Despite the popularity of crossovers and SUVs, hatchbacks are still a favorite in Europe. Just last April, Volkswagen revealed the 2021 Polo. Not only did it receive a facelift, but it was also fitted with upgraded tech together with a range of new safety features too.
The Polo is powered by a 1.0-liter turbocharged inline-three which makes a decent 110 PS and 200 Nm of torque. Power is then sent to the front wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission. Impressive figures for a small car, but Volkswagen believes they can do better.
Enter the refreshed Volkswagen Polo GTI. Serving as the sportiest version of the humble hatchback, the updated Polo GTI gets a flashier exterior, a more powerful turbocharged engine under the hood, as well as some high-tech features that enable this sporty hatch to drive by itself.
Let's start with what Volkswagen changed on the exterior. Upon first glance, it looks like a dressed-up Polo. But in true GTI fashion, this comes with exclusive upgrades. It gets huge 17-inch two-tone wheels, GTI-specific front, and rear bumpers, signature red accents found only on GTI models, a honeycomb-style front grille with built-in LED daytime running lights, and contrasting black side mirrors and roof.
Inside, it gets the familiar red accents to remind the occupants they are in something special. From the interior panels, red contrast stitching, as well as the center console surround, the bright red trim is ever-present throughout the cabin. Then there are the tartan pattern seats which have become a common feature on every GTI model.
When it comes to tech and features, the Polo GTI gets a touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, navigation, a 10.25-inch digital instrument panel, automatic climate control, a D-cut multifunction leather steering wheel, and a six-speaker Beats sound system.
Under the hood, this hot hatch packs a 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI four-cylinder engine that makes 204 HP and 320 Nm of torque. Paired exclusively to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, the Polo GTI can sprint from 0 – 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds. Complementing the turbocharged engine is a tuned chassis that drops the ride height by 15mm for better handling. Meanwhile, bigger brakes improve stopping power.
The refreshed Polo GTI is expected to be available in Europe before the end of the month. There's no word yet whether other global markets like the Philippines will get the updated Polo or Polo GTI. But since Volkswagen Philippines will source the Multivan T6.1 from Germany, perhaps the automaker could also get more vehicles from Europe besides the ones made by SAIC in China. If so, the Santana GTS hatch could sit alongside the Polo in local showrooms.