The new starlet from VW

The fifth generation of the Polo has proved so popular that it is crowding out the small car market. Its two major competitors, the Opel Corsa and the Ford Fiesta, have also had recent makeovers, but they are going to have a tough time against this rising star. Because this 'miniature Golf' makes all the merits of its bigger brother available to the purchaser on a reduced budget. In terms of design, it may not be quite as thrilling, but it is just as timeless; the quality of finishing is as good as anything in the pricier mid-range; they have at last come up with decent safety specification and are offering a choice of no fewer than half a dozen engines. Plus it is a bit roomier this time round.

This latest reincarnation has spread out in two of three dimensions without having got any heavier. On the contrary, those clever carmakers in Wolfsburg have managed to improve the crash structure whilst trimming up to 7.5 percent off the overall weight. Lengthwise, the newcomer has grown by four centimetres, but still stays 5cm within the four-metre mark. And it has got wider too. Three extra centimetres of track width not only make it more stable on the road but also improve the overall looks and give everyone inside just a little more elbow room. In the third dimension – headroom – it has shrunk ever so slightly.

Timing and production
· Original Polo was announced in 1975. European sales started in March of that year and in the UK in June.
· New, fifth generation Polo announced at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2009
· Production started in late March 2009
· European sales commence in June 2009
· UK five-door sales commence in October 2009; three-door follows in December
· Total sales worldwide to date amount to 10.6 million
· Total UK Polo sales to the end of April 2009 = 1,059,730

Key facts
· The new Polo is capable of delivering a 20 per cent improvement in fuel economy over the model it replaces
· Five new engines are available, and TSI and common rail technology feature in the Polo for the first time
· Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) and Hill Hold Control are both standard
· Larger, lighter, and safer than the previous generation Polo.
Is set to establish new standards in the small car class.
· New Polo's basic body structure weighs 7.5 per cent less than the version it replaces
– despite being wider and longer
· Overall length = 3,952 mm (+36 mm v previous model)
Overall width = 1,682 mm (+32 mm v previous model)
Overall height = 1,454 mm (-13 mm v previous model)
· Increased head, shoulder and legroom
· Load volume = 280 litres/952 litres with rear seats folded
· Styled by a team led by Walter de Silva (Head of Design, Volkswagen Group) the fifth generation Polo gains a distinctive new look for the car that draws on the design direction established by the Scirocco, Golf and, more recently, the BlueSport concept
· Clean, uncluttered lines mix with a thin, horizontal grille element framed by a set of sleek light units
· Use of high quality materials and advanced production processes enhance the Polo's interior. White backlit dials mix with high-quality plastics and subtle aluminium highlights throughout the cabin
· Touchscreen satellite navigation, a Dynaudio sound system and 2Zone climate control are all available as options
· Four petrol engines are offered: a pair of naturally aspirated 1.2-litre units developing 60 PS and 70 PS respectively, both with official figures of 51.4 mpg (combined cycle) and 128 g/km of CO2; a 1.4-litre engine producing 85 PS that emits 139 g/km of CO2; and an all-new 1.2-litre TSI turbocharged engine developing 105 PS with 129 g/km of CO2 and returning 51.4 mpg on the combined cycle
· Making its debut in the Polo is an all-new 1.6-litre TDI common rail diesel engine available in two different forms – 75 PS and 90 PS – both returning 67.3 mpg on the combined cycle with 109 g/km of CO2
· All engines meet the Euro 5 emissions standard
· Seven-speed DSG transmission appears in the new Polo for the first time
· Shown as a concept car at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show, the Polo BlueMotion will be equipped with an all-new 1.2-litre three-cylinder common rail diesel engine developing 75 PS, automatic Stop-Start and regenerative braking, a gearbox with revised ratios, optimised aerodynamics beneath the vehicle, suspension lowered by 15 mm and the fitment of low rolling resistance tyres. All of these modifications will allow the vehicle to achieve 85.5 mpg (provisional figure) on the combined cycle while emitting just 87 g/km of CO2
· The Polo features a long list of standard safety equipment including for the first time on all models, four airbags, anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) and Isofix anchor points
· The latest generation of Volkswagen's Whiplash Optimised Head Restraint System (WOKS) with the aim of reducing the likelihood of neck injuries in a crash is also fitted as standard

UK sales
· Four trim levels – S, SE, Mode and SEL – will be offered in the UK with a starting price of around £9,000 for the S 1.2-litre 60 PS three-door model
· The three-door model will go on sale in December 2009 and will account for 40 per cent of sales in 2010
· Polo BlueMotion will become available from 2010
· Volkswagen anticipates UK sales of around 5,000 units in 2009, increasing to around 38,000 in 2010
· The fleet market is expected to account for 37 per cent of these sales
· The best selling model will be the SE 1.2-litre 60 PS which will account for around 13 per cent of all sales
· The SE trim is expected to account for over 50 per cent of total sales of the Polo
· In 2008, Volkswagen UK sold 35,710 Polos

Launch logistics
· The vehicles are collected from the airport before a short (30 km) drive to the hotel
· From the hotel there are two driving routes – the short route measures 38 km (approx 40 mins), the long route is 80 km (approx 90 mins)
· Tracking and support vehicles for photography are available if required

Present at the informal evening event
· Dr. Horst Neumann, Member of the Board of Management, Volkswagen AG and the Volkswagen Passenger Car Brand with responsibility for Human Resources and Labour Director
· Walter de Silva, Head of Design, Volkswagen Group
· Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design, Volkswagen Brand
· Further representatives from technical development and product marketing

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