The Polo GTI has been bucking the downsizing trend over the last few years. The last generation started off with a 1.4-litre twin-charged inline-four, which was soon ditched for a more conventional turbo 1.8. For the sixth generation, the GTI’s engine has gotten larger still - it’s now packing a 2.0-litre TSI engine that’s good for 197bhp.
So we’ve now reached a point where the Polo GTI kicks out the same power and has the same size engine as the Golf GTI from 10 years ago. We also feel compelled to note that - unlike the current Golf GTI - you get a manual handbrake here….
The new Polo is 81mm longer and 69mm wider than the outgoing model making it - incredibly - a little wider than a MkIV Golf and almost as long. As such, it’s far roomier on the inside, and boot space has shot up from 280 litres to 351.
Despite the growth, VW is still keen to point out that the Polo remains a “snappy compact car”. Whatever that means.
The GTI isn’t the only variant with an ‘upsized’ engine. Taking the lead of the Mk7.5 Golf, the Polo has ditched a 1.4-litre engine in favour of the fancy new 1.5-litre TSI ‘Evo’. In the Golf we’ve found it to be smooth, refined and eerily quiet. It should be a decent fit in the Polo, where it’ll put out 148bhp.
The entry point of the range is a dinky 1.0-litre, naturally-aspirated inline-three sporting a modest 64bhp, with a 74bhp tune sat just above. A turbocharged three-pot can be had with either 94bhp or 113bhp, and there’s also a 1.0-litre, natural gas-running ‘TGI’ version with 89bhp. On the diesel front, you’ve a choice between either a 79 or 93bhp 1.6-litre TDI.
Yep, VW’s Active Info Display has already trickled down to the humble Polo. It replaces the good old fashioned instrument binnacle with a screen, and while we’re not 100 per cent sold on the version of it in the Golf, it’ll no doubt go down well with the average, unhealthily tech-obsessed new car buyer.
Polo specs are yet to be confirmed, but we’re guessing it’ll be an optional extra on all but the higher spec models.
Accompanying the Active Info Display is a “glass encased” touchscreen situated just about the air vents, available in as either a 6.5-inch or eight-inch unit, depending on how frivolous you’re feeling with the options.
Active Info Display isn’t the only techy thing to have made its way down from further up the VW hierarchy. All cars get a ‘Front Assist’ system with ‘City Emergency Braking’ and ‘Pedestrian Monitoring’ (read: it’ll brake to avoid an accident around town if you don’t react in time), and there’s an optional Park Assist system with a ‘manoeuvring function’ that’s supposed to stop you thumping into cars/people/things when you’re pulling out of a space. You’ll also find ‘Blind Spot Detection’ and ‘Rear Traffic Alert’ on the options list.
It’ll be a little while before we see these things on UK shores. Order books don’t open here until the fourth quarter of 2017, and the first deliveries won’t be happening until early 2018.
There’s no UK pricing just yet, but VW has revealed that it’ll cost €12,975 in Germany.