18 March 2023 ~ 1 Comment

2023 Volkswagen ID 2all concept: could it be an electric Polo?

Volkswagen has announced details of its latest ID-badged electric car, and the ID 2all concept points to not only a potential reset of VW’s EV recipe, but also the brand itself. PoloDriver.com editor Rich Gooding gets a bit hot under the collar…

On the evening of 15 March 2023, Volkswagen live-streamed a world premiere of a new car. The reveal was trailed beforehand to be the latest member of its ID electric car family, and VW stayed true to its promise, pulling the covers off a brand-new concept version of its small EV, the ID 2.

However, I, like most, was expecting a mini-SUV, as hinted at by the previous ID Life concept car of 2021. What was revealed, though, was much more ‘traditional’. Much more ‘typical Volkswagen’. In short, the ID 2all’s arrival is a very pleasant surprise.

The live reveal focused on Volkswagen’s ‘reinvention’ to become more of a ‘love brand’ (ick) again, leaning heavily on its more traditional values of emotion and ‘top quality’. These have arguably been absent from the first batch of ID models and the ID 2all offers the chance of a reset. New focuses on brand, customers, and products were prominent messages.

‘We are transforming Volkswagen rapidly and fundamentally – with the clear objective of making Volkswagen a genuine Love Brand. The ID 2all shows where we want to take the brand: close to the customer, top technologies and a fantastic design. We are implementing transformation at a pace to bring electric mobility to the masses’
Thomas Schäfer, CEO, Volkswagen Passenger Cars

As if to highlight this, VW’s history was showcased with a parade of past models – including the stunning 1975 Bahama Blue Polo restored by Volkswagen Classic for the 2015 Techno Classica Essen show which celebrated 40 years of the Polo nameplate – the ‘back to its roots’ message was loud and clear. And in my opinion, that’s no bad thing.

Nostalgic brouhaha
Once all the nostalgic brouhaha was out of the way, the lights dimmed, the music volume was raised and the ID 2all appeared from the wings of the Hamburg stage. And I was instantly transfixed. Here was no mini-SUV; here was a car which referenced VW styling cues from the past – parallel Golf 4 rear bumper and door shut lines in particular – and had the appearance, and dimensions of a Polo. Which got me excited.

While new VW Passenger Cars CEO Thomas Schäfer hasn’t confirmed plans to ditch the Polo nameplate with the demise of internal combustion-engined cars in the coming years, there has been no confirmation it will stay either. When the lights went up on the ID 2all, there looked to be hope.

Apparently designed and built in around six weeks by new Volkswagen Passenger Cars head of design designer Andreas Mindt and his team, the car was ordered by management – including Schäfer – when the ID Life idea was halted. Some have commented that the ID 2all looks like it was an old concept dusted off and given a sprinkle of contemporary style, but I disagree.

Yes, there are nods to VWs past – and the front even looks similar to a ‘9N3’ Polo BlueMotion with its faired-in grille – but I think it’s a neat design, helped by the way the bright metallic blue paint finish – similar to Volkswagen’s Rising Blue shade – popped under the lights at the Hamburg reveal. Indeed, it was the paint finish that immediately reminded me of the 2001 Polo S1600 rally car prototype when I first saw the ID 2all from the rear. The car is also said to preview a new Volkswagen design language.

Other design highlights include the crease which runs from the front wheel arch, through the – standard production – door handle and rises sharply, meeting the door rear window corner. The lights in the full-width rear bar have echoes of Range Rover Evoque in their 3D effect, while the 20-inch wheels recall the 17-inch ‘Santa Monica’ rims which were an option on some models of the fourth-generation Golf. As it stands, the ID 2all is said to reflect around 80 per cent of the production car.

Inside, there’s a more geometric dashboard than the current family of ID models. Textured cloth material features on the dash top itself, and on the door cards, just like Volkswagens of old. In front of the driver is a 10.9-inch colour display, the infotainment screen in the centre two inches larger in size. Volkswagen says that the system has a ‘new menu structure’ – partly controlled by a rotary dial in the floating centre console – aiming to answer criticisms relating to the current family of ID cars.

