Crossovers and SUVs may be lighting up the sales charts worldwide, but the hatchback is still king in Europe. One of the most popular models over there is the Volkswagen Polo, and it just got a bit of an update this year. We also think it will be a good match to the newest five-door to land in the Philippines - the Honda City Hatchback.
Let's take a look at a few specs.
In terms of size, the 2021 Polo is one of the smallest models in its segment by a fair margin. The subcompact Volkswagen measures 4,068 mm from bumper to bumper. For comparison, the City Hatchback is 4,389 mm long. But despite the size difference, the Polo can still offer 351 liters of cargo space behind the rear seats. That's an impressive figure and it beats the Honda which can only carry 289 liters. However, the Honda claws back points by having more versatile seats.
The two are also closely matched when it comes to engine options. The Polo's 1.0-liter turbo engine is good for 110 PS and 200 Nm of torque. Motivating the City Hatchback is a 1.5-liter naturally aspirated mill with 121 PS and 145 Nm of torque. We reckon the two will be neck and neck in acceleration. The City has the power advantage, while the Polo packs more torque. However, the two are worlds apart when it comes to transmission. Volkswagen uses a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox for the Polo, while Honda sticks to a continuously variable transmission in the City Hatch.
But that's enough comparing for now. We're not even sure if Volkswagen Philippines will even consider bringing this model to the country. Before we get carried away, let's see what's new with the Polo.
The 2021 Polo takes several cues from its big brother, the Golf. The headlights are slimmer and select variants even get the illuminated grille. Another bit of inspiration from the Golf is the new bumpers with more defined corners. As for its flanks, it looks much like the pre-facelift versions although new wheel options keep it looking fresh.
Facelift models rarely get new metal panels, but that is what Volkswagen did for the Polo. The new panel in question is the tailgate. It now has additional cutouts to accommodate the new taillight design. Another update Volkswagen did was spell out the car's name on the tailgate, which is what the automaker has been doing to its other models.
Inside, the 2021 Polo isn't much different from the 2020 edition. As far as we can tell, the steering wheel is new, and so is the infotainment screen. The digital instrument cluster is also similar to last year's model, but Volkswagen says it's standard on all variants, the base model included.
Volkswagen also boosted the safety features. All models come standard with stability control, and it's also available with adaptive cruise control. Volkswagen claims that they are the first to have it in the segment; in Europe, at least. It even has something called Side Assist that prevents you from doing a lane change when an oncoming vehicle is driving too fast.
All in all, we think the new Polo is worth considering for the local market. It's all up to Volkswagen Philippines if they decide to bring it in.