The iconic Volkswagen Polo joined the Volkswagen model line up back in 1975. It was the smallest Volkswagen you could buy and 18 million cars have been sold since then. It's small but spacious, with a timeless design and various trim styles to take it from practical to sporty.
The current, 6th generation Polo was launched in 2017 on the MQB platform. The 'facelift' version launching this month will be the most cutting-edge version yet. It will be fully digital, innovative and intelligent, using the very latest in driver assistance systems.
We took a look back at its predecessors - get ready for some indulgent nostalgia! ...
The Polo mark one was born in 1975. With a 0.9 litre engine and 40PS it seems very basic compared to today's standards! It was available in just 2 trim levels, the N or the more luxury L.
In 1981, the mark two featured a completely re-designed body. With a rear that fell away sharply, the Polo became a small 2 door estate.
Not until 1994 did the Polo receive a make-over in the mark three. The vehicle body, chassis and engine were all completely new. The cubic design was reinterpreted and the new Polo looked much more modern. Wider outer dimensions resulted in even greater space. The Polo was available for the first time as a five door model. Modern safety systems such as driver’s and passenger’s airbags, seat belt tensioner and antilock braking system were featured.
The mark four in 2001 took on a rounder 'face', now with circular headlamps and indicators, more recognisable as a modern-era car.
2009 saw the mark five become more concerned with fuel economy as was the zeitgeist of the era.
The current model (until its facelift launch this week) - mark six - which was launched in 2017 - the longest dimensions yet and based on the modular transverse matrix MQB. This has allowed it to incorporate high-tech driver assistance and safety features.
Former Head Designer at Volkswagen and creator of the Polo, Hartmut Warkuß, was asked what he thought of the Polo from a modern perspective.
"It has nice proportions and clear lines. Which makes it convincing and self-explanatory. This is a design which will still work for years to come. For me, it is comparable with a picture that would still make sense upside down! It is a nice car."
Numerous special editions have been created during the Polo's history, we've picked out a few that stand out from the crowd.
1992 saw the introduction of a special edition Polo Genesis, as Volkswagen sponsored the famous pop group's European tour. With lots of extras and an integrated sound package, it came in a special colour - 'Violet Touch Pearl Effect'.
In 1995 the 'Harlequin' was produced. Initially for promotional purposes, it was in demand and so Volkswagen produced a commercially available harlequin with red, yellow, blue and turquoise panels!
In 1998, the Polo 'Open Air' opened up completely new perspectives: this special edition featured a huge, electric sunroof which could be concertinaed in front of the C-pillar, thus even affording passengers in the back seats an unrestricted view of the sun and sky.
The Polo R WRC was developed for the World Rally Championships. Amazing success for the Polo, winning world champion four times.
The roughly 300-PS all-wheel-drive car was a hit from the very start. In 2013, the debut season, the team from Hanover secured the driver’s and manufacturer’s championship in the highest rally class. The world champion car was also the one to beat in the following season and was able to successfully defend the title. The twelve season wins in 2014 and 2015 – at a total of 13 rallies – had never been seen before. In the 52 WRC events that Volkswagen Motorsport contested over the four years, a Polo R WRC driver topped the podium 43 times.
Tomasz Bachorski and Marco Pavone, as interior designer and exterior designer for the Volkswagen brand, have joined forces to design the sixth generation Polo. Their philosophy is evolutionary design, with the Polo DNA important to the present day version. They feel it 'should be new - yet also recognisable inside and outside as a modern Polo.' Inside, 'the cockpit must be an experience – new and desirable, but also familiar. With a sense of feeling at home digitally, a sporty automotive interior architecture and driver-oriented design. All instruments and displays are arranged in one visual and operational axis. Of course, there are many more elements today than in the 1970s, but the clarity of that time has inspired us.'
We're looking forward to the launch of the new version of our well-loved Polo. Check out the latest news on the New Polo 2021 in our new car pages and latest offer pages. Looking for an approved used Polo with all the benefits of the Volkswagen Approved Used programme? Search here!
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