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Summary

The supermini market remains one of the most competitive around, and is closely fought by a number of models that bring a big car feel to the compact segment. One of these is the Volkswagen Polo. But is it worth considering?

Pros

  • Comfortable

  • Modern interior

  • Plenty of space

Cons

  • Rivals may be more fun to drive

  • Engines could be quieter

  • No electrified option

Introduction

There are some rather well-known nameplates in the Volkswagen range – the Golf, the Passat, but not least the Polo supermini.

This compact hatchback dates back to 1975 and over the years it has continued to impress as it became more spacious and also more upmarket.

These features have enabled the Polo to become one of the best superminis on the market, as well as one of the most popular – it's only just behind the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.

But can the Polo continue to please next to the latest superminis from the likes of Seat and Peugeot?

Latest model

Now six generations in, the latest Polo debuted in 2017 and it's a rather different story to its predecessor.

For starters, its wheelbase is nearly 10cm longer than the car it replaces, significantly improving cabin and boot space.

It also gains in technology with its large touchscreen, and it's one of the first cars in its segment to feature the optional digital dials system. New driver assistance tech is also offered, with the likes of adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.

The only major change since 2017 is a new Match trim level, which replaces SE and adds a range of extra kit, including privacy glass, 15-inch alloy wheels, and front and rear parking sensors.

Driving feel

Some superminis are angled more towards comfort than sportyness, and that's certainly the case for this hatchback.

It has one of the most supple rides of any small car on sale today, and its ability to sit at motorway speeds with no fuss whatsoever easily rivals cars from the class above.

That said, this Polo is better to drive than its predecessor too. It feels more agile and a bit more playful, the steering is accurate, and there's minimal body roll through the corners.

Looks and image

If you're looking for a classy supermini, there are few better options than the Volkswagen Polo. It might not offer the funky designs of rivals, but there's a really upmarket feel to this hatchback.

The sheer choice of trims helps too, from the sensible Match and SEL versions to the special edition United through to the more stylish Beats and sporty R-Line models.

That classiness is also carried through to the interior, with the Polo having one of the most desirable cabins in the supermini segment.

It doesn't have the sheer wow factor you get with the Peugeot 208, but it does offer a high-quality look and feel. Plus all cars also come with an excellent 8-inch touchscreen system.

Space

When Volkswagen unveiled the mark 6 Polo it was quite rightly proud that this new model offered more interior space than a Golf of the early 2000s. Indeed, the Polo is one of the roomiest small cars on the market today.

The 351-litre boot is one of the largest of any supermini, only beaten by the latest Renault Clio, and there's plenty of rear space for adults to get comfortable. With a 3-door option no longer available, there's versatility as well.

Engines and running costs

The current Polo is now only offered with a choice of 1.0-litre petrol engines. The diesel engine has gone due to limited demand.

The first-car friendly option is the entry-level 79bhp naturally aspirated option with a 5-speed manual gearbox. After this there are the turbocharged units, either 94bhp or 108bhp. Each is offered with the option of a manual or seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.

While no diesel or electrified Polo option is available, all current models should prove affordable to run. You can expect around 50mpg, and low CO2 emissions ranging from 118g/km to 130g/km. Meanwhile the 79bhp petrol model is ideal for new drivers as it sits in the lowest insurance group (1E).

Powertrains

  • 1.0-litre petrol (79bhp)

  • 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol (94bhp)

  • 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol (108bhp)

Rivals

Trims explained

Five trim levels are offered on the Polo. Here are the highlights...

Match - from £256 a month with Smart Lease

  • 15-inch alloy wheels

  • Leather steering wheel

  • 8-inch touchscreen

  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

  • Air conditioning

  • Electric windows

  • Electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors

  • Front and rear parking sensors

  • Cruise control

  • Autonomous emergency braking

United (in addition to Match)

  • Revised 15-inch alloy wheels

  • Blue dashboard

  • Automatic wipers

  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror

  • Satellite navigation

  • 'United' badging

Beats (in addition to Match)

  • 16-inch alloy wheels

  • 'Beats' badging

  • Beats sound system

  • Leather door panels

SEL (in addition to Match)

  • 16-inch alloy wheels

  • Chrome exterior styling

  • LED interior lighting

  • Satellite navigation

  • Ambient lighting

  • Traffic-sign recognition

  • Dual-zone climate control

  • Automatic wipers

  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror

R-Line (in addition to SEL)

  • Revised 16-inch alloy wheels

  • R-Line styling kit

  • LED rear lights

  • Gloss black interior elements

  • Sports steering wheel

  • Electric folding door mirrors

The VW Polo is available in the Smart Lease range for a limited time from £256 per month.

Find out more about leasing a VW Polo.


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