The Polo becomes the most high-tech car in its segment.Following countless leaks, Volkswagen has introduced the brand-new 2017 Polo at the Frankfurt Auto Show.The Polo is positioned a notch below the Golf in dozens of global markets.
The sixth-generation model receives a more chiseled design. Its front end gets sharper headlights and a thin grille, design cues that bring it in line with bigger members of the Volkswagen lineup like the Euro-spec Passat. A beltline crease reduces visual mass, while the back end now features hexagonal lights.
The overall silhouette doesn't change much; it's still recognizable as a Polo, which is exactly what designers were aiming for.
Bigger changes are found under the sheet metal. The new model is lighter than its predecessor because it rides on the modular MQB platform. And yet, it's almost as big as a fourth-generation Golf. The increased dimensions make for a more spacious cabin.
The Polo is more high-tech than ever before, and certainly more tech-savvy than any of its current rivals. Well-equipped models feature a wide, high-resolution touch screen neatly integrated in the center stack, and a digital instrument cluster that can be configured to show a wide variety of information. Buyers can also order adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and start, LED headlights, and a blind spot information system.
At launch, buyers will be asked to choose from six three- and four-cylinder engines whose outputs range from 65 to 150 horsepower. For enthusiasts, the Polo GTI returns with a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four and an array of chassis upgrades.
The 2017 Volkswagen Polo will go on sale in January. In Germany, pricing starts at 12,975 euros, a sum that converts to roughly $14,500. Its competitors include the Ford Fiesta, the Peugeot 208, the Opel Corsa, and the Renault Clio.
Shoulda woulda coulda been sold here
Leftlane drove the last-generation Polo in Germany three years ago, when Volkswagen gave the car a mid-cycle update. During the launch event, we were told the new model could become the first to make landfall in the United States. At the time, gasoline was expensive and small, efficient cars were more popular than they had been in years.
A lot has changed since 2014, both in the automotive industry and at Volkswagen. We don't know how close executives came to approving a U.S.-spec Polo, but we're certain the plans to sell the hatchback on this side of the pond have been canned for good.