Interestingly, the interior of the reveal concept car looked to use a production Polo 6 interior. YouTube content creator Nobby On Cars stated that it was disclosed that the show car’s interior isn’t the ‘finished product’. The car in the press images reveals the concept’s interior proper, which may suggest there may be more than one prototype in existence…

One neat interior feature of the press image car is a function which allows the instrument panel to display information in the style of a classic Beetle, or a late Mk 1 Golf-era water-cooled VW. In fact, the Beetle, Golf and Polo were all specifically mentioned at the reveal event relating to the ID 2all design, Mindt stating that, ‘We are transferring the DNA of our icons into the future. The ID 2all is therefore also an homage to the Beetle, Golf and Polo.’

MEB Entry platform
Of those three cars, only the Golf has been powered by an electric powertrain in the past, but being an ID, the 2all is of course, all-electric, too. Underpinned by a new ‘Entry’ version of VW’s all-conquering ‘MEB’ EV platform, the difference here is that the ID 2all is the first front-wheel drive electric VW. This is, in part, to save costs and bring the production ID 2 in under 25,000 euros – ‘Volkswagen’ does mean ‘people’s car’ after all, and the ‘#VWforthepeople’ hashtag had Twitter ablaze – but it also frees up interior space.

In yet another Polo correlation, the 4,050mm length of the ID 2all is just 3mm shorter than the current Polo (but only 61mm wide and 71mm taller). Volkswagen points to the iD 2all’s interior having Golf-rivalling space, thanks to the 2,600mm wheelbase which is 48mm longer than the current Polo’s. The ID 2all can carry 490 litres of luggage with the rear seats in place, 1,330 litres when they are folded.

Power from the single electric motor is a Polo GTI-rivalling 223bhp, while the electric range is projected to be 280 miles (450km) on a single charge. The car is expected to be available with two batteries of around 40 and 56kWh, the former using cheaper lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) technology. The larger unit is expected to stick with nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) tech, as shared with other VW IDs. The fast 125kW DC charging speed capability means a 10-80 per cent top up in around 20 minutes for the larger battery. Performance is similar to the current ‘AW’ Polo GTI; 0-62mph takes under seven seconds. Top speed is 99mph.

While it’s not been confirmed that the ID 2all will adopt a name that might reference the Polo, with persistent rumours of the Polo’s imminent demise – let’s not forget that Ford has called time on the Fiesta, after all – this looks to be the perfect EV-era interpretation of my favourite small car. Some reports point to the even smaller and yet-to-be-unveiled ID 1 being christened ‘ID Polo’, others that although the ID 2all probably won’t be an electric Polo, the decision hasn’t totally been ruled out…

Whatever, the arrival of the ID 2all brings with it lots of unresolved questions. But it heralds lots of promise, too. Promise that as the Polo approaches its 50th birthday – coincidentally in 2025, the same year as the production ID 2’s slated launch – it may live on into its sixth decade after all. To me, there seems little point in ditching well-known nameplates, be they Volkswagens or from any other brand. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see what shape – and what name – the production ID 2 takes when it materialises, but I, for one, will have my fingers crossed.

Schäfer said at the ID 2all world premiere that when asked, his team said that they wanted to make the brand ‘shine again’. ID Polo or not, making a small EV which incorporates as many features from the ID 2all concept will, for me, do just that.

2023 Volkswagen ID 2all / 2023 Volkswagen Polo

Length: 4,050mm / 4,053mm
Width: 1,812mm / 1,751mm (excluding door mirrors)
Height: 1,530mm 1,459mm
Wheelbase: 2,660mm / 2,552mm
Luggage volume: 490-1,330 litres / 351-1,125 litres
Power: 223bhp / 204bhp (Polo GTI)
Drive: front-wheel drive / front-wheel drive
Wheels and tyres: 225/40 R20 / 215/45 R17 (Polo GTI)

UPDATE, 8 September 2023: It would appear that the production version of the ID 2 will not take the Polo name, and the Golf, Tiguan and GTI names are the only ‘iconic’ badges that would likely star in a future all-electric Volkswagen model family, says this new article from Autocar.

