Perhaps the most important car to be showcased at the Geneva Motor Show this week is VW’s latest Polo.
New VW Polo - photos, info
Considering a softening of demand for some of its more expensive models, VW will see the fifth generation Polo as a key model to stabilise sales while automotive manufacturers continue to flounder in 2009.
Employing styling details from VW design boss Walter de Silva’s fertile mind, Polo essentially has the look of a slightly miniaturised Golf 6 (hardly surprising) with the narrow, low-set grille creating the illusion of excessive width. Proportions are fleshed out with a more defined shoulder and waistline adding balance to the flanks.
Bigger, more capacious
In terms of traceable dimensions Polo is now 36mm longer and 32mm wider, whilst sitting 13mm lower to the road.
Considering its hatchback utility configuration Polo's interior space is a key selling point and the new car sports 280 litres of luggage capacity behind the fifth door with the rear seats in place, 952 litres with the seats folded, which factors to improvements of 10 litres and 317 litresrespectively.
Interior still as dark and sombre as a German winter, shapes and textures more in-line with upmarket VW models now though. Seven-speed DSG gearbox will be an option.
Engineered for efficiency
Powering the fifth generation Polo will be a range of technologically advanced engines majoring on efficiency and low emissions. The new car is 7.5% (or roughly 76kg) lighter, which is an adult passenger weight advantage, helping to reduce fuel consumption.
Petrol biased customers can take option on either 44kW or 50kW three-cylinder 1.2-litre engines, which drive through a five-speed manual gearbox and return 5.5l/100km.
Matching consumption, with similar capacity yet employing TSI technology and featuring four-cylinders, is a new 1.2 TSI 77kW engine, which should provide a performance reprieve of sorts until the GTI arrives in 2010.
Featuring greater swept capacity and low grade fuel compatibility for developing markets is the venerable 1.4-litre four-cylinder with 62kW returning 5.9l/100km.
Compression ignition customers will be heartened by the presence of a new 1.6 TDI engine, producing a lowly 55kW, yet returning 4.2l/100km whilst only emitting 109g/km of CO2. The 1.6 TDI range can be trimmed out to three versions, with more powerful 66- and 77kW variants available.
Customers wishing to be even more environmentally aware can specify the Bluemotion package on the 66kW 1.6 TDI which lowers average consumption to only 3.8l/100km.
European specification cars will include hill hold control, a height adjustable driver’s seat, MP3 audio connectivity and ESP at the entry level buy-in point. Comfortline models add automatic air-conditioning and aluminium interior trim insets.
Highline models roll on 15-inch alloy wheels, feature chrome grille elements, leather steering wheel, driver’s sport seat and VW’s new multifunction display. Options include SatNav, static turning front headlights, hands-free phone functionality, whilst a panorama sunroof and bi-xenon headlights should become available as the range is rolled out later this year.
Safety is well catered for with a five-star EuroNCAP crash impact rating and thorax airbags now available too. The Polo will go on sale in Europe by July this year, and arrive in South Africa during the first quarter of 2010.