More cabin space and upgraded tech should entice buyers towards the new hatch next year.

UPDATE: We now have fresh spy photos of the next Polo GTI from the Nürburgring, too. You can check them out in the gallery below. Compared to the regular Polo, this hotter version sports alloy wheels, bigger brakes, and a dual-exit exhaust.

After recently seeing the Polo GTI get a desert workout, now there’s a chance to spot the standard version of the compact hatchback spending some time in the heat. The production model should arrive by the end of 2017 – probably in the second half of the year.

Volkswagen’s engineers cover the Polo in enough camouflage to hide most of its new design elements. However, we can tell this is the standard version, rather than the GTI, because this hatchback lacks the sporty wheels and dual exhaust from the last spy shots.

The new Polo rides on VW’s smallest version of the MQB platform that adds about 3.5 inches (90 millimeters) to the compact’s wheelbase without increasing the vehicle’s weight. Don’t worry about the model getting too big, though, because our spies tell us overall length appears to be very similar to the current one. By extending the wheelbase and shortening the overhangs, the German company’s engineers can increase interior room without giving the Polo a much larger footprint. The more spacious cabin should be a major benefit to the imminent crossover version, too.

We expect VW to give the Polo a major tech upgrade. When the little hatchback arrives in showrooms, expect to find a larger infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. The unit would also offer Internet connectivity. As an option, the top trims could even borrow elements from Audi’s cutting-edge digital instrument cluster.

While this Polo is testing in the United States, there’s no official indication the little hatchback could go on sale there for the first time. VW’s engineers could be taking advantage the desert’s extreme heat for evaluating vehicles.

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