One of the most popular hatchbacks in the world, the Volkswagen Polo, which has been around since 1975, has been a bestseller for the German brand. VW has sold more than 18 million units of the Polo in the last 45 years, which underlines the fact that it’s a reliable, practical car that’s built to last. In India, VW has been soldiering on with the 5th generation Polo for more than 10 years, though the car has seen some cosmetic and mechanical changes over the years. The German company decided not to launch the 6th generation Polo (which was launched globally in 2017) in India, preferring to keep going with the older car. The 2009-spec Polo, while a solid performer in its own right, now looks dated; it hasn’t been able to keep pace with the onslaught of new launches from Asian carmakers in India in recent years, and sales have dwindled considerably.

Now, VW has unveiled a facelifted version of the 6th generation Polo, which looks really good and, according to VW, offers new standards of safety and comfort. The car gets a revised chassis for improved handling, and high-tech bits like dynamic full-LED headlamps and LED taillamps, animated turn-indicators, capacitive-touch steering wheels with integrated multi-function controls, a fully digital instrument cluster with customisable display, and a next-generation infotainment system with high-end audio, navigation and smartphone connectivity. The new Polo also takes its first steps towards partly automated driving, with the new IQ. Drive Travel Assist system, predictive ACC (adaptive cruise control) and a Lane Assist feature.

The new Polo is likely to continue with the earlier model’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, with 5-speed manual and 7-speed DSG automatic transmission options. The car will go on sales in Europe later this year, but we don’t know if Volkswagen will bring this facelifted 6th generation Polo to India. The German company is in the process of reinventing itself in India and is choosing to focus on a range of SUVs, including an all-new compact SUV that’s slated for launch later this year, and might choose to continue with the existing Polo in India. With the wide availability of a range of reasonably-priced compact SUVs from various manufacturers, car buyers in India have increasingly moved away from conventional hatchbacks, so it remains to be seen whether VW will take the plunge and get this new Polo to India, or only focus on SUVs. Time will tell.