Review: Volkswagen Polo
There's plenty to like about the new, larger Polo. Smart looking with plenty of tech and decent driving experience, it's one of the best choices out there. A superb supermini, that's not so mini anymore.
With the UK accounting for 10% of 14m Volkswagen Polos sold worldwide, it goes without say that the launch of the sixth-gen model comes with great interest.
Although the Golf has dominated leasing enquires on ContractHireAndLeasing.com for what feels like forever, the Polo has remained an equally solid choice.
Previously the supermini’s size may have once been a point of contention, but no more can this be a deciding factor.
With the three-door model a thing of the past, the new Polo is 4,053mm long, 1,751mm wide and 1,446mm high. That makes it 81mm longer, 63mm wider and 7mm lower than the outgoing model, numbers that may leave you scratching your head and wondering if this can even be classed as a supermini anymore.
Six three-and four-cylinder petrol engines are offered, from the naturally aspirated 1.0 MPI with 65 PS to the turbocharged 2.0 TSI with 200 PS which is notably also seen – in larger output forms – in the new Golf GTI and the range-topping Golf R.
As for diesel, there is a choice of two 1.6 TDI engines with outputs of 80 PS and 95 PS respectively.
Regardless of fuel choice, all new Polo engines are equipped with a stop-start system and a regenerative braking mode, while any of the TSI and TDI powerplants with an output of 95 PS or more can be configured with a six- or seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, depending on engine choice.
It was the 1.0-litre 115 PS 7-speed DSG we found ourselves in, and with eight years between the all-new car and the outgoing model, changes and enhancements are evident everywhere you look.
This SEL trimmed Polo, which equips the supermini with 16in alloy wheels, chrome exterior trim, LED ambient interior lighting, climate control, auto wipers and speed limit display, has the look and feel of a smart and thoroughly modern car, with no shortcuts taken.
The grille and headlights are based on VW’s flagship Arteon model, while inside the instrument and 8in infotainment display is on a horizontal axis, with air-vents moved beneath to provide a level of practicality and balance unseen in this segment.
The boot has grown 25% too, up 71 litres to a Ford Focus-beating 351 litres
The increase in size over its predecessor also make a big difference for driver and passenger alike, with generous footwells, improved elbow room and excellent height for the driver, while the seats offer a wide range of adjustment and offer comfortable cushioning and side support.
The boot has grown 25% too, up to 351 litres, which is a massive 71 more than the outgoing Polo and larger than a Ford Focus (316 litres).
Away from all that, it’s on the road where the Polo really excels. Steering is light and outstanding visibility is offered thanks to the slim pillars. With 115 PS behind its 1.0-litre engine, it’s no surprise to state that the car is nippy. Not that I was particularly pushing hard with the car though as one neat feature I forgot to mention on the infotainment is Think Blue, a feature which encourages drivers to drive as economically as possible.
On a 50-minute route encompassing a mix of town, country lane and A-road driving I managed to record 97 out of 100 on my Blue Score and an average 53.6mpg. Not that I’m bragging or anything…
Needless to say, the engine and DSG are both smooth offering little road noise or vibration in the car, and if you want to push the car harder than I did you will see a 0-62 time of 9.5sec and a 124mph top speed. The handling is equally smooth and precise, making it naturally a perfect choice in city traffic and where manoeuvring in tight spaces may be required, as well as offering plenty of grip and lean around those country lanes.
All in all, there’s plenty to like about the new Polo and no noticeable issues to my eyes. Interior and exterior styling leave other superminis looking rather plain and downmarket while its increased dimensions offer a level of practicality the model was once missing.
If you want a smart looking Volkswagen which offers plenty of tech and an undemanding driving experience, the Polo is one of the best choices out there.
Model tested: Volkswagen Polo SEL 1.0-litre 115 PS 7spd DSG
|Average leasing price*||£194|
|Top speed||124 mph|
355 (rear seats up)
1,125 (rear seats down)
Average leasing price calculated on 6+36 10K lease profile