Volkswagen Group Malaysia certainly had a few unexpected encounters for us during a special assembly plant tour in Pekan, where surprise, surprise, the new 2015 Volkswagen Polo facelift awaits.
Now, make no mistake, this isn’t a launch event. Volkswagen Group Malaysia have been kind enough to invite us to their facility and show us the car. They’ve been kind enough to say that it’s okay for us to show you the car, so here we are.
The pre-facelift Polo 1.6 hatchback has been locally assembled here at the DRB-Hicom assembly plant since early January 2014, when it was first launched at an introductory price of RM85,888. More recently, RM89,888 is what is asked of the car (excluding insurance). Prices for the facelift model you see here are unknown at the time of writing, so do hang tight for that.
Volkswagen’s assembly line has seemingly received kits for the facelifted B-segment hatch for some time now, and production, as you can see, is well underway.
First previewed at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2014, the Volkswagen Polo facelift adopted minor exterior changes, but quite an extensive list of mechanical and tech upgrades. Briefly, the new Polo welcome a whole range of new engine options, including a three-pot 1.2 turbo (TSI) mill which makes up to 110hp.
For Malaysia, it’s a return of the 1.6-litre MPI (Multi-Point Injection) four-cylinder normally-aspirated engine, and a conventional six-speed torque converter automatic – no DSG, dual-clutch wizardry has been employed here. As a result, you get 105PS @ 5,250rpm and 153Nm of torque @ 3,800rpm.
Overall, Volkswagen hasn’t wandered off too far with its design updates, keeping the Polo’s handsome looks well intact. Around the front, the front bumper has been reworked to reflect the brand’s latest designs, just as the headlamps have been tweaked to now appear split down the middle – higher-grade variants of the Polo are even offered with LED main beams.
In Malaysia, we’re not as fortunate to benefit from projector-type headlamps or LEDs anywhere. It’s the same reflectors with bulbs for us. Around the rear, the taillights feature new graphics as well, but will take a trained-eye to properly distinguish the two.
The Polo facelift also maintains similar wheel designs as before, being 15-inch ‘Riverside’ alloy wheels, wrapped in 185/60 R15 rubbers.
The most noticeable change on the inside is the introduction of a flat-bottomed, D-shaped steering wheel with audio, voice and cruise control buttons on both sides of the wheel, which replaces the full circle steering of old.
The dashboard has been very slightly tweaked, now featuring a two-tone styling, which the head unit is a retained Radio RCD 320 – something we were impressed to see the Polo get at all, featuring USB, iPod, and SD card connectivity.
The seats remain full fabric, while the steering wheel, gear-knob and handbrake lever are wrapped in leather. Interestingly, the design on the seats are now of a honeycomb design instead of the previous vertical-lined ones.
Previous, the pre-facelift Polo 1.6 featured some impressive safety equipment, like the Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS), but was disappointingly offered with only two airbags, and no electronic stability program (ESP/ESC) of any sort. The competitively priced Honda Jazz 1.5 V however, features a full six airbags and Vehicle Stability Assist (Honda’s term for the equivalent of an ESP system) amongst other things.
Unfortunately, we can’t tell you how much the new Polo 1.6 facelift retails for, because as mentioned, it hasn’t been launched yet. This is a mere preview of the mildly refreshed model at its assembly facility.
Volkswagen haven’t revealed when exactly they plan to officially take the car to market, so if or not we’ll have a similarly priced Polo hatch at RM89,888 in due time? We’ll see.