1997 Volkswagen Polo Variant | Volkswagen Cars
Volkswagen Cars: 1997 Volkswagen Polo Variant

1997 Volkswagen Polo Variant

Volkswagen Polo Variant

Volkswagen Polo Mk III (1994-2000)

The Mk III Polo 6N appeared in 1994, and was a completely new model/chassis. The 6K Polo derivatives Derby (Polo Classic)/ Caddy /Polo Wagon were based on the same platform as the Ibiza Mk II & were essentially rebadged Ibiza's, launched a year earlier. This platform actually used the floorpan of the VW Golf III (a multitude of mechanical parts and all of the suspension components were intechangeable among the three models).

The Polo was launched as 3-door and 5-door hatchback versions, and was aimed at addressing many of the previous model's shortcomings, principally the lack of a 5-door version, and feeble performance. Although the dashboard and a number of mechanical components, including engines, were shared with the Ibiza, outwardly the two cars were different, with no shared body panels.

A year later, sedan (Polo Classic) and station wagon (Polo Variant) versions were also added to the range — these were badge engineered versions of the Ibiza-based SEAT Cordoba. They were referred to internally by VW as 6K, and shared body panels with the SEAT model rather than the hatchback models. The Volkswagen Caddy van shares the same platform and front end styling as these models. A convertible version was not produced, although a version with an electrically sliding full length sunroof, called the Polo Open Air, was available.

Initially the car was available with the 1043 cc (45 PS/33 kW) and 1272 cc (55 PS/40 kW) engines from the previous generation Polo and a new 1598 cc unit. A new 1.4 L engine replaced the 1.3 L in 1996. In 1997 the 1043 cc engine was replaced by an all-new aluminium block multi-point injection 999 cc developing 50 PS (37 kW). The Classic and Variant models featured a 75 PS (55 kW) or 100 PS (74 kW) 1.6 L and a 64 PS (47 kW) 1.9 L diesel. For the first time, a turbodiesel engines (a 1.9 L engine) was available in a Polo, although only in the 6K models. Due to its smaller engine bay, the standard 3 and 5-door 6N did not get a turbodiesel engine until the facelift in 2000.

In europe a special 'Harlequin' model was released in 1995, with all panels being random colours, it used the same engine as the regular polo only the colour of the panels was the difference. The car was aimed a the wacky buyer who wanted to be unique, but the car resulted in a sales flop and was discontinued in 1996.

Sporting variants were not introduced initially, and a supercharged G40 version of the Mk III was never made, but a GTI model introduced in 1995 catered for the hot hatch market. With a limited production run of 3000 units, the 6N GTI was available only in continental Europe. Featuring a 1.6 16V 125 PS (92 kW) unit that would later be found in the Mk IIIF model, the car came with 15" BBS alloys and could sprint to 100 km/h in just 9.1 seconds. The 16V, introduced to replace the GLX, was one of the most popular Mk III versions with modifiers, it used a 1.4 16V unit pushed to 100 PS (74 kW) as standard. This car was not a pure sporting model, and with a 0-100 km/h time of 10.6 seconds and a 190 km/h (118 mph) top speed, it was not as fast as the sporting Ibiza model (which used a 2.0 L 16V engine). The Polo GTI was often seen as over priced for the performance it delivered.

The new model was better equipped than ever before and a range of models featured items such as colour coded bumpers, heated/electrically-adjustable mirrors, four speaker stereo, pollen filters, central locking, rear head restraints, split rear seats, fog lights, alloy wheels, air bags and so on. The car was available originally in four trim levels ranging from the L at the bottom level of the scale through the CL and GL to the range topping GLX model. The Polo Harlequin was an unusual edition featuring a multi-coloured body with each panel in a different colour ranging from red, yellow to pistachio green and blue. Nearly 4,000 of this limited series were produced. In 1994 the Polo SE or Special Equipment was launched. Based on the 1.4 L it featured a number of features from higher spec models such as the GLX bumpers, Sport Rader alloy wheels, tinted rear light clusters and clear indicators. The Mk III came to the end of its production run in 1999 with another Polo Match.

The VW Lupo and SEAT Arosa were based on a shortened version of the 6N platform, and shared many components.