This test was undertaken in two prototype models in South Africa, during the late stages of testing. That said, we can be pretty confident in the verdict: as with the Ateca vs the T-Roc, Seat has already launched the first MQB A0 platformed supermini with the new Ibiza, and the first verdicts on that car suggest that the Group has got things pretty much bang on.
The test covered the familiar three-cylinder 74bhp 1.0-litre and 94bhp turbocharged TSI units, and there’s scarcely a bad word to say about either; linked to a slick five-speed manual, they provide decent progress. The TSI engine may be the entry-level turbo unit, but it feels particularly well-judged, and neither is unrefined unless you force the revs.
Other familiar engines will be available; initially, the Polo will be sold with variety of turbo and non-turbo 1.0-litre petrol engines, and higher-powered 2.0-litre petrol and two diesel 1.6-litre units. All offer decent power delivery, refinement and economy in other Group cars.
There’s a hint of larger road imperfections hitting the cabin, but they are mostly well absorbed. At high speed the Polo is supremely stable, too, and what chance we had to take corners suggested solid and secure, if not sparkling, levels of grip and steering feedback.
Inside, the cabin is well insulated, well made (although in this early form also covered by disguise in parts, hinting that the rumoured T-Roc style coloured dashes might make it here too) and well laid out.
What’s more surprising is just how spacious the new Polo is. Just about the only facts we have about the car are that it is 4053mm long, 1751mm wide, 1446mm high and with a wheelbase of 2564mm (the current car reads: 3972mm, 1682mm, 1543mm, 2470mm). That makes it significantly longer and wider, and if the height difference looks significant on paper, it certainly doesn’t feel it inside in reality. In the back there’s room for two adults, and it feels generously spacious inside and in terms of boot space.