- How new is the new VW Polo?
- More three-cylinder engines, less consumption
- Catching up behind Ford
- First small car with distance radar
- Smartphone apps can be operated in the car
- "We are careful with the design"
- Gold in Germany, silver in Europe
How new is the new VW Polo?
Economical engines, state-of-the-art electronics – VW has put some technical effort into bringing the small car Polo up to the state of the art. Unfortunately, you can’t tell by looking at the car.
E.There’s a word that has gone out of style with automakers: facelift. It was never a nice word, but it had become common practice to call the overhaul of a car towards the middle of its life cycle that way. Today we prefer to say: New Generation.
In the case of the VW Polo, you can even think for half a minute whether this is really the “sixth generation”, as Heinz-Jakob Neuber, Head of Development, says. After all, the current Polo model has been on the market since 2009, which is five years. In these fast-moving times, you can also think about a completely new model.
But: If the new Polo were really new, it would also be on the current MQB (modular transverse matrix) platform, which applies to all really newly developed cars with transversely installed engines, from the Polo to the Passat.
More three-cylinder engines, less consumption
MQB is not provided here, so one could possibly agree on generation 5.5. Because the polo has already done a little more than a little cosmetics. Yes, the actual facelift, the treatment of the face, can only be seen at second glance, whereas the Polo’s big issues are infotainment, assistance systems and engines.
With the new Polo, which will be available from dealers at the end of April, VW is expanding its range of three-cylinder engines, and the four-cylinder engine will even be completely eliminated from the diesel variants. Whether 75, 90 or 105 PS – all Polo TDI now use a new three-cylinder with 1.4 liter displacement.
Even the weakest model has 210 Newton meters of torque available, and especially at very low engine speeds, the power has been further increased, from 150 to 180 Newton meters – this should give the Polo TDI better starting properties.
There is still no way to check this with a test drive, but measured values have at least already been published: The standard consumption of the 75 PS TDI has then fallen from 3.4 to 3.2 l / 100 km. The biggest step, however, was made by the 90 hp model with dual clutch transmission: from 4.3 to 3.4 liters of standard consumption, that is a saving of 21 percent.
Catching up behind Ford
The four petrol engines make 60, 75, 110 and 150 hp. The two more powerful engines are each 1.2-liter four-cylinder, the entry-level versions now use the three-cylinder with just one liter displacement, which is also found in the VW Up is used.
In addition, in the second half of the year there will be a 90-hp turbo version of the three-cylinder engine with only 4.1 liters of standard consumption – 0.8 liters less than the current 90-hp Polo.
The move to smaller engines is the right one, as VW was also the first major manufacturer to take it – only when it comes to three-cylinder Ford has now made headway. The one-liter engine is now available in four series, it is even offered in the USA, and it won the title of "International Engine of the Year" twice in a row.
VW still has some catching up to do, but in an interview with the “Welt” board member, Neuss also confirms that the Up and Polo will not remain the only models that are equipped with three-cylinder engines.
First small car with distance radar
As small as the engines of the Polo are, so is the cost of the chassis and electronics. Neuss speaks of “democratization”, which is another word in the auto industry. It means that previously expensive technologies are now also being built into smaller cars, making them affordable for a wider range of customers.
The Polo is the first small car to have adaptive cruise control – of course, only for an extra charge, but at least. This technology can be coupled with the Front Assist environment monitoring system, which warns the Polo driver optically, acoustically and with brief automatic braking if he is getting too close to another car – if necessary, the car is even braked to a standstill, however not with maximum brake pressure.
Like all comparable systems, Front Assist cannot prevent the accident, it can only mitigate its consequences – but the emergency stop with full pressure still generates the city emergency braking function if the Polo is not driving faster than 30 km / h.
The Polo is equipped as standard with the multi-collision brake, which was first used in the Golf: If the driver no longer has control of the car after an accident, it is automatically braked to a standstill to prevent subsequent collisions.
Smartphone apps can be operated in the car
And so that an accident does not occur at all, the Polo can now also be equipped with drowsiness detection. On the basis of conspicuous movement patterns on the steering wheel, the steering wheel recognizes that the driver needs a break and advises him twice every 15 minutes.
The new infotainment systems are more about having fun in the car: Just one and a half years after the modular infotainment kit (MIB) was introduced in the Golf, the Polo is getting the first MIB 2.0 generation devices.
In addition to large touchscreens with proximity sensors (as soon as the hand approaches, important buttons are displayed), navigation, iPod integration and a reversing camera, there is also the so-called mirror link function for the first time in a VW.
This allows apps to be transferred from the driver’s smartphone to the Polo‘s infotainment system, and they can then also be operated on the car’s touchscreen. Of course, this does not work with every program (word processing while driving would be counterproductive), the focus is primarily on entertainment apps such as music and audio books.
"We are careful with the design"
At the end of the day, Neuss, Head of Development, is very nice about the rather inconspicuous external changes to the Polo. “30 percent of our customers buy the Polo because of its design, compared to only 19 percent of the previous model. That is why we are careful with the design. "
This is how you can paraphrase that the new Polo is not really new despite all the technological advances. But the next completely redesigned model is already in the works; you can expect it in two or three years at the latest, then of course on the basis of the modular transverse matrix (MQB). And with the option of deriving more derivatives such as SUV, station wagon, coupe from it at low cost.
The fact that the current car lasted five years without changes is due, among other things, to the major strategic switch to the MQB platform, which applies across the group – the individual models have to stand in line, and it can happen that one Revision comes a little later than expected.
Gold in Germany, silver in Europe
It didn’t harm the Polo: In Germany it is still number one in the small car class, and in Europe it ranks second behind the Ford Fiesta. The popular Ford now has to be pushed from the throne – and in order for that to work out, VW uses an argument that would otherwise not be so superficial, namely the price.
Despite all the innovations such as the electromechanical power steering, the multi-collision brake and the EU6 classification of the engines, the Polo is no more expensive than its predecessor, it is still available from 12,450 euros.
"world"-Reporter Stefan Anker regularly tweets spontaneous car news and observations from everyday driving and testing and is pleased if you are here click and follow him. Or check out his Facebook page past.
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