Blitzing the new Volkswagen Polo liftback
The simplest Volkswagen Polo costs 793 thousand rubles, air-conditioned – from 838 thousand. With an automatic – from 938,000. Exclusive 1.4 TSI version (as pictured) comes to 1.33 million rubles.
The resentment has almost gone. We’ve gotten used to the idea that the localized Volkswagen Polo will spend another ten years on the old PQ25 chassis instead of the MQB platform, which is relevant almost everywhere else in the world. And it will be the second decade: the Polo sedan launched in Russia in 2010. Now it is a liftback with a huge liftgate in the trunk, and compared to the old Polo there are so many changes that we can talk about a change of generations. But we understand that the new car simply became the double of Skoda Rapid. It appeared in 2012.
By the standards of a budget segment Polo looks solid and weighty. Massive front grille with a flared grille abundantly decorated with chrome adds Stati. Gleaming stripes in top versions appeared under side windows. All lights in the front and rear are diode, and the fog lights are integrated into the main headlights: they are diode sections near the grille. The Rapid has halogen fog lights, as well as the high beam in the base versions. And in the top version both cars change the usual headlights for lensed ones.
The interior of rich versions looks interesting thanks to the overlays with a pattern in the form of notches. The fluted deflector sliders add a sense of expensive. But in the display-filled cabin there are lamps on bulbs and lack of light at make-up mirrors.
The interior looks much more modern than in old Polo, though only seats and armrests are soft. The dashboard is own, not from Rapid, but exactly the same, according to time trends, the multimedia system is moved upwards. The difference from Skoda is only in matt screen and some other graphics. My opinion is that it is the most “live” and convenient media complex in the class. While the Rapid is waiting for its turn, the Polo already offers electronic dashboard – the same, as on the Jetta. Let it be with the minimum of variants of design, but the competitors do not have anything similar.
A steering wheel is worthy of the automobile of much higher class. The dashboard display with small symbols is 10 inches, and the touch screen of the media system is 8 inches. Touch-screen and touch-buttons on its sides work even from hands in gloves.
Steering wheel with thick, slightly oval in section rim and twenty buttons, including a signal is good. True, the key of driver’s assistants is false. The Polo doesn’t yet have auto-braking system, which is already on the Rapid, and pressing it displays the message “Key doesn’t work”. Volkswagen people call this steering wheel “from an eighth Golf”, though the lining of a hub in Polo is made cheaper, than in the mentioned hatch. The main thing is that only Passat has such one in Russia yet. It is so pleasant to hold it that there is a sensation of more comfortable landing. But no, unfortunately, the steering wheel has not been moved closer to the seat.
The middle of the seats is ribbed fabric, and the sides have faux suede elements. It looks cool, holds the body not bad, but the profile of a backrest is sagged. In the back it became noticeably more spacious in the knees: the base has grown by five centimeters!
The seats have gained some lateral support, if you compare with the previous generation. But the carcass is unified with the Rapid, which means the lumbar area of the front seats and the lack of adjustment of the support in this place. The transition to Skoda interior improved properties of back seats. There is more space in knees, L-shaped headrests instead of classical ones do not obstruct a review back any more, there are such luxuries, as a central armrest and a hatch in a trunk for long cargoes. Also it is rare for budget cars.
Declared ground clearance has increased from 163 up to 170 mm, however on a live car I have measured no more than 150 mm. There is no power protection of crankcases from below, nor full-fledged duster.
Getting settled on a driver’s seat, you notice the appearance of frameless wipers and widened mirrors from Skoda. However, the left one does not have the widening zone any more. As a whole there are no questions to visibility, and hiding from mud in the emblem a rear-view camera is a delight. But why is the rear window wiper an option for 3000 rubles even for the maximum, packed version Exclusive priced from 1,1 million?
The rear-view camera moves out with a soft whirring sound. The transition to the electronic architecture MQB has made it possible to use such a design. Markup lines on the screen are static, the picture quality is not the best. The rear window wiper covers a large sector.
In general, all the differences between the new Polo and updated Rapid lie in the details of kitting. We shall return to this, because it is necessary to tell a couple of words about driving sensations. The first test was only 40-minute, but my impressions have confirmed the stories of Volkswagen technicians. Power units, chassis settings, dimensions of wheels and brakes – the same as in the Rapid.
If to compare with the old Polo, it means a little bit softer springs, but the stabilizers of transverse stability are tightened. The running smoothness has really improved a little: Volkswagen notes less sensitively all irregularities, though it still does not let forget about them. Alas, the main disadvantage of the platform PQ25 – lack of power capacity has not disappeared. A rubber “lying policeman” at the speed more than 30-40 km/h hits under your breath so that now it seems that the supports will come out through the hood. Outside cities with smooth streets, Polo, as well as before, is not a fighter.
Cables of a parking brake, looking below details of a suspension, will still bother aesthetes. The towing eye under the rear bumper is not hidden.
