The VW Polo GTI is the fastest model in the Polo range but its turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine and upmarket cabin also make it the most expensive…
The Volkswagen Polo GTI is a small family car that’s practical, well built and fast enough to keep up with some sports cars on a tight country road.
Sadly, this tempting combination doesn’t come cheap, but the VW Polo GTI’s upmarket interior helps justify its price tag. Its cabin shares most of its trim with the already upmarket Polo so it feels more special than a Peugeot 208 GTi. You get a pair of very supportive sports seats (upholstered in VW’s signature GTI tartan), shiny red inserts and you can even get it with a digital driver’s display instead of conventional analogue dials in GTI+ models.
Thankfully, these sporty additions haven’t made the VW Polo GTI any less easy to live with than the standard Polo – it’s still one of the most spacious and practical small cars around. There’s loads of adjustment to help you get comfy in the front seats and enough space in the back for six-foot-tall adults to sit behind an equally tall driver.
The VW Polo GTI’s practicality is streets ahead of the competition, too. There’s significantly more space in the boot than you get in the Ford Fiesta ST or Mini Cooper S and it feels more comfortable and more grown up than these cars around town, too. It’s easy to drive and – with the optional adaptive suspension fitted – it soaks up bumps and potholes impressively well for a small hot hatch, which you would usually expect to be quite bouncy.
You can pretty much have your cake and eat it with the VW Polo GTI – it’s quick, very well built and practical enough to live with every day. What’s not to like?
Head out onto an empty country road and the VW Polo GTI’s powerful 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine and boisterous exhaust noise certainly helps it stand out. It’ll sprint from 0-62mph in a thoroughly respectable 6.7 seconds and its sporty suspension helps it feel stable at speed and grip keenly in tight corners.
It might not be quite as agile as the smaller Ford Fiesta ST but driving the VW Polo GTI’s more relaxing for long periods and it’s quieter at motorway speeds – especially in range-topping GTI+ trim. These cars get adaptive cruise control that’ll automatically maintain a safe distance to cars in front – so they’re even safer than the regular GTI. You even get a seven-speed automatic DSG gearbox as standard in all VW Polo GTIs – if you’d rather have a six-speed manual, you’ll have to wait until late 2018.
Whichever gearbox you pick, you can rest easy knowing the VW Polo GTI provides hot-hatch thrills in a more mature package than any other alternative.