The Volkswagen Polo is undoubtedly one of the most successful premium hatchbacks on sale in India. Making its debut over a decade ago, the Polo competes with similar cars like the Hyundai i20, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Tata Altroz, and Honda Jazz. However, in all this time, Volkswagen hasn’t really altered much of anything substantial on its top-selling hatchback. In fact, the overall shell and basic mechanical bits of this car have remained almost identical in all this time. Meanwhile, the Polo’s rivals have not only caught on but have also gained tremendous popularity. So, what is Volkswagen going to do about this?
In other markets, Volkswagen already has the latest iteration of the Polo on sale for quite some time now. Based on the MQB A0 platform, the next-generation (i.e., the sixth-generation) Polo is better than its aging predecessor in almost every way. The outgoing (fifth-generation) model might look like a sizeable hatchback on the outside, but its cabin tells a different story. On the other hand, that next-gen Polo plays its dimensions card well. It is not only larger on the outside, but there’s also more room for occupants and luggage on the inside. However, there is a catch. The global avatar of the next-gen Polo measures over 5 meters in length.
As we know, cars sold in India that measure over 4 meters in length attract extra taxes from the government. This is one of the reasons why we have so many sub-4-meter sedans and crossovers in our market. Since they are less than 4 meters long, automakers can price them keeping those tax incentives in mind. That will not be possible if Volkswagen was to simply bring the latest Polo to India without any modifications. Therefore, when the German marque does bring the new Polo to our market, expect it to measure just under that magic 4-meter length. One of the other changes you will see in the sixth-gen Polo is VW switching out the global MQB A0 platform with the India-spec MQB A0 IN one.
Compared to the outgoing model, the next-generation Polo sports a chic and modern design. Of course, in the typical Volkswagen way of doing things, the styling isn’t flashy or over-the-top – it remains understated yet urbane. The additions made include new front and rear bumpers, new headlamps and front grille, a revised side profile with new wheel designs, and an updated rear fascia with new tail lamps. Meanwhile, the interior of the next-generation Polo comes with several changes to make it more appealing over its predecessor. Volkswagen has updated the entire center console and dashboard area of the new Polo. Furthermore, the new model also gets a new touch-infotainment system plus a digital driver’s display – the latter may or may not make it to India.
One can also expect more features and better build quality out of the next-gen Polo. Items such as keyless entry & go, automatic climate control, cruise control, Android Auto & Apple CarPlay, a leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, dual airbags, and electronic stability control will be present. The new model will definitely boast more room for the rear-seat passengers than the outgoing one. Similarly, the boot space of the new Polo will see an improvement, too. Under the hood, the next-generation Volkswagen Polo may likely continue with the 1.0-liter turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine seen on the outgoing car. In its current state, this three-popper produces 108hp and 175Nm of torque. Meanwhile, transmission choices include a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic. Whenever the next-gen Polo does show up in India, expect a higher price tag.