6th Gen Volkswagen Polo Facelift Launched Internationally

We in Malaysia meanwhile are still stuck with the previous iteration Polo kicking around in showrooms. 

Volkswagen has recently announced a pretty significant update for its Polo subcompact hatchback. Arriving some four years after this particular sixth generation debut in 2017, this facelift here adds a refreshed exterior aesthetic, more tech within its interior and Level 2 autonomous driving capabilities. 

Starting with the exterior changes first, this facelifted German hatchback gains a look that is now more similar to the Mk8 Golf. A feat that can be mainly attributed to the reprofiled bumpers both front and rear, as well as a redesigned tailgate with the Polo script now sitting centrally beneath the simplified Volkswagen badge.  

This facelift adds LED headlights and taillights as standard to the Polo too, not to mention the availability on the options list for IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights. First appearing on the Touareg SUV, these fancy headlights also bring with it an illuminated strip on the bottom edge of the front grille connecting both the headlight clusters on higher end variants.   

Moving inside, the facelifted Polo gains a primarily tech-based refresh courtesy of an updated central infotainment touchscreen (6.0-inch as standard, with up to 9.2-inch as an option) and a now-standard Active Info Display digital instrument cluster (8.0-inch as standard, going up to 10.25-inch on more premium trim levels). Other notable interior revisions include a new multifunction steering wheel design, the inclusion of a wireless charging pad on some variants not to mention the new slider-style HVAC controls alá Golf Mk8. 

Now continuing on the added tech with this Polo, this German subcompact has also gained the IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist system as an option. Essentially Volkswagen lingo for Level 2 autonomous driving, this feature combines predictive Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist to allow for partly autonomous driving of this tiny VW at speeds of up to 210 km/h. 

Another nifty feature added to the Polo on the safety department would be its central airbag. Available across the model lineup, this airbag that is located within the rear seat backrest of the driver’s seat will open towards the centre of the vehicle to protect the driver and front passenger colliding into each other in the event of an accident. 

Coming with an expansive range of trim levels (more information in the press release below) but the same petrol three-cylinder powertrains (ranging from 80 hp to 110 hp), this facelifted Polo will be arriving in Volkswagen dealerships internationally sometime in the third quarter of the year. The hot GTI variant meanwhile is slated to come sometime early next year. 

The more pertinent question though in a more local context is when exactly is this iteration of Polo even making it over to our shores? Considering that the sixth generation of this compact Volkswagen has been around long enough for a mid-life refresh, why are we still seeing 5th generation models kicking around in the VW dealerships in Malaysia?

PRESS RELEASE: With more than 18 million units built, the Polo is one of the world’s most successful compact cars. Now, in a world premiere, Volkswagen is set to unveil the next evolutionary stage of the Polo; presales will start in May already. The design, technologies and specification matrix of the bestseller have had a comprehensive update, as is immediately obvious when you see the vehicle’s new front and rear. And the range of standard equipment has been expanded significantly. On board every model you will now find: LED headlights and LED tail light clusters, the Digital Cockpit (digital instruments), an infotainment system and a multifunction steering wheel, among other things. In addition, the Polo now offers partly automated driving across its entire speed range thanks to the optional IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist system. Other new features include interactive IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights and operation of the automatic air conditioning via touchscreen.

The new Polo uses technologies that have previously only been available in higher vehicle classes. For example, there is the optional assist system IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist. Available for the first time in the Polo class, this brings together the new predictive ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) and Lane Assist – which now comes as standard in every Polo – to create a new assist system that enables partly automated driving. The fact is: you’d struggle to find another car in this class that offers such an innovative spectrum of assist systems as the Polo. The new IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights are another technological highlight of the Polo; this interactive lighting system was used for the first time in the Touareg luxury SUV.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen has reconfigured the specification packages: the configurator now starts with the Polo version, and continues with Life, Style and R-Line. Even the entry-level model, the Polo, now boasts a significantly wider range of standard equipment. This includes LED headlights, LED tail light clusters, a multifunction steering wheel and Lane Assist. Another new addition is the centre airbag. Located on the driver side on the side of the rear seat backrest, this airbag opens toward the centre in the event of an accident, protecting the driver and front passenger. In addition, Volkswagen has now incorporated the Digital Cockpit (digital instruments with an 8.0-inch display) into the basic equipment. And there is a range of other features that are now fitted as standard: the air conditioning system, the Composition Media audio system with 6.5-inch monitor, a Bluetooth mobile phone interface, exterior mirrors that can be electrically adjusted and heated, and electric windows throughout the vehicle. The next level up is the specification package Life. This includes additional standard features such as 15-inch rather than 14-inch wheels, App-Connect, a centre armrest with an additional USB-C port in the middle of the passenger compartment and leather trim on the steering wheel and gear knob.

Like the Life, the two new premium equipment packages, Style and R-Line, follow the nomenclature that was introduced with the current Golf. Style and R-Line have different emphases, but are at a similar level in terms of their specifications. The expanded range of equipment for the Polo Style includes the IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights. Other exterior features include the distinctive front end with chrome-look crossbars, LED fog lights and 15-inch Ronda alloy wheels. Also among the expanded range of features is the Park Distance Control system. Inside, there are a range of additional details such as the 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro (including image of caller, Coverflow, map view and Slide Show), background lighting and the 8-inch Infotainment system Ready2Discover, which includes App-Connect Wireless. With Ready2Discover, customers have the option of retrofitting the navigation system as a feature on demand.

Just one look at the new Polo R-Line’s highly individual exterior reveals its sporty character. The bumpers are distinguished from those of all other Polo versions by their striking R design. In the front bumper, the high-gloss black cross and longitudinal bars of the air intakes and their surround convey a charismatic sense of dynamism. Here too, IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights and LED fog lights are fitted as standard. A diffuser – once again in high-gloss black – with chrome-look integrated exhaust panels in the lower part of the vehicle rear distinguishes this area from the Polo, Life and Style equipment versions. And the 16-inch Valencia alloy wheels are fitted on the Polo R-Line as standard. Like the Polo Style, the Polo R-Line comes equipped with the Ready2Discover Infotainment system.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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