21 April 2021 ~ 2 Comments

2022 Volkswagen Polo revealed: all you need to know

The covers have been taken off the 2022 Volkswagen Polo, a refreshed version of the sixth-generation model, ahead of its online world premiere tomorrow morning. The biggest headlines are changes to the front and rear ends with new bumpers and LED lights; a more digital interior; and the arrival of a centre interior airbag and Level 2 autonomy, both firsts in the small car class.

What does the new Polo look like?
As expected from Volkswagen, with a model update, it was always going to be evolution, not revolution. The new Polo is still recognisable as the sixth-generation car, especially in side profile where the striking ‘tornado’ line is very much still in evidence, but tweaks to the front and rear ends and a new range of colours and wheels make it look sharper.

At the front, a new set of LED headlights mark out the newest member of the Polo family, linked by a light bar set into the bottom of the grille, similar to the eighth-generation Golf and new ID range. The headlights also have a lower edge at the outside edges for a more varied shape, and along with new bumper infill treatments distinguish the new Polo from the old.

The rear is where the biggest changes can be seen. A new pair of tail light clusters echo those seen on Golf 8 and other new Volkswagens. Now two-piece units, which split when the tailgate is opened, the new lamps have LED tech, progressive ‘swiping’ indicators, and sharper graphics. Giving the rear end a T-Roc look, along with new central badging, there’s no mistaking the new Polo for the outgoing model.

Four new colours also help with differentiation. The brightest, Vibrant Violet, is not for, ahem, shrinking violets, while Kings Red is also seen on the latest Golf GTI. Ascot Grey and Smoke Grey cater for more discerning clientele. Sadly, Energetic Orange, our favourite from the outgoing car’s colour palette, has disappeared. A range of new wheels lift the visuals further.

And what about the interior – is it fully digital?
Volkswagen has resisted the need to make the new Polo’s interior completely and fully digital like that of the eighth-generation Golf, but more digitisation has crept in. Looking very similar to the outgoing model’s cabin, the new Polo’s interior still features a rotary lighting control, but loses the physical buttons on the infotainment system, which now comes in sizes from 6.5 inches to 9.2 inches. The 8.0-inch Ready2Discover and Discover Media, and 9.2-inch Discover Pro systems use VW’s latest MIB3 modular infotainment matrix, with the Ready2Discover unit available with an option to retrospectively activate navigation functions.

An integrated eSIM gives the MIB3 units enhanced functionality and selected We Connect access, with the option of streaming services such as Apple Music, and even personalised Volkswagen ID settings saved in the Cloud for use in other vehicles. Shared with the outgoing Polo, App-Connect Wireless for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is also available.

Digitised instruments now come in 8.0-inch Digital Cockpit and 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro sizes, and are standard on all new Polos. If the Climatronic climate control system is specified, operation of this goes digital, too. Volkswagen has come in for some criticism with the latest system in Golf 8, which uses digital slider controls, so the addition of these touch panels could be a controversial move. Situated on the lower centre console where the heating and ventilation controls were before, on the new Polo, all functions are illuminated and below the module are two illuminated USB-C ports and a compartment for wireless smartphone charging where fitted. Above the module is a Golf-8 ambient lighting strip for added style.

What engines power the new Polo?
As with the current Polo, a range of three petrol engines power the new model. Starting with a 79bhp naturally-aspirated unit, a pair of 94 and 108bhp TSI turbocharged engines join it. The trio of three-cylinders share a displacement of 999cc, and as far as PoloDriver can tell, are carried over from the outgoing car. In terms of transmissions, the 79bhp and 94bhp units are fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox, the higher output model also available with a seven-speed DSG. The 108bhp TSI comes as standard with the DSG transmission.

The range-topping Polo GTI will have a power bump to over 200bhp (see below), and that’s quite a jump from the 108bhp unit. At the virtual preview of the new model, Dr Hendrik Muth, head of product marketing, Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, stated that while the 1.5-litre 148bhp TSI from the Golf isn’t due to be part of the new Polo range at the moment, it could be introduced later, but he didn’t believe there would be the need.

In selected markets, the CNG-powered Polo TGI will continue. Its 89bhp natural gas and petrol engine, which is good for a 125-mile gas range and combined 89-93g/km of CO2 emissions is shared with the current Polo.

