The Polo, with its distinctive new Volkswagen family face, is instead a purposeful and impressive car, which – measuring 3 970 millimetres in length (+ 54 millimetres compared to previous model) and 1 682 millimetres wide (+ 32 millimetres) – offers space for up to five people and a lot of luggage (280 to 952 litres). The car’s generous gain in width combined with a reduction in height (- 13 to 1 453 millimetres) lends the Polo a more dynamic stance and purposeful appearance. The design itself is defined by sharp, precise lines without stylistic gimmicks that quickly fade in popularity; because in the long run, less is more – and the consistently high resale values of Volkswagens are long-standing proof of this claim.
Walter de Silva’s creative touch in a style of “Semplicità”
This explains why Walter de Silva intentionally declared “La Semplicità” – “the simplicity” – as his credo here. “La Semplicità” in no way means a diminishment of features. The opposite is the case. Walter de Silva says: “Elegance and emotionality, sportiness and dynamics, continue to guide design and styling. In pursuit of simplicity and clarity, one must carefully consider how to express the intentions of designers while speaking to those of the observer.”The starting point for all of these deliberations is the car’s reflection on the Volkswagen brand, its history and its values. De Silva explains: “Certain distinctive design elements have evolved as typical of the brand. Mastery of the architecture and a balance of proportions have formed the foundation. The emphasis on horizontal lines has evolved into a unifying characteristic across models, and a literal love for details has become an essential means of expression.”Above all, there is a very high level of quality that can be clearly seen in the unmistakable precision of the car’s lines and in the treatment of its surfaces. The new Polo reflects these design principles par excellence.“The Polo,” underscores de Silva, “displays self-assured proportions. As soon as you see the car, you are struck by its dynamic looks, while the design is clean and the overall appearance very purposeful. Reduced radii, tight seams and extremely sharp panel edges in its side profile, engine hood and tailgate underscore the car’s logical design concept. Above all, the gain in width leads to a very full, powerful image from every perspective.”
The Volkswagen family face that has been specially adapted to the new Polo with its flat grille and band of headlights that has typified the brand ever since the Scirocco – emphasizes the car’s additional width. Moreover, it conveys an image of the car’s very low centre of gravity. Harmoniously integrated in this face are the Polo’s body-coloured bumpers beneath the black grille. In a third horizontal line below this, there is another large air inlet that supplies the engine and brakes with ample air. At its sides, this black band incorporates the daytime running lights and fog lights with integrated turn indicators. Just a few centimetres above the road, the narrow body-coloured front spoiler catches the eye. This spoiler has been moved forward, and it makes a decisive contribution towards the car’s exemplary pedestrian protection credentials. Volkswagen offers the Polo with two different headlights, depending on selected options: the “Trendline” base version is fitted with single headlights. Dual headlights are installed starting with the “Comfortline”. Also integrated in the headlights are the turn signal lights. In terms of styling, external and internal design features of the headlights with their different lighting elements combine with the lines of the radiator grille to form one unit.
he rear of the car is characterised by geometric order and sportiness. The design cue from the headlights, with their line breaking off with an upward turn, is taken up again in the taillights. They also display a very distinctive night look and extend into the Polo’s broad shoulder. Supported on these shoulders – in the area of the car’s lateral “character line” that can be seen from every perspective – is the roof section. Meanwhile, the tailgate extends right down to the bumper. Just as on the new Golf, the Polo’s tailgate is opened with the VW logo, which swivels up and functions as a handle. Standard equipment: a roof edge spoiler integrated in the tailgate. The car’s image is also exceptionally powerful from the rear. From this angle, one can clearly see how designers exploited the increased track width (+ 29 millimetres in front and + 30 in rear) and stretched the outer wheels along a vertical plane right up to the wheel wells as though carved out with a knife.
The lateral profile line is, among other things, dominated by the distinctively sporty front overhang and extremely short rear overhang, the clearly modelled “character line” and low roof that slopes towards the rear. The prominent shoulder line also gives the vehicle a new lateral structure and emphasizes its generally masculine appearance. Since the fourth generation, the five-door Polo has also sported what is known as a “three window look”. This refers to the third side window integrated in the C pillar. This design feature is especially prominent on the new Polo. In the area of the A and C pillars, the lower window line also takes an upward sweep, a reference to the styling of the headlights and taillights. Also striking are the pronounced side skirts, whose shape offers aerodynamic benefits. The Polo’s underbody is optimised for optimal airflow. Also enhancing aerodynamic performance are the redesigned outside mirror housings, whose air resistance has been reduced by 20 percent compared to the previous model.
