There are few surprises with the Volkswagen Polo. The first discovery that runs true to form is that it is larger than the model it replaces, by 54mm in length and 32mm in width, and is now just 15mm shorter than the Mk2 Golf.

The Polo's styling draws heavily on existing Volkswagen products, but it is the wide, short grille linking the headlights that is most familiar. Although the new Polo uses a different platform from its predecessor (we’ve seen the PQ25 before on the Seat Ibiza), there is little in the suspension set-up that differs from the norm.

The latest Polo is just 15mm shorter than the Mk2 Golf

At the front there are MacPherson struts and at the rear a torsion beam and trailing arms. The lighter and larger 2017 Polo will be built on VW's new MQB A0 chassis, which will only be available in one bodystyle and thus saving developmental costs which can used to include more internal technology.

Wheel size ranges from 14 to 17 inches. The entry-level S trim has steel wheels. Match and SE trims get 15-inch alloys of different designs, while SEL trim comes with 16-inch alloys which can be upgraded to the largest 17-inch design.

The simple, narrow headlights and the flat grille that links them identify the VW family face, a design first seen on the current Scirocco. Below the main bumper unit is a second air inlet, and below this is a forward-reaching spoiler (body coloured on all spec levels) that helps to improve aerodynamic efficiency.

A rear spoiler integrated into the tailgate is standard across the Polo range and, as with the Golf, the tailgate extends right down to the bumper. The tops of the tail-lights are linked with those at the front of the car by a styling line running the length of the Polo. Viewed from behind, the rear lights look rather large and dominate the styling, lacking the design sharpness of the headlights.

The door mirrors (body-coloured on mid-spec levels and above) generate 20 per cent less air resistance than those of the previous model, but their noticeably smaller size restricts the field of vision.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Superminis

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Latest M5 super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to the improvement of every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors.
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring