What is it?
Built on Volkswagen’s stiffer, lighter MQB platform – in a configuration shared with the Seat Ibiza – VW’s new supermini is substantially longer and wider than before. It’s lower, too. Not that the Polo has been transformed into something overtly sporting – beyond the new, deadpan headlights, a body-coloured lip at the top of the grille and a strip of scalloped bodywork that runs from just behind the front wheel to the rear lights, it’s business as usual. You can no longer buy a Polo with only three doors, either.
The Polo has always been happy to leave the thrills to others, though, focusing on more prosaic matters that are of greater importance to the majority of its buyers. As such, VW has been at pains to highlights the fact that this car as greater boot capacity than some hatchbacks in the class above, at 351 litres, and also features a gamut of safety technology – including blind-spot detection and emergency braking – that’s trickled down from the Golf.
The engine line-up is a mix of turbocharged Euro VI-compliant TDI and TSI engines, with the addition of a 64bhp naturally aspirated petrol that serves as a cheap-to-insure entry point. Volkswagen expects 95 percent of buyers to go for petrol, which is a statistic of its own making, and not just because the Polo suits a powerplant that treads lightly.
The turbocharged 1.0-litre TSI on offer comes with either 94bhp or 113bhp, and it’s the latter – coupled with the optional seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox – we’ve tested here. Meanwhile, VW’s 1.6-litre TDI is available with either 79bhp or 94bhp, and is coupled solely with a five-speed manual gearbox.
The range starts with S trim (8.0-inch touchscreen, 14-inch alloys, DAB), which is succeeded by SE (15-inch alloys, body-coloured trim), then Beats (16-inch alloys, tinted windows, Beats audio system). Next up is SEL (Discover Navigation system, chrome-plated interior trim, climate control, sports seats) before you reach R-Line, which adds a body kit and such luxuries as stainless steel pedals.