Road test: VW Polo
This Polo is frugal, refined and enjoyable to drive.
What is it?
The VW Polo is a versatile and refined supermini that combines high build quality with great practicality and excellent levels of driver satisfaction. Its 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo engine is amazingly economical. Little wonder, then that it’s VW’s second-best-selling model, with 48,004 UK sales in 2014.
Who should buy one?
The Polo would suit so many different people, young and old. Me, for a start, and I live in a rural location with my family. But it would be just as suitable if you’re on your own in town. If economy comes above performance (but not too far above) on your list, then give this Polo some thought.
Road test by James Luckhurst published 21 November 2015
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Little more than 15 years after saying farewell to an excellent old Polo (it was 10 years old at the time and had never put a foot wrong in its life), we put this new model through a thorough seven-day test totalling nearly 700 miles. The quality of the driving experience became apparent from the moment we slipped it into first gear and drove out into busy town traffic. We also wondered whether this might actually have been an entry-level Golf, so roomy did it seem on the inside.
Driving it was enjoyable in all situations, from brief hops to the shops through to lengthy motorway cruises. The ride was comfortable in any situation, even on bumpy tracks away from smooth tarmac.
The Polo BlueMotion is powered by a compact 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI petrol engine that delivers 94bhp between 5,000 and 5,500 rpm. Acceleration capability is good, and if pushed hard it really does bring a smile to the face.
We didn’t test VW’s 10.5-second 0 to 62 figure, but we found a number of opportunities to enjoy the performance. What we found impressive was the immediacy of response from the engine – in any gear. Only a light touch to the accelerator was necessary to get us up and past a truck on the motorway or a slower vehicle on a nice long straight stretch of rural road.
Once or twice we found we were in third gear when we thought we were in fifth, the only clues being the rev counter and a very small indicator on the dashboard hinting that a change up would be a good idea. Screaming is not something this engine ever appears to do.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
For a car in this sector, there’s a huge amount of useable space. We had the five-door model, (there’s a three-door version, too) and sitting in the back was perfectly comfortable and roomy. Boot space was excellent, even with full-size spare tyre. Fold the rear seats and VW quotes a 952-litre space. If you can’t visualise that (and who can?) then just think big – though the best-in-class here is the Peugeot 208.
The Polo was awarded the maximum five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test. However, there are only four airbags provided as standard. If you want curtain airbags you will have to pay an extra £465. As with all Polo models, electronic stability control, traction control and brake assist are standard items on the BlueMotion, as is a post-collision braking system. A driver fatigue sensor is another optional extra.
trim level, with their own styling pack which includes shaped front and rear bumpers, radiator grille, side skirts and rear roof spoiler, body coloured door handles, body coloured door mirrors with integrated indicators, front fog lights and static cornering function.
Additional kit over that on the S trim includes 15-inch alloys with low rolling resistance tyres, aero body kit and multifunction leather steering wheel.
The £14,370 price tag makes the Polo excellent value. Running costs are minuscule. VW claims fuel economy of almost 70mpg, and although we couldn’t match that, we were pretty close to 60. The 94g/km CO2 figure puts it in VED Band A, meaning nothing to pay.
The new Polo is frugal, refined and enjoyable to drive.
AT A GLANCE:
Performance: 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds
Economy: 68.9mpg combined
Insurance: Group 16
Tax: Band A (£0)
Figures for the Polo 1.0-litre 3-cylinder 95PS BlueMotion