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03 March 2023 ~ 0 Comments

Volkswagen South Africa builds 100,000th sixth-generation Polo for the local market

The 100,000th sixth-generation Polo for the South African market rolled off Volkswagen South Africa’s Kariega production line on 1 March, during the night shift. The plant has been building the current ‘AW’ model since January 2018, with production of the latest refreshed version beginning in August 2021.

Overall, of the 100,000-vehicle total, 80,644 cars were pre-facelift models, the remaining 19,356 being refreshed versions. Figures released by Volkswagen South Africa from the most recent milestone report that the most popular colour for the local market Polo is Pure White with 36,965 cars made in that shade. Second is Reflex Silver (17,607 units made), followed by Limestone Grey Metallic (10,350 units built).

The latest milestone is one of several Volkswagen South Africa has celebrated in the past few months. In May 2022, the one millionth Polo was made for export (see figures below), and the 500,000th global market ‘AW’ current generation Polo was built two months later. Destined for Germany, the 100,000th global market refreshed ‘AW’ Polo – a Pure White GTI – rolled out of Kariega in August 2022. The two-millionth unit of the Polo and Polo Vivo – a South African entry level model based on the global market fifth-generation Polo originally manufactured from 2009-2017 – was completed on 6 December 2022. The 100,000th second generation Polo Vivo was produced in January 2022.

In addition to local market Polos and Polo Vivos, Volkswagen South Africa builds the Polo for all right-hand drive markets, as well as selected left-hand drive territories. The Kariega (formerly Uitenhage) factory is also the sole manufacturing plant for the current ‘AW’ Polo GTI. The plant first started building Polos in 1996, with the first exports leaving the factory in 2002 for Japan. Polos are currently exported to over 38 countries. In May Volkswagen South Africa employed 3,619 people, including 2,233 production employees, with the capacity to build 680 vehicles per day.

‘Though the majority of our Polos are built for export markets, we are incredibly proud of how popular this vehicle is among South African customers,’ said Ulrich Schwabe, production director, Volkswagen South Africa (pictured above with sales and marketing director Thomas Milz). ‘This includes our employees, who build these high quality cars with pride, and whose dedication and love for our vehicles has made this milestone possible.’

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18 January 2023 ~ 0 Comments

Polo Vivo and Polo named 2022’s most popular Volkswagens in South Africa

Volkswagen South Africa has reason to celebrate. The Polo Vivo, Polo and Polo-based T-Cross small SUV have been named the most popular Volkswagens in South Africa during 2022. The small VW trio accounted for 74 per cent of all Volkswagen South Africa registrations last year.

The fifth-generation Polo-based Polo Vivo led Volkswagen South Africa’s small car charge, with 20,866 examples registered. The sixth-generation Polo was runner-up with 15,697 units finding new owners. The T-Cross SUV enjoyed 10,384 registrations. Overall, Volkswagen South Africa registered 58,447 passenger cars in 2022, giving the brand a market share of 16.4 per cent. An additional 5,154 commercial vehicle registrations were led by the Amarok, of which 1,896 units found new homes.

Other popular 2022 South African Volkswagens included the brand’s T-SUV range, which includes the Tiguan (2,613 units), T-Roc (2,407) and the recently launched Taigo (1,885 units). The Touareg also enjoyed an uplift in registrations by 9 per cent when compared to 2021, and despite stock and parts shortages, the Golf was also more popular – an increase to 639 units meant an increase in registrations by 109 per cent.

Polo Vivo GT upgrade
There’s little reason for Volkswagen South Africa not to continue its success in 2023. An upgrade to the range-topping Polo Vivo GT is set to arrive, along with a TSI version of the new Polo Sedan. There is also the impending introduction of the T-Cross Trendline, new Golf 8 R, Tiguan TDI, and a facelift for the Touareg.

Continuing the Polo’s South African popularity, Volkswagen South Africa exported 98,315 Polos from its Kariega manufacturing plant to 38 international countries last year, and overall, exported 8,942 more vehicles in 2022 when compared to 2021. The two-millionth unit of the Polo and Polo Vivo rolled off the factory lines on 6 December 2022, the milestone model being a left-hand drive Ascot Grey car destined for Germany.

