New 2021 Volkswagen Polo facelift on sale from £17,885

Revamped Mk6 Volkswagen Polo pricing and specs revealed, with new GTI hot hatch coming next year

The updated Volkswagen Polo supermini is on sale now, priced from £17,885. VW’s compact five-door hatchback brings a fresh look, new tech and interior updates, with the newly facelifted Polo offered in a revamped trim structure comprising Life, Style and R-Line specifications. 

As far as facelifts go it’s a significant update, with large-scale changes to the car’s exterior design allied with some important technological introductions. Volkswagen has also confirmed that an updated GTI hot hatch version is coming in 2022. 

The trim structure of the facelifted Polo mirrors that of the latest Golf, spanning across three specification levels. Expected to account for 75% of UK sales, entry-level Life trim starts from £17,885, and features LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and an 8.0-inch digital gauge cluster. Power-folding, heated door mirrors and automatic wipers also form part of the standard kit list.

With each priced from £20,785, Style and R-Line models from a two-pronged range-topping trim line-up. Style majors of comfort, and brings IQ.Light LED matrix headlights, front and rear parking sensors and two-zone climate control. The infotainment system also features VW’s Discover Navigation system, and the gauge cluster is upgraded to Digital Cockpit Pro spec, with a 10.25-inch display. Outside, the Polo Style gains 16-inch ‘Palermo’ alloy wheels.

The Polo R-Line is currently the sportiest offering in the range, with more aggressive exterior styling treatment. Inside, the R-Line receives black headlining and stainless steel pedal plates, along with sports comfort front seats trimmed in a unique ‘Karoso Artvelours’ upholstery. The R-Line features the same equipment list as the Polo Style, but with the addition of road sign recognition and high beam assist.

Buyers can specify the new Polo with a rear-view camera for £250, and a Sports Suspension Pack - which includes a Driving Profile Selection system - for £360. A driver assist package that includes VW’s Proactive Passenger Protection and Park Assist can also be optioned. A range of additional 16 and 17-inch wheel designs are available too, alongside two new paint colours: Vibrant Violet and Kings Red.

In the UK, the engine line-up will consist entirely of 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrols, with a naturally aspirated 79bhp entry-level option sending drive to a five-speed manual gearbox. This engine is only available in Life trim, and gives a combined 51mpg and 124g/km of CO2 emissions on the WLTP cycle. 

Two turbocharged TSI options feature, the first developing 94bhp and also mated to a five-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed DSG gearbox is optional, and achieves the same 54mpg as the manual, but CO2 emissions increase from 118g/km to 125g/km. Polo Life models equipped with this engine receive the brand’s Travel Assist system as standard.

The 108bhp version of the 1.0-litre TSI unit is mated to VW’s DSG gearbox as standard, with claimed efficiency of 50mpg and 128g/km on the WLTP cycle. The 108bhp unit is only available in R-Line specification. 

The front end of the Polo has been overhauled, with a fresh front bumper and headlight arrangement incorporating a new LED lighting bar that runs from the new-look headlights to the centrally placed VW badge. 

At the rear, the Polo receives a tailgate with new badging; the Polo name moves to beneath the rear badge. The LED tail-light clusters have been redesigned too, with a new Golf MK8-inspired shape. Optional versions of these new tail-lights come with dynamic indicators - the ‘wiping’ effect lighting offered until now on the Volkswagen Group’s more expensive cars.

Every version comes with a digital instrument panel as standard, measuring eight inches or 10.25 inches for the Digital Cockpit Pro version. It sits behind a new multifunction steering wheel. 

There’s also a significant update to the heating and ventilation controls; the knobs and buttons placed there before have been replaced with a touch-sensitive panel, so users swipe to adjust the temperature. However, this is only found on models with automatic climate control. Alongside the heater controls, on the lower section of the dashboard, are two USB-C ports, while a wireless smartphone charging bay can be fitted as an option. 

As for the infotainment systems, VW’s 8.0-inch and 9.2-inch screens come with Volkswagen’s We Connect connectivity (for real-time traffic info and live music streaming), while wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included. 

Semi-autonomous driving assistance comes to the Polo for the first time, with the adoption of the Travel Assist function available in the latest Golf and Passat. IQ Drive Travel Assist, as it is called, can take over the accelerating, braking and steering of the Polo, from standstill in automatic models and from a rolling 18mph in manual cars, all the way to the vehicle’s top speed. It’s a combination of lane-keep assistance and the new predictive adaptive cruise control set-up, though the driver must keep their hands on the wheel at all times. 

For buyers wanting something sportier again, from 2022 the GTI will be returning to the fold, and it’s all but certain to carry over its 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. However, whether it continues to develop 197bhp remains to be seen; Volkswagen has had to decrease the power of some of its hot hatchbacks in the past, to comply with more stringent WLTP CO2 homologation.

What do you make of the updated Volkswagen Polo? Let us know in the comments section below…

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