The Volkswagen Polo has a smart, upmarket cabin and feels impressively well built for such a small car. Unfortunately, plenty of desirable features aren’t standard
The Volkswagen Polo interior is a huge step up from the old car’s rather drab affair. Almost every surface you’ll regularly touch (and plenty you won’t) comes with a soft squidgy finish and all the controls feel just as solid as the larger (and more expensive) Golf.
Fancy livening up its interior a little? You can pick from a selection of eight colourful dashboard trims ranging from a fairly inoffensive blue to an in-your-face orange. Top-spec models come with a vast panoramic glass roof, too.
All but the entry-level Volkswagen Polo Trendline comes with a touchscreen infotainment display nestled neatly in a glossy black bezel on the dashboard. It’s bright and easy to read but doesn’t have any physical shortcut buttons so it’s a little tricky to switch between key features on the move.
You can even get a digital driver’s display that replaces conventional analogue dials with a high-resolution screen behind the steering wheel – just like in the Golf. It can display a range of info, from your mpg to huge sat-nav map, and looks very nearly as good as the Virtual Cockpit available in expensive Audis.
The Polo’s Active Info Display is well worth paying extra for. It replaces the analogue dials with a high resolution screen that feels like it’s been lifted from the cockpit of a fighter plane
Entry-level Trendline versions come with a fairly basic stereo system and a bland monochrome screen. It’s rather at odds with the rest of the Volkswagen Polo‘s smart cabin and well worth avoiding. You’ll be much better off with a Polo Comfortline or above. These get a much more modern 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s bright, colourful and easy to read as you’re driving along.
Pick a Highline model and you’ll be treated to a larger eight-inch display that feels just as upmarket as the system you get in a more expensive Golf. It’s much more user friendly than the infotainment system in a Renault Clio but it would benefit from a set of physical buttons (like the ones in a Skoda Fabia) to help you skip between key features without taking your eyes off the road.
Its menus are sensibly laid out but its glossy screen shows up every last greasy finger mark. Similarly, the glossy plastic bezel around the screen looks nice but scratches easily – not ideal for something you’ll poke and prod regularly.
You get satellite navigation in Comfortline models and above, and the Polo’s system has easy-to-follow directions and crisp, clear maps. If you’re not a fan the Volkswagen system, you can get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone mirroring features. These let you use a variety of your phone’s apps (including navigation and music streaming) through the car’s built-in display.
Another optional feature that’s well worth paying extra for is the Active Info Display – a second screen behind the steering wheel that displays a range of features (from your fuel range to sat-nav directions). It really helps set the Volkswagen Polo apart from other less tech-laden superminis.
If you’re into your tunes then it’s worth upgrading to the Beats stereo. This 300W system comes as standard in Beats models and sounds both louder and crisper than the standard car’s fairly average sound system.