The New 2014 Volkswagen Polo Review [Video]
The Volkswagen Polo has always been a solid choice within its segment and has inspired a large and loyal following. VW have gone back to the drawing board and made some tweaks and changes to update the 5th generation model. Are they running the risk of alienating the 2014 Volkswagen Polo loving people by playing around with the tried and tested formula?
Short answer is no. The revised edition of the MK5 Polo is cleaner, cleverer and a bit classier than its predecessor, but on the whole nothing much has changed from the 2009 edition on first glance. On the inside is a different story. There’s a bit more high tech available, a selection of new engines and a Golf style cabin. Loyal Polo fans will appreciate the minor changes more than anything.
That’s the thing with the 2014 Volkswagen Polo – subtle classiness. It’s always been an effective yet conservative choice as superminis go. It’s a solid formula that works so why fix something that’s not broken? Yes they could clearly have been a bit more adventurous and have done more, but exactly the opposite is what this car thrives upon – it doesn’t need to try and impress with supermini gimmicks and fashion statements because it’s already what people know and love. And VW know their market here.
To look at, aside from a tiny bit of extra chrome and alteration to the bumper, it’s clear to see that VW have spent almost no money on redesigning the look – it’s practically the same as the old model. But this has been intentional. Inside, the feel will be familiar to 2014 Volkswagen Polo drivers; there is definitely a very Golf-like edge to the cabin. It’s got a quality feel about it and the centralised Infotainment screen dominates the central console, working with a swiping smartphone style gesture (and also uses Mirrorlink function to hook up to your smartphone to use certain approved Android apps while driving). The seats are also some of the most supportive of any small car on the market. The back is much as before with legroom being predominantly reliant on how generous the front passengers will be, but it’s worth noting that it’s still bigger than the class leading Ford Fiesta’s rear seat space. The 280ltr boot is marginally smaller than others in the class but it will generally suit most drivers for everyday use. One thing of note is that in place of the standard tyre puncture repair kit, the Polo has a full spare wheel – a very rare feature in these kinds of car.
Once behind the wheel, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that the handling and drive quality is near enough exactly the same as the previous 5th generation model. Why? Because it pretty much IS exactly the same. They have however updated the steering to an electric setup which beats the Xbox style feel that some other electric steering setups give. It’s good at negotiating all manner of urban roadways, while its large rear window and size make it easy-peasy to park.
VW have predominantly hedged their bets under the bonnet, where a number of significant changes have happened and a new Euro 6 compliant engine range is available. There’s a revised diesel 1.4ltr which is a good bet, with the top spec model coming with VW’s extremely clever ACT (Active Cylinder Technology) system. This system can unperceivably shut down 2 of the 4 cylinders while on low to medium throttle so that it vastly increases efficiency. It will open up with all 4 again in a millisecond if you need to put your foot down. Mid-range, the 90ps 16 valve 2.0ltr petrol engine holds 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds going to a top speed of 122mph, which is a great engine for both longer and shorter trips. For most people though, the 1ltr 3 cylinder version (which shares the same chirpy engine as the VW Up! city car) should work out nicely if you want a good little “round the town” run around. It’s got a nice eager feel to it and is miles better than the feeble 1.2ltr engine that was originally released. It’s got 0-62 at 15.5 secs and a top speed that just about scrapes 100mph. Although there’s also the 75ps version of this engine which improves this to 14.3 seconds and a top speed of 108. If you fancy hitting the top of the range then there are two interesting sporty models. The Blue GT (which was originally the flagship for the ACT system) can make it to 62mph in 7.8 seconds with a healthy top speed of 137mph, while still returning the same economic levels of the basic 1ltr model- very clever! Then there is the hot hatch GTI (which for the first time comes with manual transmission) which is less economically viable, but has a 1.4ltr TSI super AND turbo charged engine which allows it to reach 0-62 in 7 seconds and has a smashing top speed of 142mph.
All in all, what have we got here with new 2014 Volkswagen Polo? Well as we’ve pointed out, there are very few cosmetic changes to the exterior, but then again with the 2014 Volkswagen Polo it’s never been about making a fashion statement. They know their market and they know what they want to see out of the new model. There have been some significant improvements in technology, safety provisions and engine efficiency. Especially with the revised interior, it seems that they are attempting to make the 2014 Volkswagen Polo into a kind of scaled down Golf. Luckily what most people would ideally like out of a small car. It’s fair to say that there might be funkier and more dynamically driving cars out there, but the quality and class of the forever cheerful 2014 Volkswagen Polo will always make it a solid and reliable competitor in this class.
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