Noise insulation is improved in part due to the fact that the engine shield is now covered with the original solid mat. Previously it was unified with the European Polo and had extra holes for right-hand drive versions. The roof insulation was also strengthened. Radical changes I did not feel, especially since I received a car with the engine 1.4 TSI and its characteristic murmur, but also a strong pressure on the ears at speeds up to 90-100 km / h have not noticed. For the final conclusions we will wait for the full-fledged tests.
The central rear armrest is available in two configurations out of four, and the rear charging sockets (as well as in front, USB-C standard) require additional payment in any case. In the back both cushions and backrests are heated. Unlike the Skoda, the options are mostly offered in packages, not one at a time.
The engine can now be started with a button, in the Skoda manner placed on the place of the ignition switch: the top versions have contactless access. The duo of 125 hp turbo engine and “robot” DSG drives lively, sane – it cannot be compared with 110 hp 1.6 and “automatic” which acceleration Rapid in our recent test sluggishly and twitchily and definitely the same working under a hood of Polo. There are no questions to brakes, at least with application of rear disk mechanisms instead of basic drums. But if drums are used only with 90 hp engine in Skoda, here they are applied to all elevator back cars in non-luxury versions, if not to pay additional money for disks.
The cargo compartment is dimensionless like Skoda and does not differ in trimming from the Rapid. Under the flabby mat there is a temporary spare wheel and a small box from foam plastic. Hooks, side walls and 12-volt socket are supplied only for extra money.
This is where the combinatorics begins. It seems that marketers tried to present Polo as more technological car – therefore it is offered with electronic devices, diode fog lights and retractable camera. Rapid – a bastion of safety and practicality: side airbags and “curtains” are available in the middle versions, as well as disc brakes in the back. Hooks and latches for cargo in the trunk (equally huge) at Skoda does not require a surcharge. Autobraking system and sports seats are available only in it. More or less similarly equipped Polo and Rapid in price lists share about 30 thousand rubles. Volkswagen is more expensive.
The Polo has a warranty of three years or 100K miles. Adaptations to Russian conditions include a washer tank with a capacity of 5.4 liters and a battery that “takes into account the load when starting the engine at temperatures as low as -36°C.”
Personally, I welcome all the changes to the Polo – except for the disappearance of the four automatic window lifters in favor of one driver’s window elevator. The liftback is more comfortable and beautiful than the sedan, the interior no longer causes despondency, it became more pleasant to be behind a steering wheel, and the ride is softer. Alas, the lessons of Rapid are not learnt completely: there are no cup holders, there is nowhere to put a smartphone and backs of front seats are sagged. But the key question is in something else. Is the love of Russians to classical sedans imaginary? If Polo liftback will “go” no worse than its predecessor, then maybe other brands will stop being so hung up on three-cabin models.
|Volkswagen Polo||1.6 MPI 90 hp||1.6 MPI 110 hp||1.4 TSI|
|Number of doors/seats||5/5||5/5||5/5|
|Track front/rear, mm||1460/1500||1460/1500||1460/1500|
|Curb weight without driver (DIN), kg||1110-1181||1120-1210||1171-1230|
|Gross weight, kg||1640||1650-1680||1700|
|Cargo space, l||530-1460||530-1460||530-1460|
|Type||petrol||petrol||direct injection gasoline, turbocharged|
|Location||front, transversely||front, transversely||front, transversely|
|Number and arrangement of cylinders||4, in line||4, in line||4, in line|
|Number of valves||16||16||16|
|Working volume, cm³||1598||1598||1395|
|Max. power, hp/rpm||90/4250-6000||110/5800||125/5000-6000|
|Max. torque, Nm/rpm||155/3800-4000||155/3800-4000||200/1400-4000|
|gearbox||five-speed manual||manual, five-speed (automatic, six-speed)||robotised, preselective, seven-speed|
|Front suspension||independent, spring-mounted, McPherson||independent, spring-mounted, McPherson||independent, spring-mounted, McPherson|
|Rear suspension||semi-independent, spring loaded||semi-independent, spring loaded||semi-independent, spring loaded|
|front brakes||ventilated discs||ventilated discs||ventilated discs|
|rear brakes||drum or disc||drum or disc||discs|
|steering||rack and pinion, with electric power steering on steering shaft||rack and pinion, with electric power steering on steering shaft||rack and pinion, with electric power steering on steering shaft|
|Tires||185/60 R15||185/60 R15||185/60 R15|
|Ground clearance, mm||170||170||170|
|Top speed, km/h||184||195 (190)*||204|
|Acceleration time from 0 to 100 km/h, s||11,4||10,7 (11,8)||9,2|
|Fuel consumption, l/100 km|
|– city cycle||8,4||8,4 (8,7)||7,7|
|– country cycle||5,2||5,2 (5,4)||4,9|
|– combined cycle||6,4||6,4 (6,6)||6,0|
|Fuel tank capacity, l||55||55||55|
|* Data in brackets are for the version with automatic transmission.|
The Polo with the factory code CK is based on the PQ25 platform, which traces its history since 2008. McPherson struts are used in front, and a twisting beam from Skoda Octavia of the first generation is in the back. The thickness of front anti-roll bar is 20 mm, rear – 18 mm. Electric power steering motor is installed on the steering shaft. The chassis settings are unified with the Skoda Rapid, produced on the same assembly line in Kaluga.
