First Drive

2017 Volkswagen Polo review – verdict

Sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo gets more space, technology and quality. Is it a better small car than the Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza and Skoda Fabia?

Words ByRory White

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The Polo is likely to cost from around Β£13,500 when it goes on sale and will be a few hundred pounds more expensive across the range than the previous model. Naturally, it'll be slightly more expensive than the equivalent Seat Ibiza or Skoda Fabia, too.

However, given most buyers will be buying using finance, those few hundred pounds could be made up in the long run by the Polo's probably-superior residual values. The result? A monthly repayment cost that should be very close to the Ibiza's. Time will tell.

Standard equipment isn't confirmed, but air-conditioning, electric front windows and automatic emergency braking are all likely to be standard on entry-level S models. However, mid-range SE should add 15in alloys, electric rear windows and a leather steering wheel as well as superior infotainment and would be our pick. Options such as LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring are all impressive in this class.

So, Volkswagen has succeeded in making the new Polo comfortable, good to drive, quiet on the move and classier to spend time in than all of its rivals. It's a brilliantly strong package, this, and one of the best small cars yet.


What Car? says...

Rated 5 out of 5


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Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95

Price Β£13,500 (est)

Engine 3cyl, 999cc, turbocharged, petrol

Power 94bhp at 5500rpm

Torque 129lb ft at 2000-3500rpm

Gearbox 5-spd manual

0-62mph 10.8sec

Top speed 116mph

Official economy 64.2mpg

CO2, tax band 101g/km, 19%

Release date January 2018


The best small cars on sale today

Volkswagen has done a great job with the new Polo, but what are the best small cars currently on sale. Here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the models that are best avoided.

10. Honda Jazz

The Honda Jazz has long bridged the gap between small cars and mini MPVs, and the latest version continues that tradition. It offers class-leading space and practicality and should outlast you with its outstanding reliability. It's just a shame the ride is rather unsettled.

Our pick: 1.3 i-VTEC SE

Read our full Honda Jazz review

Find a great Honda Jazz deal

Read our used Honda Jazz review


9. Mazda 2

From the outset, the Mazda 2 is more expensive than most of its rivals. In terms of reliability and interior quality, though, the tiny Mazda has its rivals soundly beaten. It's good to drive, well equipped and most of its engine options are frugal - just be aware that you can get a cheaper deal elsewhere.

Our pick: 1.5 90 SE-L

Read our full Mazda 2 review

Find a great Mazda 2 deal

Read our used Mazda 2 review


8. Nissan Note

If practicality is your top priority, then few cars can match the Nissan Note. What this spacious hatchback lacks in engine refinement and classy looks, it makes up for in everyday usability. The rear seats and boot offer the sort of flexibility you'd expect from a family MPV. It's expensive to buy, though, and while all of the available engines are frugal, they're hardly powerful. Mid-range Acentra trim gets you air-con, electric rear windows and alloy wheels.

Our pick: 1.2 DIG-S Acenta

Read our full Nissan Note review

Find a great Nissan Note deal

Read our used Nissan Note review

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