Review

Volkswagen Polo hatchback

£11,250 - £19,865

The Volkswagen Polo is one of the enduring models in the small family hatchback class. It appeals to people who want the build quality, refinement and comfort of a Volkswagen Golf, but in a smaller package. Its main rival, the Ford Fiesta, is more fun to drive, but can’t match the VW's build quality.

With the new Vauxhall Corsa and the new Mazda2 set to go on sale towards the end of the year, Volkswagen has given the Polo a thorough refresh for 2014. The model gets new engines, revised in-car tech, new trim levels and subtly refreshed looks.

The Polo range offers a good selection of engines, with the most economical 1.4-litre diesel capable of 83.1mpg. For now, the fast Volkswagen Polo GTI has been phased out in favour of the BlueGT model, which offers a better balance between performance and economy. 

Entry-level models are now powered by the same smooth and eager three-cylinder engine found in the Volkswagen up! city car, while the 1.2-litre TSI petrol line-up has been tweaked to include 89bhp and 109bhp versions. As yet, there's no ultra-efficient BlueMotion model, but when it does make an appearance in 2015, it'll be powered by frugal 1.2-litre petrol rather than the outgoing car's diesel.

The Polo tends to have less equipment for the money than rivals. The base model does without air-conditioning (it's a £720 option), but does get electronic stability control, electric front windows, a Bluetooth phone connection and an infotainment system with a colour touchscreen.