The extent to which the Volkswagen Polo’s interior impresses depends very much on how you prioritise style and substance. If we look first at the more practical aspects of space, ergonomics and construction, it is difficult not to be hugely impressed.
There is a good range of seat adjustment for the driver (including height adjustment on all trim levels), good pedal placing and reach and rake-adjustable steering. Height adjustment is also standard for the front passenger on mid-level specification and above.
Rear-seat occupants have more space than you’ll find in a Ford Fiesta and access is good through the wide door openings of three-door cars. While the boot is slightly smaller than those of its rivals (280 litres versus 295 and 292 litres in the Fiesta and Seat Ibiza respectively), the Polo is still a flexible, spacious supermini. It is also, for the most part, impressively well made, featuring, for example, a slush-moulded dash with fit and finish levels not far off those found in the Golf.
All is not perfect, though; with the handbrake applied it is possible to see below the surface trim level to the metal below. The bigger problem for the Polo, we suspect, is that some buyers may be put off by a cabin design so restrained that it’s almost dour.
This is subjective, of course, but there’s none of the visual interest here that you find in a Kia Rio or a Ford Fiesta. Volkswagen is aiming the Match and Beats specification at the younger market and as such has a touchscreen infotainment system with USB and Bluetooth streaming, while the latter comes with a 300W stereo system, but still the Polo treads a super-conservative path.