The Volkswagen Polo is a supermini car with a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout built in hatchback, sedan, and estate body styles. Volkswagen began producing it since 1975 for over six generations now.
In Australia, the Polo came in 1996, skipping the first two generations.
The First Generation (Typ 86; 1975-1981)
The Volkswagen Polo Mk1 (Mark I) was rolled out from 1975 to 1981 in 3-door hatchback and 2-door sedan body styles. This generation shared the Volkswagen Group A01platform with the Audi 50.
The LS model was powered by a 1043-cc engine producing 37kW and equipped with chrome bumpers, parking lights, rear wash wipe, sun visors, and 13-inch wheels. The GLS model replaced the LS as the range-topping car in 1979, adding chrome headlight and grille surrounds, sunroof, a cigarette lighter and chrome wheel trims. The other engines used for this generation were 895-cc (30 kW), 1093-cc (26 kW), and 1272-cc (44 kW) units.
In 1979 at the Amsterdam Motor Show, the facelifted Mark I Polo debuted with a restyled front grille, plastic bumpers, and a revised dashboard. CLS, S, and LX trim levels were also added.
The Second Generation (Typ 86C; 1981-1994)
The Volkswagen Polo Mk2 added a 3-door wagon to the two existing variants. This generation brought two body styling, one with a steep rear window (called Wagon) and the other with a diagonal rear window (called Coupé). The naming was curious since both were 3-door hatchbacks.
In 1987, the GT G40 model was introduced in the LHD Coupe form, equipped with a supercharger. The Polo G40 engine was a 1.3L petrol unit producing 83kW and having a maximum speed of 196km/h.
The VW Polo Mk2 came with six available trim levels, namely, Fox, C, CL, GL, GT, S, CX that featured 1.0L, 1.1L, 1.3L petrol engines and 1.3L and 1.4L diesel engines.
In 1990, the facelifted model appeared with square headlights, bigger bumpers and a new interior (dash and door trim) in the hatchback, coupé hatchback, and sedan body types. The Mark 2F featured an I4 engine with a single-point injection. It came with two new trim levels, Boulevard and Genesis.
Soon after that, a new sporting model of the supercharged G40 was launched with an engine that produced 83kW. The car featured Le Mans sports seats, a bee sting aerial antenna, and 5.5J X 13" BBS RA cross-spoke alloy wheels.
The Third Generation (Typ 6N/6KV; 1994–2002)
The Volkswagen Polo Mk3 was launched in 1994 in 3- and 5-door hatchback, 4-door saloon and 5-door estate variants. This generation was the first VW Polo to set foot in the Australian market, which happened in 1996. The trim levels included the base, Open Air, 16 V, S, and SE models.
- Base model and Open Air - 1.6L petrol engine (55kW,135 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox or 4-speed automatic transmission
- 16V, S, and SE - 1.4L petrol engine (55kW, 126 Nm), 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual gearbox
The base trim level was equipped with dual front airbags, central locking, cloth trim, engine immobiliser, power mirrors, power steering, power front windows, and radio CD with 4 speakers.
Instead of a convertible version, VW produced the Polo Open Air. It was equipped with an electrically-sliding full-length sunroof as well as air conditioning, tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, alloy wheels, front fog lights, and seatbelt pretensioners for the front seats.
Several sporting variants of the Polo Mk3 were introduced, such as the Polo GTI and Polo Harlekin.
The Mk3 received awards as the Car of the Year in 1995 from What Car?, the Semperit Irish Car of the Year in 1996, the Best Supermini in 1997 from the Complete COTY, Auto Express, and Which magazine. It won the Best Supermini in 1998 from the Top Gear magazine and the Best Economy Car in 1999.
The Fourth Generation (Typ 6Q/9N/9N3; 2002–2009)
The Volkswagen Polo Mk4 debuted at the Frankfurt Motor show in 2001 as 3- and 5-door hatchbacks and 4-door sedans in front-wheel and four-wheel drivetrains.
In Australia, it was available with the following powertrain options:
- Club, Elite and Match (hatchbacks) - 1.4L petrol engine (55kW, 126 Nm), 4-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual gearbox
- Classic (sedan) - 1.6L petrol engine (74kW, 148 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox or 6-speed automatic transmission
- GTi - 1.8L petrol engine (110kW, 220 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- TDI and Pacific TDI - 1.9L diesel engine (74kW, 240 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox
- Edition - 1.4L petrol engine (59kW, 130 Nm), 6-speed automatic transmission
- Pacific - 1.6L petrol engine (77kW, 153 Nm), 6-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual gearbox
The Elite trim level featured ABS, anti-theft alarm system, cruise control, remote-controlled central locking, EBD, front fog lights, power front windows, side airbags, and a trip computer.
