Restyled Volkswagen Polo test (2021): mini-Golf, maxi-ant

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In the mid-1970s two new models appeared at Volkswagen and have followed each other closely until today. The Golf in 1974 and the Polo the following year. 46 years later, the latter has sold 18 million copies in six generations. The Golf is for its part in its eighth version and has convinced about 20 million additional times. The compact therefore always shows the way to the city car. In 2021, the Polo will gain two centimeters in length (4.07 m) and show a difference of 21 cm with the last Golf. To fully appreciate the evolution, it suffices to look back 30 years, when the Golf 3 (1991-1997) was 4.02 meters long.

At the time of the initiators, the general shape was similar and the look was almost identical on the two cars. The optics are still the elements that bring together the Golf 8 and Polo 6 restyled. The newcomer clearly monkeys its model at the rear by abandoning its almost square lights, in favor of a boomerang shape. Rather thick, they are less elegant than those of the Golf and benefit from activating their LED light signature on the versions equipped with scrolling indicators, which restores more harmonious proportions. At the front, the similarity is seen especially at night, when the chrome strip that connects the headlights from the bottom of the radiator grille lights up. An LED light bar, to extend the position lights, which will take effect in the mirrors of the cars in front. Shields, rims and model name lettering on the tailgate update as they pass.

Equipment from above

Equipment from aboveStart the slideshow
Volkswagen Polo restyled | The photos of our mini Golf test
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Photo Credit – Autonews

In order to take advantage of the light strip on the grille, it will be necessary to opt for the high finishes (Style and R-Line), unless you pay € 1,130 on the intermediate “Life” finish. At this price, there is not only a line of light but a very sophisticated beam of lighting: matrix headlights “IQ.Light” which use a camera behind the windshield analyzing the traffic and making it possible to keep the lights. full headlights above 60 km / h without dazzling other road users. A rare technology in this segment. The versions which do not have it still benefit from LED lighting as standard. Their tail light signature is then simplified. The front fog lights can also be replaced by LED variants.

The other notable innovation concerns the support for autonomous driving level 2. In addition to the adaptive cruise control, the centering on the track helps the driver on long journeys. And everything is activated with the click of a button on the steering wheel. This becomes capacitive in order to detect the presence of the driver’s hands. This “Travel Assist” comes as standard on the Style finish, it is invoiced at 215 € on Life.

The interior freshness is provided by the style of this steering wheel, modeled on that of the latest Volkswagen models, and by the instrumentation, which becomes 100% digital on all versions. An 8-inch screen as a counter or an optional 10.25-inch variation at 365 € from the second Life trim level, allowing the return of the GPS map to be displayed in color.

The central screen is available in three sizes: 6.5 “at entry level, 8” afterwards, with integrated navigation from Style level and 9.2 “as an option (€ 590), integrating voice control and keys tactile sides grouped together on the left of the screen, on the same plane.

For safety, a less visible addition is invited on board, in the back of the driver’s seat: a central airbag intended to prevent shocks between the driver and the front passenger in the event of a collision. Equipment delivered automatically, which can also be found in some competitors such as the Toyota Yaris or the Honda Jazz.

Serious welcome

Serious welcomeStart the slideshow
Volkswagen Polo restyled | The photos of our mini Golf test
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Photo Credit – Autonews

The rest of the dashboard retains the same design and takes care of its presentation with a manufacturing quality that has nothing to envy to the last Golf. It could even make her jealous by ergonomics less focused on touch. There is nevertheless the automatic air conditioning unit which converts to it, of glossy black appearance. Less practical than conventional buttons, it remains easy to handle. The general atmosphere, a little austere, lacks color but makes a good impression with renewed trim, underlined at night by a white LED border, as well as a dashboard foamed up to the central part. Unlike storm doors and lower parts, less rewarding.

USB-C ports are emerging, especially on the back of the sliding center armrest. The rear passengers benefit from a spacious bench seat, especially for their legs. The occupant of the middle will be hampered by the central tunnel at his feet but will have at least a seat and a backrest that avoid the discomfort.

The trunk and its adjustable floor on two levels, can accommodate 351 liters of cargo. It’s only 29 liters less than the Golf. Something to think about.

