Facelifted 2021 Volkswagen Polo arrives

New Volkswagen Polo gets refreshed styling and improved technology

  • Updated styling similar to the Mk8 Golf
  • New safety technology on all models
  • Improved standard equipment across the range

The new 2021 Volkswagen Polo has been unveiled. It gets an array of updates, including a refreshed design, new safety technology and more standard equipment.

Best small cars and superminis

The new car will go on sale in the summer and will renew its rivalry with other superminis such as the Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris and SEAT Ibiza. Prices have yet to be revealed but we’d expect them to start from around £18,000, which would represent a slight increase over the outgoing model. Volkswagen has also teased a hot Volksagen Polo GTI

2021 Volkswagen Polo: styling

The design of the latest Polo takes inspiration from the Mk8 Golf hatchback. Changes at the front include a new set of LED headlights and daytime running lights, along with an LED light bar running along the grille. The front bumper has been redesigned with a wider air intake and new fog light design.

The car’s side profile is virtually unchanged but buyers can choose from a revised set of alloy wheel options. Four additional paint colours have also been made available.

The Golf-inspired styling continues with a pair of new LED rear light clusters that now extend into the bootlid. Other changes include new badges. The bumper design has been slightly tweaked as well and features a pair of fake exhaust pipes finished in contrasting silver trim.

Interior, technology and trim levels

While the majority of the interior remains unchanged, VW has introduced a new multifunction steering wheel and replaced the old rotary style ventilation controls with a touch-sensitive panel setup on models with automatic climate control.

Every version of the new Polo gets an eight-inch digital instrument cluster, with higher spec models getting an upgrade to VW’s 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro.

A 6.5-inch infotainment system is standard on the base model, while larger eight-inch and 9.2-inch versions are also available. Both the eight and 9.2-inch versions get VW’s ‘WeConnect’ software, which includes functions such as music streaming, real-time traffic information, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A pair of USB-C ports and a wireless smartphone charging pad are available as options.

Full UK specifications have yet to be confirmed but the trim levels will mirror those available for the Mk8 Golf. An entry-level Polo Life model will kick off the range, followed by a mid-range Style trim and a range-topping R-Line version.

Safety

VW has introduced driving assistance functionality to the Polo for the first time, with the IQ Drive Travel Assist system. When engaged, the system uses both lane keep assist and predictive cruise control to automatically accelerate, brake and steer the car. In cars equipped with an automatic gearbox, the assistance can be activated from a standstill and at speeds of 18mph upwards in models with a manual gearbox.

Engines

The refreshed Polo will be available with three 1.0-litre petrol engines. The non-turbo 79bhp version remains the entry-point to the range with a five-speed manual gearbox.

Above this, a pair of turbocharged TSI engines are available, with a 94bhp version getting a five-speed manual gearbox, with an optional seven-speed DSG automatic box also available. Above this the range-topping petrol produces 108bhp and comes with a DSG automatic as standard.

2022 Volkswagen Polo GTI

After its withdrawal in 2020, the Polo GTI will return next year. It’ll almost certainly be powered by the same turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine but may have less power than the old 197bhp model. This is due to the difficulty in meeting stricter WLTP emissions regulations, which has forced VW to detune some of their performance engines in the past.

What does it mean for car buyers?

The arrival of the updated Polo will help to keep it competitive against recently updated rivals such as the Renault Clio, Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. Additional safety features and tech upgrades should also help tempt buyers, and so long as VW gets the PCP finance deals right, the Polo will remain an attractive proposition for buyers who want a more upmarket supermini.

See where the Polo lands on our list of best first cars.

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