Sole Polo GTI manufacturer
The Kariega factory builds the Polo for all right-hand-drive markets and supplements production for left-hand-drive territories. The plant is also the sole manufacturer worldwide of the Polo GTI, and builds the Polo Vivo for the local market.

Kariega also celebrated the manufacture of its 500,000th example of the current Polo in July 2022, the car – a white left-hand-drive Polo GTI destined for France – produced four-and-a-half years after the introduction of the sixth-generation model, and a few months after the arrival of the refreshed model at the start of 2022. Of the 500,000 ‘AW’ Polos made, 90,004 were built for the local market and 409,996 were exported, 77,397 units of those being the facelifted model.

Volkswagen South Africa also celebrated the one-millionth Polo built for export in May 2022, the landmark car heading to the UK. The Kariega plant has been building Polos since 1996, and the Polo Vivo since 2010. At the time the two-millionth vehicle was built, the plant had manufactured 1,626,816 Polos (1,065,718 for export and 561,098 for the local market), along with 373,184 Polo Vivos.

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16 December 2022 ~ 0 Comments

Polo Move kicks off Volkswagen special edition range with more kit and value

2023 Volkswagen Polo Move

Volkswagen has released a family of ‘Move’ special editions in Germany, and the range of new cars are, as VW special edition dictates, loaded with extra equipment and offer more ‘value’ than a comparable ‘regular’ model.

Referencing team sport puns to perhaps tie-in with the World Cup 2022 in Qatar, there is talk of ‘agile city strikers’, ‘versatile family cars in the midfield’, ‘SUV defense’, and rides that ‘become an away victory’. But behind the marketing puff, the Move special editions come out resplendent in a good-looking kit, and are ready to score (sorry) against their competition with their raft of ‘attractive features’. The Polo Move leads Volkswagen’s special edition squad.

2023 Volkswagen Polo Move

Unique paint finish
For a kick-off (oh, let’s allow the football puns to continue!) there are 15-inch ‘Zurich’ gloss black and polished finish alloy wheels, a unique ‘Ivory Silver Metallic’ (€540 extra) paint finish, ‘Move’ door sill and B-pillar trim, darkened rear side windows, and LED daytime running lights. Inside, a ‘Ceramique’ headliner and dashboard panel step things up when compared to a regular Polo Life, Style or R-Line, along with ambient lighting, a multifunction steering wheel, stainless steel pedal covers, and seats which are both heated and covered in special trim made from 100 per cent recycled materials and PET bottles. (All the visible textile surfaces are actually covered in the same sustainable fibres.)

2023 Volkswagen Polo Move

To help drivers keep their cool, 2 Zone Air Care Climatronic climate control is standard, as is a ‘Ready 2 Discover’ 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which plays DAB+, and can be upgraded to a navigation system, through the in-car digital shop. It would appear any standard way of route finding has been given the red card… Brought in from the substitutes’ bench is standard App Connect, though, with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring, as well as streaming and an internet connection.

The usual comprehensive Polo safety kit is also fielded, the Polo Move also playing automatic lights and wipers, a headlight ‘High Beam Assist’ function, an automatically dimming interior mirror, and parking sensors for when you need to weave your way through tighter spots in the city cut and thrust.

2023 Volkswagen Polo Move

Move more
Specify the Polo Move Plus package and your star player will offer more when it comes to that used car transfer window. The Polo Move Plus features 16-inch ‘Torsby’ alloy wheels (the same design as fitted to the pre-facelift sixth-generation Polo Beats), enhanced ‘Digital Cockpit Pro’ suite of digital driver displays, LED matrix headlights with an illuminated grille strip and dynamic high beam control, LED rear lights, and gloss black exterior mirrors.

Volkswagen states that when compared to an equivalent model – it doesn’t state which, sadly – the Polo Move Plus could save buyers up to €1,800 when all the extra equipment is added up. Priced from €21,690 including VAT, the Polo Move range gets underway with the 1.0-litre 78bhp model, rising through 1.0 TSI 93 and 107bhp versions, with five-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearboxes (the 107bhp unit is only available in automatic form).

