The Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and Vauxhall Corsa are three of the best selling superminis in the business. To be successful, these models have to offer practicality, economy and comfort in a small package with enough style to tempt fashionable young buyers.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa prices
The Fiesta is the most expensive car of the three, with entry-level three-door models priced from £13,795. It offers the most kit as standard including 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome surrounds for the windows and a pair of front fog lights. You also get remote central locking, air conditioning and a heated windscreen.
Entry-level three-door Polos offer the most infotainment kit as standard and are priced from £11,830. All models get a USB port, DAB digital radio and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. If you want air conditioning, however, you’ll have to upgrade to the S A/C trim. We’d go for the mid-range Match Edition, offering all the kit you need from £13,315.
Priced from £10,155, the three-door Corsa is the cheapest of the bunch. Entry-level models come with a heated windscreen, remote central locking, electric front windows, electrically adjustable door mirrors and an array of safety features – although it does without air conditioning. We’d suggest paying £11,880 for a Design-trimmed Corsa, offering an infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, cruise control and air conditioning as standard.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa styling
If you’re after sharp looks, the Fiesta is arguably the sportiest of the three with a stylish Aston-Martin-inspired front grille and aggressive lines. Unfortunately, the Fiesta is starting to look dated compared to the other two cars. Nevertheless, an all-new Fiesta is due sometime in 2017.
Although the Polo’s styling might appear conservative to some, it is arguably the most grown-up looking of the trio thanks to its understated look and neat lines. Similar to the Fiesta, however, the Polo is an older car now so would benefit from an extensive update.
The Vauxhall has the friendliest looking design of the bunch with a bumper resembling a smiling face, which suits the car’s youthful character. The rest of the car is well proportioned with smart looks and arguably will appeal to the largest number of buyers.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa interior
The Fiesta’s interior feels dated compared to the other two cars – the cluttered buttons and infotainment system feel a generation behind the other two cars’ comparatively minimalistic setup. The infotainment system is the slowest and least intuitive of the three – additionally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available on the Fiesta.
The Polo’s interior design feels more premium than the other two but you do find the occasional scratchy plastic surface lower down in the cabin. Nevertheless, the interior layout is uncluttered and easy to use while the infotainment system is straightforward and, for £125, it can be upgraded to include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Corsa’s interior is just about on-par with the Polo in terms of build and material quality. It’s smart looking and logically laid out and, in Design models equipped with an infotainment system, features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. What’s more, Vauxhall’s excellent OnStar virtual assistant is an optional extra.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa practicality
The Fiesta’s cabin features an array of cubby and storage spaces scattered around the interior. Provided you don’t specify the spare wheel, the Fiesta has the biggest boot of the three at 290 litres but, with the rear seats folded there’s an annoying ridge in the boot floor making larger items difficult to load. It feels snugger than both the Polo and Corsa in the back with limited legroom and headroom, with only a marginal improvement in the five-door version.
The Polo’s boot may be the smallest of the three at 280 litres but its space is possibly the most useful. A low boot lip makes loading items easy, a number of tethering points help secure items and, unlike the other two cars, its rear seats fold completely flat. The Polo doesn’t have lots of legroom but has enough rear headroom if you’re below six-foot, placing it in the middle of the two in terms of rear passenger room.
The Corsa’s 285-litre boot is only a few litres smaller than the Fiesta’s but its lower loading lip and flatter folding rear seats make it more practical to use. Cubby space is good, however, and the Corsa offers the most rear passenger room of the three – there’s enough headroom and legroom for those in the back to ride in comfort – even in the three-door Corsa model.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa engines
A range of petrol and diesel engines are available for the Fiesta. We’d recommend going for the 1.0-litre turbocharged ‘EcoBoost’ petrol engine with 100hp. While it costs £1,000 more than the standard 1.25-litre engine, it’s much faster, smoother and more economical than the 1.25-litre. It’s officially rated to return 65mpg, our testing showed 47mpg.
There’s an engine to suit any buyer in the Polo lineup. Our pick would be the 1.0-litre turbo petrol with 95hp offering cheap running costs and strong, smooth performance. It returns a manufacturer estimated 58.9mpg, while the most efficient models can muster 74mpg.
Like its rivals, the Corsa can be had with a number of engines with our pick being the 1.0-litre turbo petrol engine. Like the Ford’s EcoBoost, it offers a good balance of economy and performance, and is available in two power outputs capable of returning up to 65mpg.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa driving
The Fiesta is the best driving car of the bunch – it’s stable, pleasingly nippy with the EcoBoost engine and has very direct controls. The only compromise for the fun driving experience is a firmer ride than the Polo or Corsa and more tyre noise at motorway speeds. All-around visibility is good in the Fiesta, making around town manoeuvres a breeze.
The Polo is very easy to drive and offers good all-round visibility. While it may not be as fun as the Fiesta, it offers a softer ride that’s better for motorway cruising. The Polo feels refined on the move with minimal tyre and wind-noise.
The Vauxhall may not be as fun as the Fiesta to drive, but it still handles well, while offering more comfort. The large front pillars create a blindspot, however, hindering visibility slightly while driving around town.
The Fiesta is the most fun to drive of the trio, yet lacks the levels of comfort and space offered by the other two. It also suffers the same problems as the Polo thanks to its outdated platform. The VW is the most comfortable of the three but can’t match the entertaining drive or the flair of the other two. If you’re looking for a balance of fun and comfort, however, the Corsa is the car for you and the winner of this group test.