The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - RYAN HIRONS

THE lat­est Volk­swa­gen Polo is built on a to­tally new ar­chi­tec­ture for the model -–VW Group’s MQB A0 plat­form. Al­though the ba­sic VW DNA re­mains, the longer wheel­base means the Polo has a more brash stance than be­fore.

New en­gines have also been added. A va­ri­ety of 1.0-litre TSI en­gines are avail­able, and for the first time in a Polo, a nat­u­ral gas-pow­ered en­gine is on of­fer.

The new Polo def­i­nitely looks like an evo­lu­tion from its pre­de­ces­sors, al­though the new plat­form pro­vides shorter front and rear over­hangs, giv­ing the car a more ag­gres­sive ap­pear­ance.

Sadly, the over­all styling doesn’t play to this quite as well as the Polo’s plat­form sib­ling, the Seat Ibiza. In less vi­brant colours, there’s more of a luke­warm vis­ual im­pres­sion rather than un­der­stated or all­out flair.

The Beats edi­tion we drove also comes with two de­cal stripes, one of which was body-coloured. These can be de­s­e­lected, which would prob­a­bly be the case were it our money be­ing spent on the car.

Thanks to the MQB A0 plat­form, the new Polo has become an even more spa­cious car.

Boot ca­pac­ity is up 25 per cent, go­ing from 280 litres to 351 litres, mak­ing an al­ready prac­ti­cal car even more ca­pa­ble. It comes in slightly un­der the Seat Ibiza, though, which boasts 355 litres, but can pack no­tably more than the new Fi­esta’s 292 litres.

De­spite a larger boot, pas­sen­ger space has not been com­pro­mised. The Polo was ca­pa­ble of com­fort­ably fit­ting two adults up front while still car­ry­ing plenty of lug­gage in the rear footwells.

Thanks to this in­creased space and plenty of stan­dard safety fea­tures across the range, such as city emer­gency brak­ing, pedes­trian mon­i­tor­ing and elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, the new Polo could be the per­fect fam­ily run­about.

The Polo ex­cels at its main pur­pose: city driv­ing. Light steer­ing, great vis­i­bil­ity and a host of safety as­sists make cruis­ing around ur­ban ar­eas a dream.

The 1.0-litre en­gine and man­ual gear­box seemed to take ev­ery­thing thrown at them, prov­ing ex­tremely ver­sa­tile and re­quir­ing few gear changes. The hatch­back’s ex­cel­lence, how­ever, be­gins to un­ravel a lit­tle when driv­ing for longer pe­ri­ods. It’s not a to­tally un­pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence spend­ing more than an hour in the car, but the lack of sup­port in the seats is soon no­ticed. The huge amount of pas­sen­ger space makes sit­ting shot­gun a pretty good ex­pe­ri­ence, though.

A lit­tle more steer­ing re­sponse at higher speeds would be ideal but for a car pri­mar­ily built for ur­ban driv­ing, it was never go­ing to be the most di­rect driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, at least not in lower trims.

Hope­fully (and pre­sum­ably) the GTI will be a dif­fer­ent story.

With­out know­ing the price of the car, it’s hard to judge how much bang you’re get­ting for your buck. How­ever, the Polo comes rather gen­er­ously equipped, re­gard­less of the cho­sen trim level.

The Beats ver­sion we tested came with 16-inch al­loy wheels, a par­tial leather in­te­rior, a full colour in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem with Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, rear tinted win­dows, body de­cal strips (if that’s your thing) and the main at­trac­tion of the Beats ver­sion, a 300-watt sound sys­tem.

A down­side, though, is the lack of An­droid Auto or Ap­ple CarPlay avail­able through the in­fo­tain­ment – both of which are present in the Polo’s VW Group sta­ble­mate, the Seat Ibiza. The base sys­tem did work rather well, how­ever, de­spite a few nig­gly Blue­tooth con­nec­tion prob­lems.

The new Volk­swa­gen Polo is sen­sa­tional for a lit­tle ur­ban run­about, the job it’s mainly de­signed to do. VW will no doubt sell many when the new Polo does land in the UK, and de­servedly so, but can it chal­lenge the Fi­esta for the su­per­mini crown? Time will tell.

Volk­swa­gen’s new Polo Beats ex­cels as an ur­ban runaround and now gets a larger boot and plenty of safety fea­tures as stan­dard

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