The basic 1.6 MPI engine with distributed injection is a modern atmospheric engine, derived from the supercharged family EA211. It also has an aluminum cylinder block with cast-iron liners, an aluminum head with an integrated exhaust manifold, belt drive timing, dual-circuit cooling system. The water pump is integrated into the thermostat housing. The intake shaft is equipped with a phase shifter. Compression ratio is 10.5:1. The mounts are located the same way as on the related turbocharged engines. The engine is produced in Kaluga and develops 90 or 110 hp, depending on the control program. The older version can be equipped with a six-speed hydromechanical “automatic” Aisin AQ-160, which leads its history since 2003. At the top of the range is a duo of supercharged 1.4 TSI motor (125 hp, pictured) from the same family and seven-speed DSG DQ200 “robot” with dry clutch.
Behind the scenes
The new Polo was presented with a delay caused by the pandemic: Drive2 is already full of such cars. We were alone at the event, because each journalist had his own slot in order not to cross with the others. The branded mask, gloves and sanitizer were left as a memento.
All dimensions of the trunk of the Volkswagen Polo liftback
The design of the liftback body itself assumes a trunk of noticeably larger volume than that of the sedan classmates, which are quite popular in Russia. And Polo in this sense keeps its mark: the trunk volume is 530 liters, and with folded back passenger seats it is 1 460 liters, it is a very good indicator in B class.
In the budget segment, the size of the trunk is of considerable importance, because such cars often have to play the role of a universal vehicle, serving all the needs of the family.
Not surprisingly, the characteristics of the luggage compartment are of interest to many people, as well as engine power, type of transmission or equipment with additional equipment in a particular configuration.
From widespread in Russia Polo’s classmates to compete with it in this indicator can only the coplatable Skoda Rapid with exactly the same body.
|Model of the car||Trunk in standard position (l)||With folded back seats (l)|
|Kia Rio X-Line||390||1075|
|Lada SW Cross||480||825|
The sizes of a luggage compartment.
A considerable advantage of the liftback body, a full-fledged fifth door instead of a trunk lid in sedans, allows carrying really dimensional things, up to refrigerators or furniture.
The width of the trunk in the narrowest and problem place between wheel arches is almost one meter, and the height from the floor is 85 cm. A closet is unlikely to fit in, but some night table – quite.
The length of luggage compartment with taking into account folded back seats and moved aside front seats is more than 2 m, i.e. it turns out good sleeping place in case of need.
The height of luggage edge (that is the one on which you have to lift cargo from the road) is comparable with competitors – 72,5 cm. But it will be difficult for the majority to hit your head against the edge of the fifth door during loading-unloading, as it is 215,5 cm.
Disadvantages of the trunk
- The step when the rear seats are folded down. When transporting large and heavy items, it will create significant inconvenience.
- The trunk of the Polo is empty in terms of space organization. The optional mountings for cargo for 5,900 р. obviously do not solve the problem. However, some dealers try to correct the situation independently, offering gifts in the form of a mat with a protective cover etc.
And people quickly found a way out of the situation, installing in the trunk organizers from the Skoda Rapid or third-party firms that promptly responded to market demands.
Trunk on the roof
In some cases, for relatively light loads, it is advisable to use a roof rack. No Polo is equipped with normal roof rails, so you will have to select them by yourself. In addition, official road racketeers have recently become accustomed to handbill the trunk on the roof, regarded it as a car’s re-equipment.
According to the Polo’s owners’ reviews, the top trunks fit from the Rapid, but there can be difficulties with adjustment of the rear rack.
In general, it is recommended to limit the weight of cargo on the roof to 50-70 kg, as it increases the center of gravity of the whole car and negatively affects its stability. Even light, but bulky cargo on the roof will sharply worsen aerodynamics and increase fuel consumption.
It is better not to experiment on Polo…
Results and conclusions
On the one hand, due to the body of liftback, new Polo has received quite capacious and convenient for loading luggage rack, in which so you want “to cram the immensity”, becoming a desirable car in its price segment for many countrymen, travelers, family people and simply practical people who prefer to count on their own strength.
On the other hand, it is worth remembering about the limited lifting capacity of the chassis and that the test of strength overload will not contribute to a long and trouble-free operation of the car.
And then Volkswagen Polo for many years will become a reliable assistant in all situations of life.