ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE NEW VOLKSWAGEN POLO

Coming of age is a term too often misused, certainly not the case with the new Volkswagen Polo, now in its sixth generation. The South African built supermini can boast improvements in all key areas.

Quality of build, safety and technology are the headlines for the newcomer and it is completely new and not a revision of what has gone before. More space, it is larger than the previous model, but a little lower, which does improve its on road presence.

Built on the MQB AO platform, it comes as no surprise that a wide range of engines, both petrol and diesel are available with power outputs ranging from 65-200PS, the latter is the power we can expect when a GTi version (pictured) goes on sale later this year.

Looking at the engine choice, one litre and two litre petrols and a 1.6 litre diesel. On the launch the single engine choice was the very impressive one litre unit. This is one that you have to try for yourself, a surprisingly lively performer and one that will appeal to a wide audience.

One could be critical of the design of the outgoing Polo, that criticism does not in my opinion abide with the new model, I would best describe it as edgy and indeed it borrows a lot from its big brother the eternal Golf.

An excellent choice of alloy wheels and some vibrant colours really does add to the new Polo and the interior can also benefit from a dash of colour. Clearly the manufacturer with colour choice is out to attract the widest possible market. To further enhance the buying choice, seven trim levels and I was pleased to learn that the impressive Active Info Display is available as an option.

Around the globe more than fourteen million Polos have been manufactured, the supermini clearly has established quite a fan base and rightly so.

My brief outing was in an SE version with 65PS at the command of my right foot and the five speed manual transmission was positive in use. For those who desire the auto option of course there is the DSG transmission.

Yes, 65PS may sound modest, but as it turned out the newcomer rewarded me with an enjoyable drive as my thoughts strayed to later in the year and two litre, 200PS GTi, I am already marking days off the calendar.

Okay the sprint from rest to 62mph (100kph)  takes just over fifteen seconds and on to a top speed of 102mph, (164kph) not earth shattering, but enough for many.

Good news on the emission front, 108g/km and economy which is critical for many and quoting an official figure, 60.1mpg (21.3kpl) on the combined cycle.

On the road, as you would expect from a Volkswagen the ride is firm but in no way harsh. The suspension set up, front coil springs with telescopic shocks while at the rear, twist beam rear axle and front and rear anti-roll bar, fairly conventional, but it works.

For night time motoring, all models throughout the range benefit from LED lighting, out with the Xenons.

The driving environment provided by a well designed, no nonsense cabin layout and the infotainment systems have even redesigned and repositioned in the new model and connectivity is another key element. Car-Net App Connect permits a smartphone display to be mirrored on the infotainment touchscreen which is a generous size giving access to music, phone etc.

In fact throughout the range the eight inch Composition Media infotainment infotainment system with DAB radio is standard and the sat nav is available from SEL up.

The new Polo is not cheap with the range starting at £13,855 (€15,678) but for your money comes quality. In the R.O.I., the new Polo starts at €16,795.