The ad, part of the "small but tough" campaign, breaks on 13 February and will run in consumer magazines, on six-sheet posters and postcards nationally.
The execution aims to build on the association of quality and solidity with the VW marque and targets the drivers of small cars.
The ad, called "gorilla", features a giant ape in a King Kong-style setting.
The ape is shown clutching its foot in pain after stepping on a hard object, which the strapline reveals as being the "Small, but tough. Polo".
Nick Allsop, the campaign's art director, said: "The understated wit means the viewer really has to work out what's happened in the ad." He added that the lack of a vanity shot of the car was designed to "to make the ad more intriguing".
The ad is the follow-up to the "cops" print execution which ran last July. This showed a squad of US police officers taking cover behind a Volkswagen Polo during a siege on a city street.
The "gorilla" ad was written by Simon Veksner and art directed by Allsop. Media planning and buying is by MediaCom.
Allsop said: "The film-like feel of 'cops' seemed to go down well, so we decided to continue the theme for the next ad. It still gets across the idea that the Polo is both small and tough, and it gave us the opportunity to produce a striking illustration, which references 30s hand-painted movie posters."