Volkswagen was supposed to have a livestream tomorrow dedicated to the 2021 Polo, but the peeps from Wolfsburg have had a change of heart and the updated supermini is now officially out. For only a mid-cycle refresh, the changes are quite significant and start at the front where the subcompact hatchback gains an LED light bar, thus mirroring other VW products like the Tiguan facelift.
Speaking of lights, the headlights themselves have been updated for a more modern look and come as standard with LEDs. Step up to the higher trim levels and VW will optionally offer for the first time a more sophisticated matrix LED setup. More obvious changes have occurred at the back where the Polo adopts wider LED taillights extending onto the hatch in a Golf-like fashion, lending it a more grown-up appearance.
Gallery: 2021 Volkswagen Polo facelift
As seen on larger VW models – as well as Skodas and SEATs – the car's name now proudly sits at the center of the tailgate. The R-Line model sadly gains faux quad exhaust tips we could honestly do without, but that seems to be the trend nowadays. The sporty-looking trim rides on 16-inch alloys as standard while the lesser ones will have to make do with a 15-inch set.
Stepping inside the cabin, VW has overhauled its infotainment systems and the largest touchscreen available now measures 9.2 inches. Another notable change is the adoption of fancier touch climate controls borrowed from the facelifted Tiguan and Arteon. With the facelifted version, the Polo now comes with a fully digital driver's display as standard, meaning analog dials are officially a thing of the past. It measures eight inches on the lesser versions and grows to 10.25 inches depending on the trim.
The list of engines includes the usual suspects, kicking off with a naturally aspirated 1.0-liter producing a puny 80 horsepower (59 kilowatts) and 69 pound-feet (93 Newton-meters) of torque delivered through a five-speed manual. It's joined by a 1.0 TSI offered with either 95 hp or 110 hp, available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission as an option for the former and standard for the latter.
As expected, there's no TDI available, but budget-conscious buyers can opt for a 1.0 TGI powertrain with 90 hp (66 kW) on tap and 118 lb-ft (160 Nm). It runs on compressed natural gas (CNG) and aims to deliver diesel-like efficiency while significantly cutting emissions.
The flagship version is once again the Polo GTI, but we'll have to wait until this summer for the official premiere. Meanwhile, VW is launching the facelifted supermini with a revised trim structure: Polo, Life, and R-Line, effectively retiring the long-running Trendline, Comfortline, and Highline trio.