Volkswagen Polo Review

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
  • Upmarket cabin for a small car
  • Comfortable to drive
  • Big boot for a car this size
  • Alternatives are more exciting
  • Sluggish entry-level petrol engines
  • Desirable features cost extra
58.9 - 76.3
CO2 emissions
97 - 110 g/km
First year road tax
£120 - £140
Safety rating

The VW Polo is a compact family car that’s both comfortable to drive and comes with a spacious, plush cabin but it’s far from exciting to drive

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Watch our VW Polo video review

The VW Polo is an upmarket small car that’s both comfortable and practical. Inside, you get swathes of soft, squidgy plastics as standard and you can choose from a range of colourful dashboard trims to brighten up its cabin even further.

Avoid entry-level Trendline and Comfortline models and you’ll get a slick eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with crisp graphics and responsive, intuitive menus. This system also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, so you can use your favourite smartphone media and navigation apps on the Polo’s screen.

That’s all well and good, but the Polo’s party piece is its 11.7-inch Active Info display – an optional screen that replaces conventional analogue dials. It looks fantastic and comes with bundles of personalisation options – just like the Virtual Cockpit you get in posh Audis.

There’s plenty of seat adjustment in the front to help you get comfortable in the Polo’s high-tech cabin – and more headroom than you’ll find in a Vauxhall Corsa. Things are equally comfy in the back too, and all Polos come with five doors as standard to make climbing in the back a breeze.

Fitting a child seat is easy too, thanks to the clearly marked Isofix anchor points – and there’s more room for carrying three adults side-by-side than you get in a Vauxhall Corsa.

The Polo’s boot is impressively spacious, too. With five seats in place it’ll hold 351 litres of luggage (that’s more than the Corsa and Skoda Fabia) and with the back seats folded flat there’s space for a bike once you’ve removed a wheel.

In mid-range models and above the back seats fold in a handy two-way (60:40) split so you can carry up to two passengers and some bulky items in the boot at once.

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

Mat Watson
carwow expert

You can get the Polo with a range of petrol and diesel engines and with either a manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox. Ignore the sluggish 75hp 1.0-litre models and go for the 95hp 1.0-litre, which gets a turbocharger for extra shove. It’s a little noisy when you accelerate hard but is fast enough to keep up with motorway traffic.

It’s worth considering one of the 1.6-litre diesels if you do lots of motorway miles. The 95hp model’s not as smooth as the similarly powerful petrol but it’ll prove more frugal at motorway speeds.

The Polo’s impressively relaxing to drive for such a small car. It’s comfortable around town and tackles twisty country lanes with confidence – especially with the optional adaptive suspension fitted. It’s not quite as fun to drive as the SEAT Ibiza, but the Polo is slightly quieter at motorway speeds and less bouncy on bumpy roads.

Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested the VW polo yet but it comes with a wide range of high-tech safety features as standard. Even entry-level Trendline models come with automatic emergency braking that’ll stop the car for you if it senses an obstacle on the road.

Which means 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.

You can read more in-depth info on the VW Polo in our following interior, driving and specification reviews sections.

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