Buyers in the market for a new supermini could do much worse than the Volkswagen Polo. Its frugal range of engines means it’s cheap to run, while the solid looks and impressive build quality add up to a package that feels much expensive than it really is.
However, that isn’t to say it’s the only good option. Perhaps you might be drawn to something more fun to drive, something that’s better value, or just something that’s a little bit different? The market is flooded with rivals for the little VW, and we’ve picked out five of our favourites.
Don’t forget, you can put any of these cars in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save.
The Ford Fiesta is one of the very best superminis available and perhaps the Polo’s longest-running competitor. Few cars can compete with its ability to both put a smile on your face along a twisty road and maintain a respectable standard of ride comfort. This means even the basic, lowest-powered models are still great fun to drive.
While the cluttered cabin can’t match the Polo’s logical layout, there’s a reasonable amount of space for all occupants, and all but the entry-level models are well-equipped.
See what discounts are available by speccing up a Ford Fiesta in our car configurator.
One car that can give the Fiesta a run for its money on a twisty road is the Mazda 2. It features a slightly firmer setup than the Ford, but the trade off is excellent grip and unshakable balance. The small range of engines means there isn’t as much choice as there is in the Polo, but both petrol and diesel versions are sprightly and economical.
The interior design is perhaps its strongest point, with one of the most simple, attractive dashboard layouts in the segment. If style and enjoyment are high on your list of priorities, then the Mazda 2 should be right at the top of your wish list.
Pick your ideal Mazda 2 in our car configurator to see the discounts on offer.
Citroen C4 Cactus
If the Polo is just a little too plain for your tastes, then the Citroen C4 Cactus might just provide the perfect antidote. If its quirky styling wasn’t enough, its crossover shape means you get much more interior space for your money. It also features Citroen’s ingenious ‘airbump’ body protection and headlight units bound to turn heads.
The interior is a masterclass of keeping things simple. The dashboard is free from buttons because the majority of controls are operated from the touchscreen, while features like the simple door pulls show how over-complicated many other supposedly basic cars have become. It doesn’t weigh much either, so the small-capacity engines are capable of returning impressive fuel economy figures, the highlight being the 83.1mpg 1.6-litre diesel.
While the Polo draws in buyers thanks to its class and quality, the Mini Hatchback trades on its youthful edge, powerful engines, sporty handling and stylised interior. The compact three-cylinder turbocharged engines deliver lively performance, with all but the entry level diesel dipping under the 10-second mark in the 0-62mph sprint.
While the car is available with three-doors as standard, those after a little more space will welcome the five-door version, whose extra 161mm of length help to improve both rear seat and boot space. The latest MINI doesn’t quite have the go-kart handling of the iconic original car, the latest model is as impressively refined as it is enjoyable.
See the discounts on offer by choosing your perfect Mini Hatchback in our car configurator.
Perhaps the greatest current rival to the Polo comes from within the VW Group itself. The Skoda Fabia uses many of the components that are set to find their way onto the Polo’s replacement, which means that in many key areas it has moved the game on.
Most notable is the Fabia’s refinement. For a relatively small five-door hatchback, it rides very well indeed, while road and wind noise are well-suppressed. The pair share many of the same engines, and like-for-like the Fabia is lighter overall, meaning it’s both faster and more economical. The 330-litre boot is one of the largest you’ll find in any supermini, so it scores well on the practicality front too. Indeed, by almost any rational measure, the Fabia is very difficult to fault.
Pick your ideal Skoda Fabia in our car configurator to see how much you could save.
Polo still for you?
If none of these alternatives work for you, put the excellent Volkswagen Polo in our car configurator to see how much carwow could help you save. Alternatively, see our rundown of the top 10 superminis to see if your next supermini makes the cut. If you’re still struggling to pick what car you’d like next, check out our car chooser.