Nic Cackett
7 December 2012

What is it?

Once upon a time, a common-or-garden supermini in hot hatch drag was about as desirable as parachuting behind enemy lines armed with a replica weapon; it looked the part, but wasn’t much use when things got physical. This was because most ’minis were grossly underpowered, burdening their buyers with plenty of shout but little length of trouser.

Today, the formula makes more sense. Volkswagen’s new R-line trim, a styling garnish of bumpers, grille, grippier seats and 16in wheels, comes exclusively with its 1.2 TSI-engined Polo.

What is it like?

Progress is congenially delivered, with enough in reserve for you not to be humiliated by oil-burning MPVs. Combined with quick-witted handling, it’s neat and peppy in town and revs out cleanly beyond. However, for an idea pinched from Audi (this is a brazen cribbing of the popular S-line trim), it’s a wonder there’s no sports suspension; even more surprising is the fact that, thanks to slightly wayward body control, the Polo could probably use a few millimetres of Ingolstadt-style spring clenching.



Should I buy one?

Not if your expecting a full-on hot hatch experience. In the best traditions of VW’s design conservatism, the Polo R-line is as gently sporting as a pair of cheap tennis shoes, but it will be easy to insure and comes with a generous equipment bounty. The only thorn in the R-line’s side is the price. At £15,195, the car is almost £1700 more expensive than the Suzuki Swift Sport, a model which, dynamically and spiritually, is the real McCoy to VW’s affable facsimile.

Volkswagen Polo R-line

Price: £15,195; 0-62mph: 9.7sec; Top speed: 118mph; Economy: 53.3mpg (combined); CO2: 124g/km; Kerb weight: 1088kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1197cc, turbo, petrol; Power: 104bhp at 5000rpm; Torque: 129lb ft at 1550-4100rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate


Cindrella of VW line-up

1 year 45 weeks ago

I have no understanding of VW's strategy vis-a-vis Polo. Why are they treating this car as Golf's step sister?


Well said fadyady !! It looks

1 year 45 weeks ago

Well said fadyady !! It looks the part and VW do know how to make a decent drivers car.

I wonder why the motoring

1 year 45 weeks ago

I wonder why the motoring press are only just now testing this model (AE did the same a few weeks ago) as this model has been out for some time now.

I asked at my local VW dealer earlier in the year and they held out little hope of ever getting one in the showroom, in fact despite me calling in regularly they've never been able to get hold of any tsi Polo for me to try. Sad

Interior pic

1 year 45 weeks ago

Did Nic use the camera on his smartphone for the interior picture?

I think...

1 year 45 weeks ago

It's £2k too expensive.

Overdrive wrote: It's £2k

1 year 45 weeks ago

Overdrive wrote:

It's £2k too expensive.

Textbook VW then.

Easy - you can get the same

1 year 44 weeks ago

Easy - you can get the same engine in an Ibiza FR for the best part of £2k less.

maybe that was all! I can not

1 year 18 weeks ago

maybe that was all! I can not change the situation, I already purchased it. Where can I read more about this car?

Please register or login to post a comment.

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Polo

The fifth-generation Volkswagen Polo has junior Golf looks, but is that enough?

Driven this week