The winner Volkswagen Polo 1.4SE 5dr List price £12,720 Target price £12,259
No, you’re not seeing things: the Volkswagen Golf hasn’t pulled a flanking manoeuvre and sneaked onto our supermini winner’s podium.
However, the Volkswagen Polo's crisp lines, subtle curves and slim-lipped grille do owe a good deal to its larger sibling. It’s a similar story inside, with shrunken copies of the Golf’s clocks, vents and its classic, well-ordered centre console. Does anyone think this is a bad thing, though? No, we thought not.
The Polo may be compact, but with plenty of space for four it’s one of the more spacious superminis. That’s also evident the first time you open the rear hatch to reveal a generous boot with a false floor that can be removed to create a surprisingly deep load area.
Prices and power outputs start with 1.2-litre petrol variants, but it’s worth investing the extra for our favoured 85bhp 1.4 because it’s so much smoother, stronger and quieter.
Granted, the Polo isn’t as much fun to drive as a Ford Fiesta, but its cushioned ride makes it more comfortable. The steering is light and precise, and all the controls have the silky, well-oiled precision that we’ve come to know and love as a Volkswagen signature. There’s even a standard hill-holder function, which means hill starts should excite no fear, even in the most inexperienced of drivers.
Leave the city behind, and there’s barely any wind- or road noise to disturb you in the cabin, allowing you to enjoy the decent grip and accomplished handling in peace. Reassuringly, the Polo comes with lots of airbags as standard, stability control and a full five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. That VW badge also means excellent resale values. With this sort of pedigree, the Polo is soon likely to be sprinting up the sales charts.