The Volkswagen Polo, now in its eighth incarnation, has always been a firm favourite in the supermini class. The latest model sticks firmly to its age-old values of being a small, cheap car that offers all the quality and safety of a big car. Of course, the term ‘small’ can only be used loosely nowadays, because like every other ‘small’ car, the Polo has grown size and weight. In fact, the current Polo is now comparable in size to a Mk2 Golf!
Therefore you need to consider whether the Polo is the right size to for you to park and drive. Will the dinky Volkswagen fit in the garage, and will it manage a three-point turn? We answer these questions – the sort that are likely to be overlooked on a test drive.
The Polo is far and away the biggest ever version to hit our roads. Fortunately the Polo, although enormous when compared to the Mk1, is still a handy amount smaller then the Golf. It’s roughly the same length as the Ford Fiesta, itself not the biggest of the supermini class. All Polos above Match spec also come with rear parking sensors as standard, which aid parallel manouvers.
One concern of the Polo being significantly smaller than the Golf is a lack of passenger space. But it’s not a problem – it offers one of the most generously proportioned cabins at this price. Leg and headroom are good all round, and two adults can easily sit comfortably in the rear, with three squeezing in at a pinch for short hops into town. The five-door model improves accessibility greatly, but if you only occasionally find people venturing to the rear seats, the cheaper three-door is still an excellent choice.
Front headroom: 974mm
Front legroom: 1,042mm
Rear headroom: 943mm
Rear legroom: 824mm
Unlike the Polo’s platform-sharing siblings (the Seat Ibiza and Skoda Fabia), Volkswagen does not offer an estate version of the Polo. This isn’t too detrimental because not many other rivals do, but it means buyers looking for a small estate will have to go elsewhere in the Volkswagen Group. However, bootspace for the Polo is fairly reasonable, at 280 litres, which is only just behind the Fiesta and new Renault Clio. Considering the passenger space on offer, we feel it’s a good compromise to make. The rear seats split and fold flat, and there’s even a ‘false-floor’ in the boot allowing items to remain hidden.
Boot space (with rear seats up): 280 litres
Boot space (with rear seats down): 952 litres
Turning circle and fuel tank capacity
A turning circle of 10.6 metres is OK but not the best in class, which means some rivals allow three-point turns to be completed more quickly. A fuel tank capacity of 45 litres is fairly standard for this class of car, and allows the 1.4-litre TDI diesel model a theoretical range of more than 800 miles. Even the 140hp Blue GT petrol manages around 600 miles, showing how frugal the engine range is.
Turning circle: 10.6m
Fuel tank capacity: 45 litres
Range 570 miles (1.2 TSI 110) to 840 miles (1.4 TDI 75)
There are lighter superminis around these days, but the Polo still manages to stay on a par with the Fiesta, starting at just over one tonne for the base 1.0-litre version. Unusually, the turbo petrols and turbodiesels are very similar in weight, removing the traditional nose-heavy handling attitude of a diesel.
Weight: 1055kg (1.0 S) to 1163kg (1.2 TSI 110 DSG),
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Remember that you can see how much you can save on the list price using the carwow Volkswagen Polo deals page.