Geneva 2009: 2010 Volkswagen Polo

By Chris Haak


DB2009AU00242Volkswagen’s subcompact (B-segment) 2010 Polo made its worldwide debut at the 2009 Geneva auto show.  The all-new Polo was engineered to ace the tough Euro NCAP crash tests with five stars and offers improved structural rigidity, but cuts the weight of the previous Polo by 7.5%.  The weight reduction helps performance, handling, and fuel economy – and is a perfect example of intelligent engineering and shatters the notion that additional safety equipment and a stronger structure have to result in a heavier vehicle.

The Polo will be offered in Europe with a choice of seven different engines – three diesel and four gasoline – and will also achieve impressive fuel economy figures, particularly in the TDI models.  The 1.6 liter, 90 PS TDI engine, when combined with the available BlueMotion package, gets an impressive 62 mpg in European testing.  The 1.2 liter, 102 PS TSI (direct-injection, turbocharged four cylinder gasoline engine) gets about 43 miles per gallon.  In addition to the lighter weight versus the previous model, the new Polo’s fuel economy and performance improvements can be attributed to a new seven-speed DSG.

The exterior of the Polo is updated with the new VW corporate face that resides on the Scirocco and Golf.  The car overall looks pretty good – partucularly with large aluminum wheels – but not unlike just a smaller version of the Golf.  The bottom of the doors have an interesting scallop on them, fender bulges, and nicely detailed headlamps.  The interior has a clean design (if not a little to Germanic-looking with the black plastic and fabric nearly everywhere) and includes chrome accents around the gauges, center stack, and gearshift.  The car also has more interior room than its smaller but heavier predecessor.

Sales in Europe begin at the end of June; pricing has not yet been announced.  Although the press release below does not say so, it’s expected that the Polo may be sold in the US.  If so, and if it’s priced right (something that VW seems to have trouble doing), it could prove a worthy competitor to the Honda Fit.

A photo gallery and the full press release from Volkswagen are available after the jump.

 To the point: The new Polo
The new Polo is one of the safest cars worldwide;
Polo’s TDI and TSI engines noticeably reduce fuel costs

Wolfsburg / Geneva, 02 March 2009 – No other car in this class has such a mature and high-end image as the new Polo. Comfort, quality and safety have all taken a considerable leap forward. One example: the Polo was specifically designed to attain the recently established, stricter and more comprehensive, 5-star EuroNCAP rating. The higher structural rigidity of the Polo’s bodyshell contributes to these results. In the footwell area alone, intrusion – related to the car body’s deformation strength in a frontal crash – was lowered by 50 percent! In the case of a side impact, the intrusion value was reduced by 20 percent.

Standard equipment for safety

In addition, the European version of the Polo now being presented is equipped with standard ESP electronic stabilization program with Hill Hold Control, and it has a highly effective network of airbags on board, including combined head-thorax airbags (integrated in the front seatbacks), belt tensioners and belt force limiters plus seatbelt warning indicator and head restraints that counteract the risk of whiplash injury (both front seats), three rear head restraints and Isofix child seat preparation.

Weight down, fuel consumption down

Despite significant improvements in all aspects of the car, it was possible to reduce the Polo’s body weight by 7.5 percent. The introduction of new TDI and TSI engines, as well as the 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DSG), has resulted in considerably reduced fuel consumption and emissions over a wide range of engine power outputs. An excellent example here is the new 1.2 TSI. This turbo-charged four-cylinder direct injection gasoline engine produces 77 kW / 105 PS, yet it consumes just 5.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (129 g/km CO2); this is 19 percent less than on the equivalent model of the previous generation!

In total, seven different engines will be offered on the new Polo in its first year – four gasoline and three diesel – spanning a power range from 44 kW / 60 PS to 77 kW / 105 PS. Five of these engines are entirely new or are being used for the first time in the Polo.

The new engines include all three TDIs (turbo-diesel direct-injection); thanks to the implementation for the first time of common rail technology in the Polo, these engines are both efficient and refined. The potential in the new TDI engines is clearly evident in the example of the Polo 1.6 TDI with 66 kW / 90 PS: when combined with a “BlueMotion package”, its average fuel consumption of 3.8 liters per 100 kilometers and 96 g/km CO2 makes it the most fuel efficient and lowest emitting five-seater diesel in the world. The “BlueMotion package” may be combined with any of the three equipment lines developed for the Polo. Available for selection here are the base version “Trendline”, the mid-level “Comfortline” and the top of the line “Highline”.

Individually combinable high-tech features

Options that Polo drivers will be able to order on their new Volkswagen include static turning lights integrated in the front fog lights, (from “Comfortline” up), side curtain airbags (head airbag system for front and rear passengers), radio and radio-navigation systems and integrated hands-free telephone systems. A panorama sunroof and bi-xenon headlights will follow at a later time.

Market launch starts the end of June

Start of production of the five-door Polo is scheduled for the end of March. This will be followed, starting in the last week in June, by the market launch of the visually and technically advanced new edition of the million unit bestseller in Germany. Just two weeks later, thanks to an ambitious logistics plan, Volkswagen will begin selling the car across mainland Europe, and soon Polo engines will be revving up across all continents.

Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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  1. I think the notion that a stronger structure must weigh more was shattered a couple of years ago by the Mazda 2,and again last year by the new Fiesta,but I am glad to see VW get with the program.This looks like a typical high Quality VW product,but perhaps too expensive for the USA? I think a better fit might be the past generation golf,made in Brazil and sold in Canada as the city golf.They also make a supermini sold as the fox in Europe.I think these “cheap&cheerful products might do well here.

  2. I am very glad to see VW moving away from stupid, oversized grilles. Now, if only Mazda would get the hint.

  3. Above 44 mpg(US) by 2010 = What could be done?

    It appears that Ford and VW are in a “race” for LOWEST CO2 and fuel consumption in a viable and appealing package.

    Maybe the US government could temporarily (maybe for 24 MONTHS) waive import restrictions on diesel (and gasoline) vehicles rated less than 140 g/km CO2 and above 44 mpg(US) average.

    That would open the “above 44 mpg market segment” to the US consumer from the likes of Ford (& Volvo), GM (Opel/Vauxhall), and Chrysler (Fiat?) as well as several of the other “foreign” auto manufacturers with US presence.

    It is amazing the number and variety of vehicles currently in Europe that are rated below 120 g/km CO2.

    At least these machines appear to be closer to the future California/US emissions requirements than what is currently available in the US.

    As far as I can determine there are only two (2) machines available in the US TODAY (3/14/09) that have CO2 emissions BELOW 140 g/km! They are the Prius and Civic Hybrids, at less than 110 g/km. It is my best guess that there are very few, IF ANY, Det3 machines rated below 200 g/km average.

    Availability of fuel frugal machines would NOT guarantee “fleet average” but would certainly offer expanded CHOICE to the consumer!!! Then it becomes an problem of price points, customer preceptions, and volumes.

    Oh well … so goes the OPPORTUNITY!

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