The VW Polo R Line is effectively a regular Polo 1.2 TSI that looks a bit like the range-topping GTI model.
It’s aimed at younger drivers who want sporty styling, but can’t afford to buy – let alone insure – a genuine hot hatch.
That means you get more aggressively styled front and rear bumpers, chunkier sideskirts, bigger alloys, and privacy glass. What you don’t get is any more power.
What’s the 2012 VW Polo R Line like to drive?
Although the R Line is no faster than a regular Polo 1.2 TSI, it’s still plenty nippy enough. The 0-62mph dash takes 9.7 seconds, which makes the R Line faster than a Ford Fiesta 1.4.
Even more impressive than outright pace, though, is in-gear flexibility. The turbocharged engine pulls strongly from 1500rpm and revs sweetly beyond 5000rpm, so you don’t need to change gear that often to keep the engine on song.
Polo R Line comes with many styling cues from the Polo GTI
Like cheaper versions of the Polo, the R Line prioritises comfort over sporty handling. The low-speed ride is excellent, with the soft suspension coping brilliantly with lumps and bumps – despite the fairly chunky 16-inch alloys.
Polo sways around in corners when driven fast
Unfortunately, the R Line does sway around fairly dramatically on twisty roads, while the vague steering does little to inspire confidence. A Ford Fiesta is much more nimble and entertaining to drive.
What’s the 2012 VW Polo R Line like inside?
There’s a good range of adjustment in both the driver’s seat and the steering wheel, and you’ll have no problem finding your way around the classy and user-friendly dashboard.
DAB radio, iPod connection and air-conditioning are all standard
R Line models come with a six-speaker DAB radio, iPod connectivity, air-conditioning, split-folding rear seats, heated door mirrors and a tyre pressure monitor as standard. You also get a leather-trimmed steering wheel, aluminium pedals and sports seats.
Bluetooth is standard, too, although on cars without optional sat-nav fitted, this is controlled via a small, touch-screen located on the right-hand side of the dash, which looks a bit like an aftermarket add-on.
Then again, you’re likely to put up with it, because sat-nav is a £675 extra.
VW Polo R Line’s performance doesn’t match up to its looks
Should I buy one?
A Seat Ibiza FR 1.2 TSI offers a similar amount of kit for less money. However, the Polo is a much better car and won’t depreciate as quickly, so it's worth the extra cash.
Just bear in mind that the R Line isn’t anywhere near as sporty to drive as it is to look at. It you want something that’s genuinely fun to drive, buy a Ford Fiesta 1.4.
What Car? says…
Ford Fiesta 1.4i Zetec
Seat Ibiza 1.2 TSI FR
By Rory White
Our reviews are based on hard data and thorough testing in the real world.
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