With its new-generation Polo, Volkswagen has concentrated on introducing technology that will advance the car in almost every respect and raise its overall quality level. Larger but with less mass (an average 7.5% lower) and with enhanced safety systems, the fifth generation of the model (codename A05) also sees reduced fuel consumption by up to 20% compared to the fourth-generation range.
The three- and four-cylinder engines for the new car include turbocharged gasoline and (for the first time) common-rail technology applied to its diesel engines. For its first year in production, seven engines will be offered (four gasoline, three diesel) spread across power outputs from 44 to 77 kW (59 to 103 hp); further engine choices and power outputs are expected.
Particularly significant is the 66-kW 1.6TDI Blue Motion, which has an average fuel consumption of 3.6 L/100 km and 96-g/km CO2 emissions. The Blue Motion package includes suspension lowered by 10 mm (0.4 in) compared to a regular Polo, aerodynamically optimized underbody, and low-rolling-resistance tires on 15-in alloy wheels. These changes cut CO2 emissions by some 20%. Without the Blue Motion efficiency package, fuel consumption is 4.2 L/100 km.
VW’s pursuit of low fuel consumption extends to transmissions; three of the Polo engines can be linked to a seven-speed double clutch (DSG) unit as an alternative to five-speed manual or six-speed auto. It was first used in the 90-kW (121-hp) Golf TSI in 2007.
The DSG has two dry clutches. Clutch 1 looks after the odd-numbered gears; clutch 2, the even and reverse. Its maximum torque capacity is 250 N·m (184 lb·ft). A particularly effective combination is the seven-speed transmission and the 1.2-L gasoline turbocharged TSI, an engine that is a major element of VW’s downsizing policy producing 77 kW.
The car has a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 9.7 s and a 190-km/h (118-mph) top speed. Maximum torque of 175 N·m (129 lb·ft) is available from 1500 to 3500 rpm. Combined fuel consumption is 5.5 L/100 km, and CO2 emissions are 129 g/km.
ESP (Electronic Stabilization Control) with Hill Hold is standard for Europe. Suspension is MacPherson front and semi-independent rear. Track width is 29 mm (1.1 in) greater than that of the previous Polo. The front suspension has been redesigned, with the wheels moved 5 mm (0.2 in) further forward to improve caster angle.
The Polo, which echoes some of the styling cues of the new Scirocco and Golf, has been styled by a team led by Walter de Silva, Head of Design, VW Group. Compared to the previous A04, the A05 Polo sits on a 2470-mm (97.2-in) wheelbase (about that of the Golf Mk III) and is 54 mm (2.1 in) longer, 30 mm (1.2 in) wider, and 14 mm (0.6 in) lower. Turning circle is 10.6 m (34.8 ft).
The car's interior has been given a quality boost and options include touch-screen satellite navigation, a Dynaudio sound system, and two-zone climate control. Slush molding is used for the dashboard, providing Golf VI quality standards. Shoulder room has been improved over the previous Polo by 22 mm (0.9 in) to 1372 mm (54.0 in).
Although still in concept stage, VW has announced that it is aiming to introduce early next year a Polo variant that it believes is set to become the most fuel-efficient five-seat car in the world. Powered by a 1.2-L 55-kW (74-hp) common-rail diesel TDI engine that is still in development, it is expected to return 3.3 L/100 km and CO2 emissions of 87 g/km. Performance figures are likely to include a 0-100 km/h time of 11-12 s and a top speed of about 160-170 km/h (99-106 mph).
Engine stop-start and regenerative braking will be part of the car’s technology, and the vehicle mass target is around 1080 kg (2380 lb).
First introduced in 1975, total sales of cars bearing the Polo name now total some 10.6 million units.