Port Elizabeth - The all-new version of one of South Africa’s most loved hatchbacks is being launched in South Africa on Thursday.

We’ll be driving the new hatch in the Eastern Cape on Thursday, but for now let’s take a look at exactly how Volkswagen SA is positioning the newcomer.

Prices range between R235 900 and R302 200, a moderate increase over the previous model, which started at R229 600.

The line-up is similar to before, with Trendline, Comfortline and Highline trim grades being offered, but the big difference - besides it growing in size and moving onto VW’s MQB platform - is that the previous 1.2-litre TSI turbopetrol engine makes way for a new one-litre three-cylinder mill.

It might be down in size but it’s actually up in output, with the Trendline and Comfortline versions pushing 70kW and 175Nm (up from 66kW and 160Nm) and the Highline offering 85kW and 200Nm (up from 81kW/175Nm). 

The lower output version is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox while the Highline gets six cogs, but each can also be ordered with VW’s seven-speed DSG dual-clutch box.

Inside, the larger cabin not only offers more occupant and luggage space - with boot volume up from 280 litres to 351 litres - but there’s something of a digital revolution taking place too, with glass-encased touch-screens and an optional digital instrument cluster.

There’s also a wide range of optional driver assistance gadgets, such as Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert and the latest Park Assist system for parallel and perpendicular parking.

But what standard features do you get for your money?

The Trendline packs in essentials such as air conditioning, front electric windows and a Composition Colour 16.5cm touchscreen audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and USB port, while safety spec has improved, with front and rear curtain airbags now part of the deal. To mark its entry-level status, the Trendline rides on 14-inch steel wheels with plastic covers.

The Comfortline adds 15-inch alloys, along with colour coded door handles and mirrors (which are now electrically adjustable) and also gains Multi-function Display “Plus”, two extra speakers, a leather-covered multi-function steering wheel, Driver Alert and rear electric windows. You also get more optional extras at this level, such as satnav and the Active Info Display digital instrument cluster.

Highline models upgrade to a Composition Media 20.3cm touchscreen audio system with App Connect (including Apple CarPlay) and voice control; this model also gains sports front seats, ambient interior lighting and cruise control. You can tell it apart by standard 16-inch alloy wheels.

A ‘beats’ edition Polo is available too, featuring a 300-watt ‘beats’ audio system as well as an amplifier and subwoofer.

Those seeking more style can opt for an R-Line package, available with the Comfortline and Highline and featuring a sportier front bumper, side sills, gloss black boot spoiler and diffuser.

And yes, there is a new GTI on the way too, powered by VW’s 147kW two-litre turbopetrol engine, but you’ll have to wait a little longer for that to arrive - likely by midyear. More on that when it arrives.

All Polos are sold with a three-year/120 000 warranty and three-year/45 000km service plan.

1.0 TSI 70kW Trendline R235 900
1.0 TSI 70kW ComfortlineR264 700
1.0 TSI 70kW Comfortline DSG R280 700
1.0 TSI 85kW Highline R286 200
1.0 TSI 85kW Highline DSG R302 200

IOL Motoring