Rowan Horncastle28 January 2014

VW facelifts the Polo

Small hatchback gets new engines and tech from its siblings

It's been five years since the fifth-gen VW Polo was unveiled. Time, clearly, for a facelift.

But the small Vee Dub has gone in for more of a Sophie Raworth mole removal than complete Joan Rivers facial reconstruction: the lines of the bumpers have been tightened, you can now spec LED headlights, and there are five new alloy wheel designs. Visually, that's it.

Conservative on the outside, but inside the revamped Polo has borrowed bigger, more crucial components from its siblings. Notably, engines from the Up, and tech from the Golf.

The big news is the engines. There's a new, even more efficient petrol unit - an 89bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder and the first of its kind to be stamped with the BlueMotion tag. The folks from Wolfsburg claim it'll do 68.9 mpg on a combined cycle and emit just 94 g/km of CO2.

There's also a new more efficient diesel Bluemotion if your preferred pump colour is black. It's got 74bhp, is claimed to develop peak torque of 155lb ft at 1500rpm, and will also do do a claimed 88.3mpg and 82g/km.

If these don't take your fancy, every other engine in the range has been improved or replaced, including the range-topping GTI, which gains an extra 12bhp.

Inside the Polo has been renovated with a new three-spoke steering wheel and smarter centre console, making getting cold air into your face less of a chore. Then there's the addition of the same infotainment system that's in the MkVII Golf.

It's also borrowed safety tech from its bigger brother, too. Now there's a post collision braking system that jams on the stoppers after a heavy impact to minimise another one, a system that detects if you're sleepy, radar-controlled distance control and an emergency braking function with automatic braking at speeds below 18mph. All quite grown-up stuff for a small car.

We're set to see it in the flesh at this year's Geneva motor show in March. It'll go on sale soon after for the same price as its current equivalent. So if you were thinking about treating yourself to a new minty-named small hatchback, STOP. And wait a little longer. It'll be worth it.

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