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 shares the upmarket, classy appeal of its larger, more expensive Golf sibling, giving it a big presence in a sector of the market containing the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa. It also shares many of its mechanical parts with the Skoda Fabia, SEAT Ibiza and the more expensive Audi A1. Though not the cheapest car in its class, it has such a wide range of talents that even good-value cars like the Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio see it as a threat.

Compared to some rivals, it's not the most exciting car to drive. It has a rather more mature way of doing things and the emphasis is rather more on comfort than entertainment. The interior is of a very high quality and quiet so long journeys are no hardship.

The smallest engine is a 1.0-litre petrol which is also used by the Vokswagen up! city car. It struggles a little installed in a bigger, heavier car, but this might not be a problem if you rarely expect to venture out of town. Fortunately, there are many more powerful choices available.

The next engine in the range is a 1.2-litre TSI petrol, while the 94bhp 1.0-litre TSI is exclusive to the economical BlueMotion model. There's also a 108bhp version of this engine which can be chosen in R Line and SEL models only. The BlueGT model comes with a 1.4-litre TSI petrol making 148bhp – a clever engine which increases economy with Active Cylinder Technology (ACT) which effectively reduces the size of the engine when full power isn’t needed.

There's only one 1.4-litre diesel engine, available with either 74 or 89bhp depending on model of Polo. It's extremely economical, though, with the promise of up to 83mpg.

It helps to justify the price premium the Volkswagen Polo carries over its rivals when you look at the list of standard equipment fitted. It's worth noting that base S models go without air-conditioning and remote central locking. Better value is found further up the range.

Our favourite is the 1.2-litre TSI petrol Match. The equipment list is general, extending to a DAB radio and touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth and air-conditioning. Electric folding mirrors and front and rear parking sensors are practical touches, while smart alloy wheels and darker-tinted rear glass add distinction outside.

Still more luxurious is the SEL, and the R Line models have a sporty demeanor with their bodykit, sports seats and piano black dashboard trims. The BlueGT has a look all of its own both inside and out, there's also a Polo Beats edition featuring 300-watt sound system by Beats Audio, as well as unique Beats trims. And all this choice is without looking at the substantial options list.
The Volkswagen Polo can be specced as almost a mini-limo, and that's key to its appeal. If everyday comfort is all important, with economy and quality high on your list, the Polo is an obvious choice.

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 
4.1748031496063
4.2 /5 based on 127 reviews
58%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
28 Jul 2016
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