2023 Volkswagen Polo Move

Good-looking, and with features vying for star quality, the Polo Move leads its special edition team-mates – including the T-Cross, Taigo, Golf, T-Roc, Tiguan and Touran – out onto the new car playing field. The latest in a long line of sporting related specials, the Volkswagen Move editions look far from scoring an own goal…

Polo Move 1.0 78bhp, five-speed manual €21,690
Polo Move 1.0 TSI 93bhp, five-speed manual €23,520
Polo Move 1.0 TSI 93bhp, seven-speed DSG €25,230
Polo Move 1.0 TSI 107bhp, seven-speed DSG €26,600

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22 November 2022 ~ 4 Comments

Volkswagen hints at European Polo sales halt: could this be the end of the road?

Announced in April 2021, the refreshed sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo’s arrival came just after the small car name celebrated its 46th birthday. And rumours are circulating that this latest version of the Polo could be its last. It may not even live to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The reason? The car market is a very different place to when the original incarnation of the Polo was launched in March 1975. Emission legislation – especially that in Europe – is forcing car makers to produce more electric models, and while internal combustion engines will remain for some time to come, the costs and development needed to make them more environmentally friendly and cleaner are rising. This means the prices will have to rise, making small cars much more expensive.

Small car casualty
Some manufacturers have already pulled the plug on some of their most popular models. The Ford Fiesta has long been a Polo sparring partner, having been launched a year later than the VW, but it is the most high-profile small car casualty yet. Ford has announced that production will stop in June 2023, bringing to an end 47 years of a very popular – the Fiesta has topped the UK registrations chart for several years, most notably from 2009-2020 – nameplate. Could the same be about to happen to the Polo?

Autocar reports that Volkswagen is to take a decision on the Polo’s future within the next two weeks. New technology needed to bring engine emissions down under proposed new Euro 7 regulations would add at least £3,000 to the average cost of cars like the Polo. Volkswagen’s new CEO, Thomas Schäfer, said that would make the Polo essentially unsaleable, making plans for a new electric small car even more prescient. Auto Express states that the larger – and more ‘iconic’ – Golf may stay and even turn into an electric-only model in the future. French magazine Auto-Journal hints that ID 1 and ID 2-badged models – with elements taken from the ID Life concept car – could replace the Polo.

Market withdrawal
What all this means for sales – and a very possible market withdrawal – of the Polo in the UK and Europe is unclear, but there are signs the nameplate may not die imminently elsewhere in the world. A popular model in South Africa – although Cars.co.za reports that sales are starting to slip – the Polo is also built there, the Volkswagen factory in Kariega producing all Polos exported to right-hand drive markets. The facility is also the sole producer of the Polo GTI.

While it may be phased out in Europe, Martina Biene, the managing director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, has commented that the Polo and its cheaper Polo Vivo sister – based on the fifth-generation Polo made from 2009-2017 – will ‘remain’ beyond 2025. Quite what this actually means, we don’t know, but it intimates that for the local market, the Polo name will live on, at least for the short-term, and the model will mark its 50th birthday.

Only electric cars in Europe
The Polo is also built for South American markets in Volkswagen’s Anchieta factory in Brazil and is produced in China in the Anting SAIC Volkswagen plant. South America is still at the very start of the electric car transition, and so will need internal combustion-engined cars for some time to come, whereas China already leads the worldwide electric car market. So, we certainly see the Polo remaining a South American small car staple for a few years yet.

However, elsewhere, things are not so certain. Schäfer has outlined that from 2033 Volkswagen will only produce electric cars in Europe. Ironically, the Polo was the most popular VW in the UK in 2021, a market where the brand also reached the top of the registration charts for the first time. A total of 147,826 Volkswagens found homes, and the Polo was the fifth most popular car in the UK.

While the current Polo has nothing in common with the original car of 1975, given the name and subject of this website, we’d obviously be very disappointed to see the Polo name reach the end of the road. Now one of Volkswagen’s most popular models worldwide, the culling of the Polo name will be a decision that won’t be taken lightly, but European market odds don’t look good. We hope any decision Volkswagen reaches means its small car lives on in some way.

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