still above average spacious, the chassis is comfortable and the steering remains just as predictable as your slightly racist neighbour.
The new Volkswagen Polo is not electric in any way. It's not even available as a mild hybrid. Now that the electric revolution is raging so fiercely in the car world, that is strange. Especially since Volkswagen itself is taking the lead with the ID.3 and ID.4. The reason why there are no electrified versions of the Polo (or the Skoda Fabia or the Seat Ibiza) is simple: it's too expensive, because the platform doesn't lend itself to it.
As a result, there is little to choose from in the engine area: a 95 hp turbo engine with a five-speed manual transmission (!) or the 1.0 TSI with 110 hp and a seven-speed automatic transmission. That DSG transmission likes quiet drivers; when we spontaneously floor the accelerator, it needs a lot of time to think. The 1.0 MPI base engine is discussed below. Where is the familiar six-speed gearbox in combination with 115 hp from the previous Polo? It won't come back.
The adaptive cruise control of IQ.Drive has predictive abilities, dictated by the route in the navigation system. The idea is that the car slows down for approaching roundabouts and the like. But those gifts don't work flawlessly. When the navigation system asks us to leave the highway, the Polo signals that the exit further on is a bend. To our horror, he brakes immediately on the exit to 70 km/h - the bend is still far away. As soon as we hit '70', it falls back to the 'previous' speed of 100 km/h and accelerates at full speed into the now reached bend. Polo, what are you doing right now? You can disable this function.
The renewed Polo is already at the dealer and Volkswagen has devised an ingenious pricing policy. For example, your attention is drawn to a base price of under 20 mille, but then you get the Polo 1.0 MPI and you do not want that engine. It has no turbo and is only 80 hp and 93 Nm strong. The sprint from 0 to 100 km/h takes three weeks. In addition, you do not want the basic version but the Life of 23,890 euros, because it has the IQ.Drive package with adaptive cruise control and other luxury items.
Basically you're a thief of your own wallet if you don't upgrade the Life version to the Life Business. For 900 euros more you get a larger touchscreen with navigation, a wireless phone charger and parking sensors front and rear. Plus heated front seats – ideal for quick warm-up in autumn and winter. Such a chic car naturally requires beautiful wheels and a cheerful or cool color. The result: 25,872 euros. Despite the hefty amount, you are still happy with yourself, because you have made smart choices. Even if you say so yourself.
Everything about how the new Volkswagen Polo drives, sits and feels is familiar and correct. When the current Polo came on the market in 2017, it was already such an adult model that you could comfortably cover large distances. Now even more so, since most versions have ID.Drive with adaptive cruise control. And thanks to its outward resemblance to the Golf, the Polo's design is now as mature as its handling.
Craving more information about the new Polo? You can read the extensive driving test in Auto Review 12. Enter your email address and we'll let you know when it's ready.
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