But, will there be a new Polo GTI?
Hold your horses – all 204 of them! Yes, even though the Polo GTI was removed from the UK brochure in late 2020, there will be a new version. Due to be unveiled in summer 2021, the new car will pack a 204bhp punch (7bhp more than the model it replaces), with UK sales starting in early 2022. We don’t expect a change from the trusted EA888 ‘3B’ 2.0-litre four-cylinder when it comes to engine.

What trim levels make up the new Polo range?
The new Polo adopts Volkswagen’s latest trim level nomenclature. For the German market, the car will be available in Polo, Life, Style, R-Line and GTI versions. All new Polos have LED lights, body coloured door mirrors and handles as standard, in addition to a new multifunction steering wheel and lane assist technology . The entry level ‘Polo’ model – there hasn’t been one with that simple a name since the 1980s! – also gets 8.0-inch Digital Cockpit instruments, air conditioning, as well as a 6.5-inch Composition Media colour infotainment system.

Life models gain App-Connect, a centre armrest, a leather finish on the steering wheel and gear lever, a second USB-C port and 15-inch alloy wheels (the ‘Polo’ has 14-inch rims). For the UK market, Life will be the entry level Polo model, and will be unique in that it will also come with the 79bhp engine, alongside the 94bhp unit. Life is also expected to be the top-selling Polo trim in the UK, estimated to take around 70 per cent of sales. The Polo Life 94bhp five-speed manual is forecast to be the most popular variant.

Style models add ‘IQ Light’ LED matrix headlights, a Polo first. Outside, the Polo Style features chrome bumper highlights and 15-inch ‘Ronda’ alloys. Inside, there is the 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro instruments, ambient lighting, 8.0-inch Ready2Discover infotainment system, and a Deep Iron-coloured dashpad. Park assist technology is also standard.

The Polo R-Line tops the model range until the GTI arrives. Gloss black highlights and a subtle body kit consisting of front and rear bumpers – with diffuser and chrome exhaust finishers – and a spoiler mark out the new sportiest Polo, and compliment the 16-inch ‘Valencia’ rims. The cabin features the Ready2Discover infotainment system, a Dark Grey dashpad and ‘Karoso’ fabric.

A wide options list includes a Beats Audio sound system, keyless entry, a panoramic sunroof, rear privacy glass, sports running gear (15mm lower than standard) with electronic differential lock and driver profile selection, voice control, and alloy wheels up to 17 inches in size.

How safe is the new Polo?
Firsts for the Polo and for the small car class include a centre airbag and Level 2 autonomous driving functions. Located on the driver side on the side of the rear seat backrest, the centre airbag opens towards the middle of the vehicle in an accident and prevents the driver and front passenger knocking into each other during a crash. A new lap belt tensioner also tensions the seat belt around the pelvis.

Travel Assist – which debuted on the Passat – is available on the new Polo, too, and allows Level 2 driving automation at speeds up to 130mph (where permitted). The IQ Drive Travel Assist system features a bundle of assisted driving functions including adaptive cruise control and lane assist. Side assist and rear traffic alert systems are also available, as well as autonomous and city emergency, and automatic post-collision braking functions. A driver alert system also warns drivers to take a necessary break.

How practical is the new Polo?
With barely any change to the body dimensions of the outgoing model, the newest Polo is just as easy to thread through city streets. Its 4,053mm length, 1,751mm width and 1,446mm height are unchanged, as is its 351-litre luggage capacity. The large 2,564mm wheelbase affords the same interior space as before, too.

When will the new Polo go on sale?
Almost four years into the lifecycle of the sixth-generation Polo, and after being snapped testing in Germany, an updated model was known to be imminent, just perhaps not quite this early into 2021. Advanced German sales of the new Polo start in calendar week 19 – 10-16 May 2021 – with a market launch in Germany at the end of September. UK order books will open in Q3 2021, with first customer deliveries beginning in Q4.

Anything else I need to know?
The new Polo will be built in its traditional plant of Pamplona in Spain (Polos were first built there in 1984), along with Uitenhage in South Africa. Prices will start at around €16,000 when the new Polo hits the German market at the end of September 2021; UK prices and trim specifics are yet to be released. There will be no diesel Polo, which will make little change, as there hasn’t been a Polo TDI in the UK range since 2019.

A best-selling VW with 18 million units sold over the past 46 years, the new evolution of the Polo features a raft of technological and stylistic updates. Over the coming months, PoloDriver.com will update its pages with a bespoke detailed section about the new model, so keep coming back to find out more about the latest generation of Volkswagen’s perennial and popular small car, and don’t forget to tune into the online world premiere on 22 April at 11am CEST/10am BST.

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