Volkswagen Polo hatchback - Interior & comfort
Excellent build quality and decent standard equipment, and the Volkswagen Polo was the first supermini to come with a digital dashboard
As one of the more sensible superminis around, the outgoing Volkswagen Polo often attracted adjectives such as ‘mature’ and ‘conservative’. Taking the lead from the SEAT Ibiza means the new Polo’s interior is a far more lively place than before, with the facelifted car receiving an array of upgraded technology to give it a truly digital feel inside.
Volkswagen Polo dashboard
Quality is generally very high, with excellent fit and finish and minimal panel gaps between sections of the dashboard. Look hard and you’ll find some scratchy plastics, but this is understandable in a supermini and the presence of such materials is only noteworthy because quality is so high elsewhere.
Speaking of noteworthy, the Polo’s digital dial cluster is now standard on every model. Called the ‘Digital Cockpit’ by VW, the system makes the Polo one of the more sophisticated and tech-happy cars in this class; rivals like the latest Renault Clio are only just catching up. While the graphics on the Polo’s dash display are dialled down slightly compared to the current Golf – particularly when using it to show sat-nav mapping – the presence of this screen lifts the Polo further and makes the integration the various infotainment systems all the more cohesive, so we reckon it's well worth spending around £400 extra.
All cars come with a central eight-inch infotainment screen as standard, and while this glossy setup looks great and works intuitively, it does attract fingerprints and the capacitive shortcut buttons for mapping, phone and other functions are easy to activate by accident when going for the volume. Additionally, both Style and R-Line models feature capacitive touch controls for the ventilation system and while they look great, they can be slightly fiddly to use on the move.
The 2021 update simplified the Polo trims to Life, Style and R-Line to match the standard trim levels offered across the majority of the VW model range. Every Polo is well specced, with the entry-level Life model getting an impressive kit list including 15-inch alloy wheels, all-round electric windows, automatic wipers, electrically folding and heated door mirrors, manual air conditioning, VW’s eight-inch Digital Cockpit and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Standard safety features include cruise control with speed limiter, LED headlights, front assist and city emergency braking and lane assist.
Next up are the Style and R-Line models, which occupy the flagship slot of the Polo range. The Style trim places more focus on comfort with two-zone climate control, sports comfort seats, VW’s Discover sat-nav system and the larger 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro dial cluster. Upgraded 16-inch alloys are also added, along with Matrix LED headlights, a light-up front grille and LED indicators and LED tail lights.
R-Line models feature a slightly different specification, with a bodykit, different 16-inch alloy wheels and rear privacy glass for a sportier look. Inside, two-tone sports seats feature ‘R-Line’ logos and there stainless steel pedals and a black headliner.
Both the Style and R-Line trims get a comprehensive list of safety equipment, including adaptive cruise control with speed limiter, high-beam control, driver fatigue alert detection, dynamic road sign display, front and rear parking sensors and VW’s Travel Assist suite, which includes both lane keep assist and traffic jam assist.
Access to the Volkswagen Connect app is also standard across the Polo range. This lets you remotely check your car’s fuel level and when it needs servicing from your smartphone, as well as providing ways to summon assistance. While all models are equipped with streaming and internet connectivity.
You don’t have to spend money on options but if you want to, the list for the Polo contains features previously reserved for bigger, more expensive cars such as a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry, a rear-view camera and a parking assist system. Bear in mind that adding too many options will push the price of the Polo firmly into the territory of the Volkswagen Golf.