By: IOL Motoring Staff
Wolfsburg, Germany - Volkswagen has avoided the 'Cremora' approach with its new Polo, due in South Africa during the second half of 2014, with an upgrade that's more 'inside' than 'on top'.
That's not to say that it's indistinguishable from the current Polo. Look closely and you'll see a new grille which now has two slats (previously one) and a chrome bar that runs along the bottom. For the first time in this class, buyers can order LED headlights. The front and rear bumpers are also new, as are the taillights, and the new look is rounded off by five fresh alloy wheel designs.
The big 'inside' news is a brand new range of three- and four-cylinder turbocharged engines that offer efficiency gains of up to 21 percent - although our contact at VWSA could not confirm whether the new motors will be fitted to local models.
European customers can choose between two 1-litre three-cylinder engines (with 44 or 55kW), two 1.2-litre four-cylinder units (66 or 81kW) and a 1.4-litre with 110kW on command. A new GTI version, with more power, will be announced at a later date.
On the diesel front, VW offers a choice between two new 1.4-litre three-cylinder TDI motors, offering output levels of 55kW and 66kW.
Other beneath-the-skin changes are a new electromechanical steering system that offers improved efficiency and a more precise feel, and the availability of electronically-controlled dampers with two settings.
For improved safety and geek-cred, the upgrade sees a raft of higher-end features filtering down to the Polo, such as the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System (standard in Europe), the Driver Alert System, Front Assist with City Emergency Braking and Automatic Cruise Control.
Finally, the cabin furniture receives a makeover in the form of a new steering wheel, completely redesigned instruments, new ventilation controls and an improved centre console.
What's more, the Polo range gains VW's latest modular infotainment system, featuring a touch-screen with a function that reacts to wiping movements by the fingers, as per smart-phones.