QUALITY AND PASSIVE SAFETY
Top results when it comes to static rigidity
High body quality and passive safety are very “perceptible” aboard a car, especially in the rigidity of the car body. This is quite evident on the new Polo, because the Volkswagen offers an excellent value of static torsional rigidity at 180,000 Nm/°. The reason: a car body’s static rigidity is a key technical property and an important and relevant parameter in evaluating subjective parameters such as safety, quality, and of course driving comfort. The high static rigidity of the new Polo is attained, among other things, by very high-strength steels and the right structural design for loading and reinforcement of body nodal points. This is clearly illustrated at the rear of the Polo: Here too there are very rigid nodal components with envelope-type profile construction, which extend quite far into the contact area of the tailgate hinges. In addition, adhesive joints are used. This construction method optimises the approach of using a nodal system for rigidity and produces a homogeneous distribution of rigidity in upper body sections. Similar examples of profile-intensive lightweight envelope construction can be found throughout the Polo’s body structure.
Greater stability despite reduced weight
Static rigidity was certainly not attained at the cost of added weight. The opposite is true: The car has an excellent lightweight construction factor of 3.6. The lower this factor, the more efficient the implementation of body structure in terms of lightness and rigidity. The new Polo is therefore a perfect example of highly innovative lightweight construction. The fact that the body of this Volkswagen is 7.5 percent lighter than that of the previous model, despite its safety gains, illustrates this impressively.
Top values for dynamic rigidity too
High dynamic rigidity is an essential factor in attaining excellent vehicle dynamics, vibration comfort and ideally balanced acoustics. On the new Polo, the combination of an optimal structural layout of the car body, clever material selection and innovative welding and gluing processes result in top values of 43 Hz for the so-called torsional natural frequency and 46 Hz for the bending natural frequency. In all relevant body zones, high local rigidity values also provide for good sound insulation and therefore for an exceptionally low interior noise level.
The new Polo scored five stars in the stringent Euro NCAP crash test which makes it the safest compact car in the world. The higher structural rigidity of the Polo’s bodyshell contributed to these results. In the footwell area alone, intrusion – related to the car body’s resistance to deformation in a frontal crash – was lowered by 50 percent. In the case of a side impact, the intrusion value was reduced by 20 percent. Specific actions taken to protect occupants in a frontal, side or rear crash:
In a frontal crash – such as an offset crash between two vehicles (with half vehicle overlap of both vehicles) that commonly occurs – the very rigid occupant cell creates a survival space for the driver and passenger. In front, an extremely rigid bumper crossmember was specially designed for an offset crash, in that it takes the impact energy and distributes it to the side of the vehicle not directly affected by the impact too. As a result, both side frame members can now absorb the energy together.The side frames were optimised to achieve a deceleration curve in a frontal crash that significantly reduces on occupant loads.Moreover, the lower crossmember in the footwell area is designed as a form strengthened component. First, this has reduced its weight by half, and second, it attains very high strength. As previously noted, this has reduced intrusions in the footwell area by up to 50 percent compared to the previous model. In turn, this reduces biomechanical loads to the feet and lower legs enormously. The pedals in the Polo offer passive protection; ideally they prevent injuries in a crash by freeing up space for the feet and lower legs. The side body section, designed as a type of ring structure – together with the door framed within it – provides for additional form stability, even in frontal accidents with very little overlap. In what are known as load paths, extremely strong, partially form-strengthened sheet metal reinforcements are used here too – in the A-pillar, the similarly braced door rail extending to the B-pillar, the roof frame and the side sills.
The Polo development team assigned special priority to effective side impact protection, since the crush zone in the area of the doors is of course quite small. When the new Polo collides with an object on its side, the energy is channelled via the special form-strengthened B-pillar and profiled impact beams arranged diagonally in the door. Compared to the previous model, the seat crossmember and side sills were significantly reinforced. In this way, both the speed of the intruding object, or colliding vehicle in the crash as well as the intrusion itself, are reduced by 20 percent in a side impact, as already mentioned. Very critical, as a rule, are accidents in which the car collides with a tree from the side. This case is simulated in crash tests by a so-called pole impact. The Polo body offers an extremely high level of safety in this crash type, thanks to a hot-formed and therefore very stable roof frame and rigid side sills. Compared to the previous model, intrusion has also been reduced considerably here. And indeed by 15 percent.
