From £10,1658
Clever tech makes the Polo more economical, cleaner and safer, while new engines offer greater refinement but no more driving involvement
Autocar
22 April 2014

What is it?

The facelifted Volkswagen Polo, although as far as updates go the Polo's appears to be a very gentle update of a car that sold more than 42,600 units in the UK in 2013, second only to the Golf. Why mess with a good thing at all, then? Well, VW may not have bothered the styling department too much other than for LED headlights and new bumpers, but the engineering shop has been busy under the skin.

VW proudly claims that all of the Polo’s engines now comply with Euro 6 emissions regs and it has culled the old 1.4-litre petrol. In its place at launch are two 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrols and two 1.2 TSI turbocharged engines. Two 1.4-litre turbodiesels, in 74bhp and 89bhp forms, are also on offer.

There will also be a 1.4-litre TSI turbo petrol that features VW’s ACT cylinder deactivation when the new Polo touches down in showrooms in July. This motor will only be offered in the BlueGT warm hatch model, with six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG transmissions. The manual version is rated at 58.9mpg and 109g/km, and the DSG model at 60.1mpg and 107g/km.

If those emissions don’t seem so impressive for a contemporary supermini, VW has an answer in the shape of two BlueMotion Polos, one with a 74bhp 1.4 turbodiesel and the other with a 94bhp 1.0-litre petrol. The diesel returns 91.1mpg and 82g/km, while the petrol offers 68.9mpg and 94g/km, but we’ll have to wait until later in the year for these models to arrive.

Regardless of these economy-minded models, VW says that the best-seller in the new Polo line-up will be the entry-level 59bhp 1.0-litre engine. Put this engine in a five-door body in SE trim and you have the Polo that will sell in the biggest numbers, at a price of £13,065.

On paper, the figures for the 59bhp 1.0 MPI don’t bode well, with 0-62mph taking a somnolent 15.5sec and the top speed just scraping to 100mph. A slug of 70lb ft of torque spread between 3000rpm and 4300rpm counters this to some extent and the triple is happy to be worked hard in this rev band.

What's it like?

Reasonable and able to accelerate with haste if required, even at 60mph in fifth gear and revving with the 1.0-litre engine at 3000rpm. Drop down a gear or two and it feels quite lively, albeit with more of that three-cylinder thrum entering the cabin. Opt for the 74bhp 1.0 and life is more fun and relaxed.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Back to top

Next to a Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost, the Polo is not as swift and doesn’t handle with the same zest, but it does a sound job of dispatching corners without fuss or drama. More importantly for most Polo buyers, it copes easily with lump-addled roads and seals out wind and road noise to leave the occupants unharried.

This is a theme that VW has carried through to the revisions in the cabin, which seems to have enjoyed an equally mild update as the exterior on first acquaintance. However, the Polo is the first to receive VW’s next generation of touchscreen, which features a proximity sensor and works in much the same way as a smartphone. On SE models and up, a larger 6.5in screen is included and sat-nav is a £700 option. For £150, the multimedia screen can also be upgraded with VW’s MirrorLink (see sidebar) so that it offers all of the functions of your phone on the screen.

For the rest of the Polo’s cabin, it’s business as usual, with high-quality plastics, a good driving position, decent space front and rear and a reasonable boot. 

Should I buy one?

Yes, because although its changes are small Volkswagen has left all that is good about the Polo untouched, while also improving on fuel economy and emissions, as well as adding new technology across the range. Let's not forget that the Polo is competitively priced against competition, too. 

Alisdair Suttie

Volkswagen Polo 1.0 MPI 60 SE 5dr

Price £13,065; 0-62mph 15.5sec; Top speed 100mph; Economy 60.1mpg; CO2 106g/km; Kerbweight 1055kg; Engine 3 cyls, 999cc; Installation front transverse; Power 59bhp at 5000-6000rpm; Torque 70lb ft at 3000-4300rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
24
Add a comment…
humphrey the pug 27 April 2014

You've gotta hand it to them!

You've gotta hand it to VW, if they can still sell this dross at those prices to old biddies or young girls who just have to own a Volkswagen then power to them!
Flatus senex 27 April 2014

Not just VW

humphrey the pug wrote:

You've gotta hand it to VW, if they can still sell this dross at those prices to old biddies or young girls who just have to own a Volkswagen then power to them!

Modern Germany has many good things but a fondness for propaganda is a less good one. Thus minor changes invisible to all but an anorak are dolled up as "new" or "Mark ***" or so on. People believe this though. It's a lot cheaper to make than genuine innovation which, if it does appear, is at a ruinous price.

Granturismo 23 April 2014

yes, mega-lolz indeed.

yes, mega-lolz indeed.
JezyG 23 April 2014

Feel the heat...

This Polo seems to stir up quite a bit of emotion...If you are buying new who pays list anyway? Late last year I brought a 1.4 Polo Match Edition for 11.5K brand new, list was 14.1K. Not a bad car overall, you do seem to be paying for the high quality dash though. The 1.4 engine now dropped, is decent enough with a 45mpg average. Comfortable and quite refined, although a sixth gear would help keep the engine quieter on 70mph roads. No handling king but sensible and well equipped motoring, decent residual values as well.

VW are quite canny and know the badge will sell the car initially, then offer £1000 towards your deposit and a Match Edition later on. The 59Bhp 3 cylinder is not a bad lump in the up! and will probably be more than fine for city bound Polo's. Some models like the GT and old R Line were a tad overpriced for what they were and you could get a 5 door Leon FR 1.4TSI for the price of a 5 door Polo 1.4 GT...
Big thing to remember is spec Audi A1 has a lower spec than a SE Polo and the model in the review is the more expensive SE Design. Base SE starts at 12.4K.

danielcoote 23 April 2014

Except that....

..... The A1 is a girls car. No problem with that....just saying (never seen a dude drive one) lolz
marj 26 April 2014

JezyG wrote:This Polo seems

JezyG wrote:

This Polo seems to stir up quite a bit of emotion...If you are buying new who pays list anyway? Late last year I brought a 1.4 Polo Match Edition for 11.5K brand new, list was 14.1K. Not a bad car overall, you do seem to be paying for the high quality dash though. The 1.4 engine now dropped, is decent enough with a 45mpg average. Comfortable and quite refined, although a sixth gear would help keep the engine quieter on 70mph roads. No handling king but sensible and well equipped motoring, decent residual values as well.

VW are quite canny and know the badge will sell the car initially, then offer £1000 towards your deposit and a Match Edition later on. The 59Bhp 3 cylinder is not a bad lump in the up! and will probably be more than fine for city bound Polo's. Some models like the GT and old R Line were a tad overpriced for what they were and you could get a 5 door Leon FR 1.4TSI for the price of a 5 door Polo 1.4 GT...
Big thing to remember is spec Audi A1 has a lower spec than a SE Polo and the model in the review is the more expensive SE Design. Base SE starts at 12.4K.

You are quoting 'Match' spec run out edition cars that will be discounted. Last time I was in a VW dealership, the salesman virtually laughed at me for asking for a discount. They are on commission to add 'packs' so discounting is the last thing they will do. You might get some fancier wheels thrown in, but that's your lot. My patents even had to fork out £140 for interior mats on a £27k car! Interesting not about the A1, the last shape A3 was actually better specced for less money than the comparative Golf.

Find an Autocar car review