Review

Volkswagen Polo hatchback

Price  £11,525 - £20,140

Volkswagen Polo hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Upmarket interior
  • Wide range of engines and trims
  • Spacious interior
Cons
  • Little equipment on entry-level car
  • Plain styling
  • Basic engine feels slow

At a glance

Our Pick
Match 1.2 TSI 90 PS 5dr £14,735
The greenest
SEL 1.4 TDI 90 PS 5dr £17,675
The cheapest
S 1.0 MPI 60 PS 3dr £11,525
The fastest
BlueGT 1.4 TSI ACT DSG 5dr £20,140
Top of the range
BlueGT 1.4 TSI ACT DSG 5dr £20,140

“The Volkswagen Polo is well equipped, spacious and has a high-quality interior. Rivals are more fun to drive, but few feels as grown up as the Polo.”

The Volkswagen Polo is a supermini that rivals other popular cars like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208, as well as cars with which it shares many mechanical parts – the Skoda Fabia, SEAT Ibiza and more expensive Audi A1.

The Polo's appeal lies in its image of a downsized Golf – it's got a desirable image, a high-quality interior and a mature driving experience. It's not the most exciting to drive, but it's very refined on the move and is very comfortable, plus there's a wide range of efficient engines to choose from and a variety of trim levels.

Kicking off the engine range is a 1.0-litre petrol taken from the Volkswagen up! city car. It feels quite slow in the Polo, but it's acceptable if you only use the car around town. You’re well catered for if you want a more powerful petrol Polo, though.

There's an 89bhp 1.2 TSI, a 94bhp 1.0 TSI in the eco BlueMotion model, a 1.0 TSI with 108bhp that's reserved for higher-spec R Line and SEL models and a 1.4-litre TSI with 148bhp with Active Cylinder Technology (ACT) that shuts down cylinders that aren’t needed to boost economy. This engine is only available on the BlueGT model.

There's one diesel engine – a 1.4 TDI – that produces either 74bhp or 89bhp in different trim levels, but it's the most economical engine in the Polo range and should return up to 83mpg.

The Volkswagen Polo is at the more expensive end of the supermini class, so you’d expect it to come with plenty of equipment. However, entry-level S models go without luxuries like remote central locking and air-con, so it's worth looking further up the range for the best value.

We’d recommend the 1.2 TSI Match. It comes with a generous list of standard equipment including DAB radio, a touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, air-con, alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, electric folding mirrors, tinted rear windows and cruise control.

If you want more luxuries then you can step up to the SEL, while R-Line models have a sporty bodykit, piano black trim on the dashboard and sports seats. BlueGT models have unique badging, larger alloy wheels and unique interior trim and seats, too.

Volkswagen also provides an extensive list of options to add onto the Polo, too, including full bright LED headlights, a parking camera, sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive cruise control and leather seats.

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 
4.1548387096774
4.2 /5 based on 124 reviews
57%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
29 Mar 2016
Own this car? Leave your review.