The rear area of the new Polo was reinforced by especially strong side frames. The fuel system is also given a protective enclosure. In tandem with the very stable occupant cell described, the Volkswagen fulfills the highest requirements in a crash involving collision to the rear body section as well.
Along with the focus on protecting occupants on board the Polo, high priority was also given to the safety of other traffic participants. In a relatively compact car like the Polo, partner safety primarily refers to pedestrian safety. Requirements related to pedestrian safety were integrated early in the design phase of development work. In the front hood area, interior sheet metal was designed to provide maximum deformation space to prevent punching through onto the hard area of the engine block. The hinges of the engine hood were also optimised for pedestrian safety. The fenders have separate deformation elements as well. In addition, the bumpers were of course integrated into this concept to guarantee the best possible protection of pedestrians.
The new Polo has a highly effective network of airbags as standard equipment, including combined head-thorax airbags (integrated in the front seatbacks), belt tensioners and seatbelt limiters plus seatbelt warning indicator, head restraints that counteract whiplash (both front restraints), three rear head restraints and ISOFIX mounting preparation for suitable child seats. On the active side, the standard electronic stabilisation program (ESP) completes the safety system.
The safest Polo of all times
The sum result of all of these actions is effective. The body provides an exceptionally good foundation for attaining very low crash loading of the people on board, based on the car’s optimised crash deceleration, low level of intrusions and the safety cell that is created. The restraint systems individually tuned to the Polo also make a contribution toward reducing injury risk as much as possible. The new Polo has advanced to be one of the world’s safest cars in its class.
Perfection in Ergonomics and Quality
Interior brings new level of quality to the A0 class
New cockpit has decidedly driver-oriented ergonomics
All Volkswagens are known for their intuitive user controls and excellent ergonomic properties – regardless of the proportions of their driver and passengers. These are clearly properties of the new Polo too. The entire interior has been redesigned. Starting with the “Trendline”, the surface of the instrument panel is upgraded by so-called slush technology (a high-end surface structure that is soft to the touch).
Noteworthy here is the centre console that is now turned more toward the driver for convenience. The controls on this console are laid out as on the previous model, but they have been completely redesigned.At the very top there are two central air vents, which have high-end bezels with the aluminium look in the Comfortline and high-gloss black in the Trendline. On the console level below this, Polo drivers will find a familiar row of switches with details like the hazard lights switch, which is readily accessible and visible, and push buttons for the heated rear window and optional heated seats. The next level down contains controls for the new radio system that is being introduced on the Polo for the first time. Finally, the lowermost console level is home to the completely redesigned user controls for the ventilation or climate control system (“Climatic” is standard equipment starting in the Comfortline). A practical feature here is cooling of the glove box. Also integrated here is a sunglasses compartment and deactivation switch for the front passenger’s airbag. The vehicle service book is stored in a space-saving storage slot at the base of the glove box.
White instrument backlighting
The instruments of the Polo were also redesigned; they now have white backlighting and are styled like those on the Golf. The fuel gauge is digital in the new generation Polo. Like the bezels for the air vents, the rotary light switch – still located on the right – gets a high-end metallic look in the “Comfortline”.Similar to other new models of the Volkswagen brand, new three-spoke steering wheels were developed for the Polo. The top version sports a leather steering wheel that is somewhat more compact than on the new Golf. An optional multifunctional leather steering wheel (with user controls in the left spoke) will be offered too. Making a decidedly ergonomic impression are the armrests in the door trim panels (with storage bin for a 1.5 litre bottle) and a front centre armrest (folding with storage compartment) that can now be ordered on the Polo for the first time.
More space at all seating positions
The driver’s seat, front passenger’s seat and rear bench seat were all redesigned. More space is now offered at all five seating locations in the Polo. In particular, knee room in the rear has grown with an increase in the interior length to 1,674 millimetres (+ 8 millimetres). Shoulder room in front (1,372 millimetres) has also increased by 22 millimetres. Thanks to these new dimensions, the new Polo offers a considerably more spacious interior ambiance. The Polo also proves to be very versatile with the rear bench seat able to split 60:40 split to offer more luggage space.