Volkswagen Polo hatchback

£11,300 - £19,915

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.