New 2021 Volkswagen Polo facelift arrives with Golf 8 styling

J

James Brodie

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This is the new Volkswagen Polo - a facelifted version of the brand’s sixth-generation supermini that will go on sale in the UK in the third quarter of 2021.

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


The front end of the Polo is overhauled, with a fresh front bumper and headlight arrangement incorporating a new LED lighting bar that runs from the new-look headlights (available with IQ. Light matrix LED technology for the first time) 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 8-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.

An R-Line variant continues as a part of the line-up. This gets the new IQ. Light matrix LED headlights as standard, alongside a sportier-looking body kit. The front bumper is partially Golf R-inspired, and it also gets a different rear bumper with chrome-effect faux exhaust exits integrated into a new gloss black rear diffuser. 16-inch wheels are fitted as standard.

In the interior of the new Polo, every version will now come 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.

Volkswagen Polo - rear

Volkswagen Polo - rear
Volkswagen Polo - front static

Volkswagen Polo - front static
Volkswagen Polo - cabin

Volkswagen Polo - cabin
Volkswagen Polo - infotainment

Volkswagen Polo - infotainment
Volkswagen Polo - exhaust

Volkswagen Polo - exhaust
Volkswagen Polo - front light

Volkswagen Polo - front light
Volkswagen Polo Style - rear lights

Volkswagen Polo Style - rear lights
Volkswagen Polo - dash

Volkswagen Polo - dash
Volkswagen Polo - screen

Volkswagen Polo - screen
Volkswagen Polo - rear badge

Volkswagen Polo - rear badge
Volkswagen Polo Style - front

Volkswagen Polo Style - front
Volkswagen Polo Style - side

Volkswagen Polo Style - side
Volkswagen Polo Style - Polo badge

Volkswagen Polo Style - Polo badge
Volkswagen Polo - side

Volkswagen Polo - side
Volkswagen Polo - front

Volkswagen Polo - front
Volkswagen Polo - wheel

Volkswagen Polo - wheel
Volkswagen Polo - R Line badge

Volkswagen Polo - R Line badge
Volkswagen Polo Style - dash

Volkswagen Polo Style - dash
Volkswagen Polo - full rear

Volkswagen Polo - full rear
Volkswagen Polo - sill

Volkswagen Polo - sill
Volkswagen Polo - phone charging

Volkswagen Polo - phone charging
Volkswagen Polo Style - rear

Volkswagen Polo Style - rear
Volkswagen Polo Style - sat-nav

Volkswagen Polo Style - sat-nav

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, a 6.5-inch display is standard on the entry-level model in the UK, which will be the Polo Life, while the larger 8.0-inch touchscreen system remains optional. For the first time, the Polo will be offered with a 9.2-inch display. The 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.

Volkswagen Polo - rear

Volkswagen Polo - rear
Volkswagen Polo - front static

Volkswagen Polo - front static
Volkswagen Polo - cabin

Volkswagen Polo - cabin
Volkswagen Polo - infotainment

Volkswagen Polo - infotainment
Volkswagen Polo - exhaust

Volkswagen Polo - exhaust
Volkswagen Polo - front light

Volkswagen Polo - front light
Volkswagen Polo Style - rear lights

Volkswagen Polo Style - rear lights
Volkswagen Polo - dash

Volkswagen Polo - dash
Volkswagen Polo - screen

Volkswagen Polo - screen
Volkswagen Polo - rear badge

Volkswagen Polo - rear badge
Volkswagen Polo Style - front

Volkswagen Polo Style - front
Volkswagen Polo - side

Volkswagen Polo - side
Volkswagen Polo - front

Volkswagen Polo - front
Volkswagen Polo - wheel

Volkswagen Polo - wheel
Volkswagen Polo Style - side

Volkswagen Polo Style - side
Volkswagen Polo Style - Polo badge

Volkswagen Polo Style - Polo badge
Volkswagen Polo - R Line badge

Volkswagen Polo - R Line badge
Volkswagen Polo Style - dash

Volkswagen Polo Style - dash
Volkswagen Polo - full rear

Volkswagen Polo - full rear
Volkswagen Polo - sill

Volkswagen Polo - sill
Volkswagen Polo - phone charging

Volkswagen Polo - phone charging
Volkswagen Polo Style - rear

Volkswagen Polo Style - rear
Volkswagen Polo Style - sat-nav

Volkswagen Polo Style - sat-nav

In the UK, the engine line-up will consist entirely of 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrols, with the entry-level 79bhp option naturally aspirated, developing 93Nm of torque and sending drive to a five-speed manual gearbox.

Two turbocharged TSI options line up next, the first developing 94bhp and also mated to a five-speed manual transmission. However, a seven-speed DSG gearbox is optional. The 108bhp version of the 1.0-litre TSI unit is mated to the DSG gearbox as standard.

UK equipment levels have not been fully revealed, but the rejigged line-up will mirror that of the latest Golf. It means the entry-level model will be named Polo Life, with the mid-range option called Style and the range-topper named R-Line.

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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