Volkswagen’s Polo is a giant among small vehicles. In a career spanning almost 49 years it’s shifted over 18 million units, and regularly ranks close to the top of best-seller charts, proving Europeans love competent but dull vehicles.
To make it slightly less dull, Volkswagen has given it a mid-life refresh, applying a touch of the Mk8 Golf’s design and some tech features more usually seen on vehicles like the flagship Touareg SUV.
This being it’s about the exterior of the car a ground-up rebuild, the major visual changes are limited to lights and bumpers. LED head and tail lights are standard on every model, the front units connected by an illuminated strip at the base of the radiator grille. Or you can upgrade them to the adaptive Matrix LED technology from the Touareg and Passat.
That’s not the only big-car tech the Polo inherits. Volkswagen has bundled various assistance system together and given them the IQ.Drive Travel Assist tag. Those extra cost systems include adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance, though a basic lane guidance system is standard on all Polos.
Moving inside, the sensible Polo still looks quite conventional compared with the latest Golf, it moves upmarket with kit like the optional climate control, whose touch-sensitive temperature buttons look cool, but are going to be a pain to use based on experience with similar setups in the Golf and ID.4.
Also new, and standard across the range, is a digital instrument pack: 8.0-inches wide, and matched to a tiny 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen in the basic cars, moving up to a 10.25-inches gauge cluster and 9.2-inch media system if you go for the high trim levels.
And on the subject of trim levels, they also take a leaf out of the Mk8 Golf’s book. The range kick off with the basic Polo, graduate through Life, Style, sporty-looking R-Line, and top out with the GTI. VW has yet to reveal any more details about the hot hatch version of the new Polo, but the R-Line’s chromed tailpipes give it a hint of hot hatch, even if it doesn’t have the power to back it up.