Review

Volkswagen Polo hatchback

Price  £11,300 - £19,915

Volkswagen Polo hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • High-quality interior
  • Good fuel economy
  • Spacious interior
Cons
  • No air-con on entry-level car
  • Rivals are more fun to drive
  • Basic engine feels slow

At a glance

Our Pick
Match 1.2 TSI 90 PS 5dr £14,705
The greenest
SEL 1.4 TDI 90 PS 5dr £17,645
The cheapest
S 1.0 MPI 60 PS 3dr £11,495
The fastest
BlueGT 1.4 TSI ACT DSG 5dr £20,110
Top of the range
BlueGT 1.4 TSI ACT DSG 5dr £20,110

"You can think of the Volkswagen Polo as a smaller VW Golf – it really is that good. It features a range of excellent engines and most models are well equipped."

The Volkswagen Polo is one of the most longstanding and popular models in the small family hatchback class. The car's appeal lies in its sharp looks, refined and comfortable driving experience, and the feel of quality in the materials and construction. The Polo is much like its bigger Golf brother because of these qualities, but in a smaller, cheaper package.

In the UK, the Polo loses to the less expensive, more enjoyable-to-drive Ford Fiesta in the battle for sales but it still trumps the Ford on build quality and comes with the latest engine technology, up-to-date in-car systems and services, and stylish trim levels.

The engines available to Polo buyers are impressive, with the most efficient 1.4-litre diesel model capable of 83.1mpg. If you prefer petrol power or do most of your driving in short bursts around town, then the BlueGT model offers an appealing blend of performance and economy.

Entry-level Polos are equipped with the smooth and willing three-cylinder petrol engine also found in the smaller Volkwagen up!, with 89bhp and 109bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrol engines available further up the engine range. For the first time, the BlueMotion model of the Polo comes with a petrol engine and is capable of 68.9mpg. The figure is very good for a petrol model, but it does mean the 1.4-litre diesel models are better in this respect thanks to their 83.1mpg economy.

One criticism of the Polo is that several members of the competition come with more standard equipment for the same amount of money. The entry-level Polo models don’t come with air-conditioning for example, which costs around £700 as an option, but they do at least have electric front windows, Bluetooth and a colour touchscreen for the infotainment system.

If you’re considering buying a Volkswagen Polo, we’d recommend the 89bhp 1.2-litre petrol model in SE trim, which gets you standard equipment including 15-inch alloy wheels, a leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel, CD player and electrically adjustable door mirrors.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.6 / 5

With a range of efficient engines, strong residuals and plenty of standard equipment, the Volkswagen Polo makes lots of financial sense

Engines, drive & performance

3.7 / 5

The Volkswagen Polo features a range of powerful petrol and diesel engines – although the entry-level versions need to be worked hard

Interior & comfort

4.6 / 5

Few supermini models can match the Volkswagen Polo for comfort, refinement and big-car feel

Practicality & boot space

3.3 / 5

A reasonably roomy interior, decent-sized boot and plenty of useful storage make the Volkswagen Polo a good choice for small families

Reliability & safety

4.2 / 5

The Volkswagen Polo is solidly built and uses tried-and-tested components, plus the recent facelift introduced a raft of standard kit

What the others say

4.1 / 5
based on 4 reviews
5 / 5
"The VW Polo is a fantastic supermini, with smart styling, an impressive interior and great engines."
4 / 5
"Subtle is the word for the Volkswagen Polo's 2014 facelift, but there's plenty of new safety technology and more efficient engines."
7 / 10
"A comprehensive little supermini. Feels like a smaller Golf, and there's nothing wrong with that."
4 / 5
"It may not be as good to drive as a Ford Fiesta or as versatile as a Honda Jazz, but it remains a great all-rounder that's well built and thanks to the Volkswagen badge, holds its value well too."
What owners say 
4.0430711610487
4 /5 based on 267 reviews
55%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
9 Dec 2015
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