BERLIN -- Volkswagen unveiled its latest Polo, saying the car's bigger size, wide range of active safety equipment and clear design will help it outsell rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio in Europe's subcompact segment.
"It is clearly our ambition to be leader in Europe," VW brand sales chief Juergen Stackmann told Automotive News Europe at the Polo's press launch here on Friday.
The Polo will offer driver assistance systems from VW's larger and more expensive Passat and Golf models.
New options include a lane change system with blind spot detection and rear traffic alert, a semi-automated parking assistance system for exiting parking spaces and a maneuvering function that provides automatic protection from any bumps while parking.
The car's adaptive cruise control can now be activated up to a speed of 210 kph.
VW brand CEO Herbert Diess said the Polo will offer more digital features than any other small car.
The Polo is the first VW Group model with a new generation of the active display that is easier to use than the current display. It will be available with infotainment screens ranging from 6.5 inches to 8.0 inches. The glass-encased devices are "as sophisticated as high-end smartphones, giving the interior a technical, clear look," VW said.
The car will be offered with a choice of four 1.0-liter gasoline engines, a 1.5-liter unit and a 2.0-liter gasoline engine, and two 1.6-liter diesel engines. It will be available for the first time with a natural gas engine, important for the Italian market where the powertrain is popular.
The Polo is VW Group's latest model to get a small-car version of the MQB platform called MQB A0 that underpins the recently launched Seat Ibiza.
At 4053mm long, it is 81mm longer than the current car. Its wheelbase is 2564mm, 94mm longer. It is also 69mm wider at 1751mm. Its height at 1446mm is 7mm shorter than the current car.
Trunk space has increased to 351 liters from 280 liters.
The Polo will be offered only as a five-door model because demand has dwindled for three-door subcompact hatchbacks.
The Polo will arrive in European dealerships shortly after its public debut at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
No U.S. sales
The Polo will be sold in China and, for the first time in South America alongside the Gol.
Stackmann said the Polo will not be sold in the U.S. because it would be priced too low to be profitable. VW is focusing on the Golf and SUVs for the U.S. market, he said.
Polo prices will start at 12,975 euros in Germany, VW said.
The Polo was outsold by the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta in Europe in the first four months, according to market researchers JATO Dynamics. Clio sales were 115,431, up 9.7 percent year-on-year. Ford sold 109,241 Fiestas, up 2.7 percent. Polo sales dropped by 0.4 percent to 107,948.