Volkswagen Takes The Polo Off-Road With A New Robust Variant

This particular off-road ready Polo was built by Volkswagen Brazil for use in the nation’s farms. 

Some time ago now back in the late 2000s, Volkswagen had rather amazingly foresaw the crossover trend and brought about the CrossPolo. This particular off-roadified subcompact lasted for two generations, before unfortunately being unceremoniously killed off before this latest iteration. 

Though while the CrossPolo may be dead right now, the idea of a jacked up version of this small hatchback nevertheless lives on still in Brazil as the recently revealed Polo Robust. A Polo which going by its press bumph at least, was developed specifically “developed and tested with customers in the agricultural sector”

Based upon the standard Polo Track — that in itself is a stripped-out, budget-friendly version of the latest Polo for the South American market — this supposedly farmer’s friend of a subcompact German hatchback nets raised front and rear suspension for increased ground clearance over rough terrain. Found on its exterior too is the “Robust” lettering on the tailgate and an optional front grille protector, which the automaker recommends specifically for rural areas and farms.

The Polo Robust’s nameplate nature continues further on with the pair of optional packages VW is offering to go along with this agricultural special subcompact. The first of which brings with it harder-wearing vinyl seat covers and rubber floor mats, while the second tacks on a similarly rubberised boot cover and a trailer hitch at the back of this subcompact hatchback.

Under the hood of the Polo Robust is the sole option of a naturally aspirated 1.0-litre three-pot that, rather curiously for the an off-road-centric variant, drives only the front set of its 14-inch steel wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. The rather cool thing about this particular power plant however (for those not in South America at least) is for it to be capable of running on both petrol and bio-ethanol, with it making 7 hp more than the standard 76 hp when running on the grinder blend of fuel.

This particular Polo slots in beneath the Saveiro compact and Amarok mid-sized pickups as the Volkswagen’s utilitarian offerings in Brazil. The Robust name was incidentally previously used on the Saveiro Robust edition in 2020.

Just as an interesting side note too, the Polo is the German automaker’s most popular model in Brazil. In fact, this particular VW is second only to the Fiat Strada as the country’s top-selling car for 2023.  

Joshua Chin

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

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