The Volkswagen Polo is a small car that’s comfortable to drive and has a spacious, plush cabin, but it’s far from exciting to drive.
There’s a lot of Russian dolls going on in manufacturer car ranges these days. Cars tend to look similar on the outside, but the great thing is that big-car luxury is making its way down to smaller models. The Volkswagen Polo is evidence of that – glance at it and you’d be forgiven for think it was the firm’s large and more expensive Golf.
And it’s the same on the inside. For a small car, the Volkswagen Polo is very comfortable and practical, with a distinctly upmarket feel to it. Inside, there are swathes of soft, squidgy plastics, as well as a range of colourful dashboard trims to brighten up its cabin even further.
It all helps to give the Polo a real big-car feel – one of the main reasons why it picked up the Little Legend Award at the 2018 carwow awards, seeing off alternative small cars such as the Skoda Fabia, Seat Ibiza and Ford Fiesta.
It’s easy to get comfortable inside the Polo, as there’s plenty of seat adjustment on its front seats and more headroom than you’ll find in alternatives. Things are equally comfy in the back, and as the Volkswagen Polo has rear doors, climbing into the back seats is a breeze.
Every version of the Volkswagen Polo comes with a slick 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with crisp graphics and responsive, intuitive menus. And, as long as you avoid the most basic S trim, this system also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. But the Polo’s party piece is its 12-inch Active Info display – an optional digital screen that replaces the conventional dials.
The Polo proves being a jack of all trades is no bad thing – it’s so good you have to wonder why anyone would buy a VW Golf.
You can get the Volkswagen Polo with a range of petrol and diesel engines and most come with a manual gearbox. However, if you go for a 1.0 TSI petrol engine, you also have the option of a seven-speed automatic gearbox.
Go for the turbocharged 95hp 1.0-litre TSI. Not only does this engine have some useful extra power, it’s also more economical than the basic engine. That said, if you do lots of driving on the motorway, it’s worth considering one of the 1.6-litre diesels.
The Volkswagen Polo is also impressively relaxing to drive. It’s comfortable around town and tackles twisty country lanes with confidence. OK, so it’s not quite as much fun to drive as the SEAT Ibiza, but the Polo is quieter on the motorway and less bouncy on bumpy roads.
Furthermore, all Polos come with automatic emergency braking that’ll apply the brakes if it senses an obstacle on the road, and as such, a full five stars crash rating from Euro NCAP.
So, if you’re looking for a small car that’s safe, spacious, well built, comfortable and available with bundles of cutting-edge tech, the Polo should be right at the top of your shortlist.