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, however: the large central dashboard panel is available in 13 different colours, adding a welcome sense of brightness should this be required.
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 dashboard dials – dubbed Digital Cockpit Pro by VW – make it 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 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.
Trim levels are Match (replacing SE), Beats, Active, SEL, R-Line and GTI (a model we’ve reviewed separately). With the basic S trim no longer offered, all Polos come with an even more impressive list of kit, including all-round electric windows and parking sensors, air conditioning and an eight-inch touchscreen with DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. When Match replaced the SE trim in 2020, it added £785 worth of kit for a £200 price increase, including 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights and privacy glass. The Beats package, meanwhile, brings a punchy 300-watt stereo, sports seats, 16-inch alloy wheels and extra leather trim inside.
A new Active trim actually costs fractionally less than the Beats model, but offers a host of equipment you don’t even get on the SEL trim, such as folding mirrors, heated seats and cruise control. It replaces the limited-edition United trim level, and seems like the best value.
The Active trim makes the £1,500 jump to SEL trim feel unnecessary but the SEL is luxurious, with dual-zone climate control, automatic windscreen wipers and extra chrome trim. Convenience is also boosted by rain-sensing wipers and foglights with a cornering function. Those after sharp looks will be drawn to the R-Line model, which gets model-specific 16-inch alloy wheels, a subtle bodykit and further material upgrades inside. But it doesn’t get all the same tech as the cheaper trim levels, so you’ll need to decide how important the sporty styling is. You’ll need to order either of these versions if you want the more powerful 108bhp petrol engine.
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.
You don’t have to spend money on options, but if you want to, the Polo’s order book contains features previously reserved for bigger, more expensive cars. Adaptive cruise control, for example, will match your speed to the car in front, and if you choose the DSG gearbox this will keep you moving in traffic jams automatically. LED headlights, a panoramic sunroof, blind-spot detection and a self-parking system are also offered, although adding too many options will push the Polo firmly into the pricing territory of the Volkswagen Golf hatchback.