The GTi was launched in 2005 at the Australian International Motor Show and added the following:
Air Conditioning, 16-Inch Alloy Wheels, Brake Assist, Electronic Differential Lock, Electronic Stability Program, Head Airbags, Leather Steering Wheel, Radio CD with 8 Speakers, Rear Spoiler, Side Front Airbags, Sport Seats, and Traction Control System
The Fifth Generation (Typ 6R/6C/61; 2009–2017)
The Volkswagen Polo Mk5 introduced at the Geneva Motor Show was slightly larger than its predecessor. The VW Group A05 (PQ25) platform underpinned it, the same platform used for the Audi A1, SEAT Ibiza, and Skoda Fabia.
It was rolled out as 3- and 5-door hatchbacks and 4-door sedans with a front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout. In 2010, the Mk5 received the European Car of the Year award. In Australia, it also got two awards as the Drive Car of the Year and CarsGuide Car of the Year.
The engine options were:
- 66 TDI Comfortline - 1.6L diesel engine (66kW, 230 Nm), 7-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual gearbox
- 77 TSI Comfortline - 1.2L petrol engine (77kW, 175 Nm), 7-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual gearbox
- Trendline - 1.4L petrol engine (63kW, 132 Nm), 7-speed automatic transmission or a 5-speed manual gearbox
- GTi - 1.4L petrol engine (132kW, 250 Nm), 7-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual gearbox
- 66 TSI Trendline and URBAN (66TSI) - 1.2L petrol engine (66kW, 160 Nm), 5-speed manual gearbox or 7-speed automatic transmission
- 81 TSI Comfortline, BEATS, and URBAN + (81TSI) - 1.2L petrol engine (81kW, 175 Nm), 7-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual gearbox
- GTi - 1.8L petrol engine (141kW, 250 Nm), 7-speed automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual gearbox
The 66 TDI Comfortline and 77 TSI Comfortline featured:
Dual Front/Head/Side Front Airbags, ABS, Air Conditioning, 15-Inch Alloy Wheels, Brake Assist, Cruise Control, Central Locking Remote Control, Cloth Trim, EBD, Electronic Differential Lock, ESP, Hill Holder, Engine Immobiliser, Leather Steering Wheel, Multi-Function Steering Wheel, Power Mirrors With Indicators, Power Steering/Windows, Radio CD with 6 Speakers, Seatbelts Pre-tensioners (Front), Trip Computer, and Traction Control System
The GTi added:
17-Inch Alloy Wheels, DRL - LED, Front Fog Lights, Power Windows (Front), Rear Spoiler, Side Airbags, and Sport Seats and Suspension
The 66 TSI Trendline and 81 TSI Comfortline added:
Adjustable Driver Seat (Manual), Automatic Stop/Start, Ambient Temperature Display, Chrome Front Grille, Dust and Pollen Filter, Low Fuel Warning, Memory Card Reader, Multi-Function Control Screen, and Storage Compartment (Centre Floor Console)
The Sixth Generation (Typ AW; 2017–present)
The sixth generation of the VW Polo Mk6 was launched in 2017 in 5-door hatchback and 4-door saloon body styles. Unlike its predecessor, it has a more spacious cabin and improved engine and interior technology.
The powertrain options available in Australia are:
- 70 TSI Trendline - 1.0L petrol engine (70kW, 175 Nm), 7-speed automatic transmission or 5-speed manual gearbox
- 85 TSI Comfortline, 85 TSI Style, BEATS and Launch Edition - 1.0L petrol engine (85kW, 200 Nm), 7-speed automatic transmission or 6-speed manual gearbox
- GTi - 2.0L petrol engine (147kW, 320 Nm), 6-speed automatic transmission
The Mk6 features:
Automatically-Activated Hazard Lights, Dual Front/CurtainSide Airbags, Anti-Slip Regulation, Brake Energy Regeneration, Multipurpose Centre Console Box, Collision Warning (Full Auto Brake), Driver Fatigue Detection, DRL - LED, Height-Adjustable Seats (Driver and Passenger), Rear Fog Lights, Glovebox Compartment, Hill Start Assist, Inlays, Intermittent Wipers - Front, LED Indicators, Leather Gear Knob/Steering Wheel, Multi-Function Steering Wheel, Pedestrian Recognition, Power Exterior Mirrors (Heated), Power Windows With One-Touch Operation, Radio AM/FM, Rear Bumper Special, Rear View Mirror Day/Night, Seatbelts Pre-tensioners (Rear), Seatbelts - Reminder for All Seats, Side-Impact Protection, Sound System with 6 Speakers, and Speed-Sensitive Power Steering
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Author: Andrijana Pavlovic