History of the Volkswagen Polo
From inception to the latest model, a timeline of the popular Volkswagen Polo.
Compact and stylish, the Polo is easily one of the most versatile and popular hatchback models released by Volkswagen. First released in 1975, the VW Polo has undergone at least five facelifts during its lifetime and is currently available in a range of engine sizes and styles.
The first generation Polo was brought onto the market in 1975 and such was its popularity that by 1979 500,000 Polos were being produced worldwide. Available with three different engine options including the 895cc, the 10923cc and the 1272cc, the Polo Mark 1 was quickly given a re-brand in 1979. The 1979 Mark 1 featured plastic bumpers, a revised dashboard and a revamped front grill.
The second generation Polo was introduced in October 1981 and unlike the previous model, was available in three different body types – Sedan style, Coupe style and Wagon style. Following VW’s takeover of SEAT, production of the Polo was expanded to Spain in the mid-1980s and by 1983 the one millionth Polo had been produced.
The Mark 3 Polo was produced in 1994 to a captive audience. Described as a completely different model by many experts, the new Polo was available in both three and five door formats and shared a number of style traits with the SEAT Ibiza Mark 2. The Mark 3 was given another facelift in 2000 with the new model featuring updated styling on the interior, headlights and bumpers to name but a few.
2002 saw the introduction of the VW Polo Mark 4. Originally unveiled in September 2001, the new Polo featured quad headlights (borrowed from the VW Lupo) but was not as warmly received as previous generations within the UK. The poor reaction prompted VW to launch an updated version in 2005 which was designed by Walter de’Silva and was available in seven different trim levels.
The Polo BlueMotion was premiered in 2007 and placed a strong emphasis on low emissions and efficient fuel economy. The first model released under the BlueMotion range was the 1.4 litre VW Polo TDI which featured aerodynamic changes, lightweight alloys and longer gear ratios.
Keen to bring the Polo into the 21st century, VW released the Mark 5 Polo in 2009. Declared the European Car of the Year 2010 and the 2010 World Car of the Year, the Mark 5 Polo is one of the most popular Polo generations ever and sold more than 45,000 units in the UK on its first year of release alone.