Three cylinders, four engines

Three cylinders, four enginesStart the slideshow
Volkswagen Polo restyled | The photos of our mini Golf test
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Photo Credit – Autonews

Once on the road, the good impression of presentation continues with a cabin well insulated from the outside, felted like the damping. The Polo offers “German-style” comfort, preventing in its filtrations but firm enough to contain cash movements. The chassis is therefore very stable and, reassuring, it does not reserve any surprises. The smooth and precise steering is more suited to pleasant everyday driving but does not seek to return the maximum of sensations if the pace increases.

Although it is possible to chain the kilometers with confidence, the Polo is no longer offered in diesel. The engine range uses a single three-cylinder 1.0 petrol unit. It is available in an atmospheric 80 hp version or in TSI turbocharged versions of 95 hp or 110 hp. Finally, the Business finishes have access to the 1.0 TGI 90 hp, replacing the spare wheel with a 91.5-liter (13.8 kg) tank of natural gas, in addition to a small 9-liter fuel tank.

On the winding roads of Corsica, we were able to test the 95 hp model in a five-speed manual gearbox (DSG7 optional at € 1,525) as well as the 110 hp version, necessarily associated with the double-clutch gearbox. It is not very responsive to the recovery and is reluctant to downshift without fully depressing the right pedal. It satisfies more on the “Sport” management mode of the selector. Gentle and promoting low consumption, while reducing the lack of response in the trough zone of speeds below 2000 rpm, it does however affect performance. On the 95 hp unit, it gives half a second at 0 to 100 km / h in front of the manual gearbox (11.3 sec against 10.8 sec). With 110 hp, the 15 additional horses are just used to compensate for this deficit (10.4 sec). There are also some linkage noises during certain downshifts. It will be especially appreciated by city dwellers and in traffic jams, allowing in particular the management of the adaptive regulator until stopping. The others will keep the mechanical transmission, despite the lack of a sixth gear. Fortunately, the small gasoline engine is voluntary in the revs, not vibrating and silent.

On a course combining mountain and departmental roads, bringing down the average, we noted with the 110 hp DSG, an average of just under 7 l / 100 km. With the 95 hp BVM5, on the portion of departmental and city areas, outside the mountains, we went down to 5.2 l / 100 km. A beautiful sobriety.

For more sport, the restyled Polo GTI will be available to order imminently, with seven more horses (207 hp) while reducing its CO2 emissions by 4 g / km so as not to suffer from an overcost of too much malus. important. The classic range can be taxed up to € 400.

At the same club as the Golf

At the same club as the GolfStart the slideshow
Volkswagen Polo restyled | The photos of our mini Golf test
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Photo Credit – Autonews

With its services which outclass it slightly, the Polo is almost € 2,000 more expensive than many of its rivals. The increase compared to the non-restyled version is € 755 on the entry level, for a starting price set at € 18,015. The equipment is already correct but the Life finish completes it with a few practical aspects (sliding central armrest with storage and additional USB-C ports, pocket pockets on the back of the seats, folding bench in 2 / 3-1 / 3, folding mirrors electrically, passenger seat adjustable in height) and for pleasure (15 “aluminum rims, 8” multimedia screen, leather steering wheel, wireless Apple CarPlay or even paddles on the steering wheel for the DSG box), against € 1,955 and at least with the 95 hp engine, for a price of at least € 20,810.

But to take advantage of everything that differentiates the new Polo from the current one and equipment that few competitors offer, it is towards the rich Style finish that it is advisable to turn. There are full LED matrix headlights “iQ.Light” and their light strip, “Travel Assist”, GPS navigation, recognition of traffic signs, automatic air conditioning, front / rear parking aid, sensor rain, heated front seats, electrochromatic interior mirror, 16 “rims and suede interior upholstery. It will cost 22,735 €.

The R-Line finish requires an additional € 875 for a more dynamic exterior and interior aesthetic.

The “ant” therefore encourages people to be a bit of a cicada. However, the most expensive version, excluding options, reached € 25,915, or € 1,900 less than the cheapest Golf. And today, in France, a good part of the clientele has apparently already made this reflection since, in front of the T-Roc and the Golf (respectively 18% and 15% of the sales of the brand), a Volkswagen sold on four (24%) is a Polo.

to summarize

More expensive than average, the Volkswagen Polo further increases its prices with the restyling of this sixth generation. But this is not so serious because, more distinguished than its congeners, the “ant” is still closer to the big sister Golf, in particular by its on-board technologies.

Quentin Cazergues

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