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Car trim reviews

Volkswagen Polo Match

Polo Match is similar in spec and looks to the Moda, but has different alloy wheels and air conditioning as standard. It also offers a wider choice of engines.

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The Polo Match is Volkswagen’s equivalent of Ford’s Fiesta Zetec: slightly sportier than other models, but with touches of luxury (air conditioning is standard) as well. Examine it in detail and it’s remarkably close to the Moda model aimed at young drivers. It has the same gloss black door pillars and chromed grille trim, darkened rear windows and matt chrome interior detailing, and even the same colour choices. In fact, from the outside the only thing that separates the two is the style of the 15-inch alloy wheels, while inside it’s very similar, except that the Match has air conditioning as standard. Match is around £450 cheaper than the Moda with air-con, though, so it represents better value for money. It also has a better range of engines. The line-up starts with the 59bhp three-cylinder 1.2-litre unit that’s in the Moda, but you can also get the 84bhp 1.4 petrol and the 74bhp three-cylinder 1.2 diesel also fitted to the Polo SE. The 1.4 is available with VW’s seven-speed twin-clutch semi-automatic gearbox, too.

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Good points

All the familiar Polo attributes are in place in the Match. It’s quiet (although the 1.2 diesel can be clattery when accelerating), smooth-riding, comfortable, well-made and economical. Prices are extremely competitive, and secondhand values are as good as they get for a supermini. The 1.4-litre engine delivers a fine mix of performance and low fuel consumption, and is easily the pick of the three available. With the DSG gearbox it’s even more frugal, and you have the advantage of an automatic in town traffic or taking control yourself on open roads. Space and quality are exemplary, and with air conditioning as standard, Match provides pretty much an ideal spec. It’s well-priced too, especially when compared with the almost-identical Moda model.

Bad points

It’s not so much that there are bad points with the Polo: merely areas in which it plays second fiddle to rivals. Driving enjoyment is fairly low down its list of priorities, for one. A Ford Fiesta is much more fun, even on a trip to the shops. And the two 1.2-litre engines are pretty feeble. The diesel is harsh-sounding when pushed. Curtain airbags are extra-cost options, and Bluetooth is available only as a dealer-fit item.

What you get

  • Alloy wheels
  • Folding rear seats
  • Passenger & Driver airbag
  • Front side airbags
  • Front fog lights
  • Manual air conditioning
  • Height adjustable driver's seat
  • Front electric windows
  • Single CD player
  • Rear electric windows

Recommended optional extras

  • Bluetooth
  • Curtain airbags

Our choice

The 1.4-litre petrol engine is far and away the best option. It’s smoother and much stronger than either of the three-cylinder alternatives.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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