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Updated 2014 Volkswagen Polo Unveiled

Seeing as the fifth-generation Volkswagen Polo is but five years young, it's not quite time for VW to replace its successful B-segment hatchback with an all-new model - but the revised 2014 Volkswagen Polo boasts new features and a few new lines to help fend off competitors.

Volkswagen's press materials describe the 2014 Polo's visual amendments as sharpening the look of the already handsome hatchback, although the minor changes largely seem to help sync the Polo's look with its larger sibling, the 2015 Volkswagen Golf. The lower front air intake still wraps around the front fascia, but tapers down in the corners, much like the high-performance Volkswagen Polo R model. A new chrome accent spans the distance between the fog lamps, while the headlamps are now LED-illuminated on higher-grade models, including the Blue GT and Polo GTI. Out back, the 2014 Polo gains revised taillamps, along with a new bumper fascia, which places reflectors in the diffuser, much like the larger Golf. Interior cosmetic tweaks are similarly minute, restricted mostly to the incorporation of new fabric and trim materials, along with an updated touchscreen infotainment/ navigation system.

That's not the only bit of technoware the 2014 Polo receives. The small hatchback is now available with a number of features usually found on larger, more upmarket vehicles, including forward collision detection, automatic emergency braking (which works at speeds up to 20 mph), driver alertness detection, automatic post-collision braking, and adaptive cruise control. Pair the latter with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and the 2014 Polo can automatically bring itself to a controlled stop. All 2014 Polos boast variable-effort electric power steering, while sportier models variable-rate electrically adjustable dampers.

2014 Volkswagen Polos also receive an updated engine portfolio. On the gasoline engine side, a pair of three-cylinder engines, similar to those offered in the Volkswagen Up!, join the lineup. Although they're roughly two-tenths of a liter smaller than the 1.2-liter three-cylinder they replace, the base 1.0-liter engine offers an identical 60 horsepower. An optional version, which boasts direct fuel injection, yields 74 hp, five ponies more than the previous "uprated" version of the 1.2L. Later this year, a turbocharged, direct-injection version of the 1.0-liter

Four-cylinder gas engines are still available, although the turbocharged, direct-injection 1.2-liter TSI four-cylinder effectively replaces the older 1.4-liter four-cylinder in most applications, and is available in both 89- and 108-horsepower forms. A Polo Blue GT model will likely continue to use a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder, though its power will increase from 140 horsepower to 147. Likewise, final specs for the updated Polo GTI have yet to be announced, but the model - which will likely retain a super- and turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder - will see its output increase from 180 horsepower to 189.

On the diesel side, Volkswagen's eliminated the previous 1.2-liter three-cylinder and 1.6-liter four-cylinder TDI engines in favor of a new turbocharged 1.4-liter three-cylinder engine. The new three-cylinder is offered in 74, 85, and 103-horsepower guises, though the 74-horsepower version, offered in the Polo TDI Bluemotion, is allegedly 21 percent more fuel efficient than the 1.2-liter unit it replaces.

According to Volkswagen, the new 2014 Polo goes on sale in Germany this spring before launching in other European markets. Although there's been some scuttlebutt suggesting an all-new Polo, derived from Volkswagen's modular MQB platform architecture, could theoretically be adapted for use in North America, the 2014 Volkswagen Polo - much like the Polos preceding it - will not be sold in our market.