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Used test: Peugeot 208 vs Renault Clio vs Volkswagen Polo verdict

These small yet practical hatchbacks are all much more affordable at two years old, but which is the best buy?...

New Peugeot 208 & Renault Clio vs Volkswagen Polo

Our verdict

It's a fairly close call, yet the Renault Clio ranks third, nonetheless. Its biggest drawback is poor rear seat space, plus it’s relatively noisy. It's the most fun to drive out of our trio, though. 

The Peugeot 208 is the one to buy if you desire comfort and serenity, and it has a lovely, gutsy engine. Then there’s the interior, which is a triumph of style backed up with substance. It’s only so-so for handling, mind you, while the quirky driving position won’t suit everyone. 

This leaves the VW Polo. The Beats version isn’t the best we’ve ever tested; it trades useful equipment for a sound system that’s okay but not brilliant, not to mention that said system takes up a chunk of the boot. That being said, it’s still a consistently good car, with the best blend of ride, handling and refinement, plus greater practicality. It's polished and enjoyable to use everyday, so takes the win. 

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1st – Volkswagen Polo

Used Volkswagen Polo rear

For Nice blend of ride and handling; sweetest gearchange; best driving position; best passenger space
Against Poorly equipped; smallest boot

What Car? rating 5 stars out of 5

Volkswagen Polo review >>

2nd – Peugeot 208

Peugeot 208 2019 rear tracking (LHD)

For Fabulous interior; best ride; strongest engine; decent equipment; very quiet on the move; best fuel economy
Against Poorest infotainment system; weakest safety rating; iffy driving position

What Car? rating 4 stars out of 5

Peugeot 208 review >>

3rd – Renault Clio

Renault Clio rear cornering

For Enjoyable handling; well-controlled ride; best equipped
Against Engine flat spots; noisiest on motorways; smallest rear seats 

What Car? rating 4 stars out of 5

Renault Clio review >>

Specifications: Peugeot 208 Puretech 100 Allure

Engine 3cyl, 1199cc, turbo, petrol
Power 99bhp @ 5500rpm
Torque 151lb ft @ 1750rpm
Gearbox 6-spd manual
0-60mph 10.0sec
Top speed117mph
Fuel economy 53.0mpg (WLTP official)
Test MPG 47.9mpg 
CO2 emissions 97g/km

Specifications: Renault Clio 1.0 TCe 100 RS Line

Engine 3cyl, 999cc, turbo, petrol
Power 99bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 118lb ft @2750rpm 
Gearbox 5-spd manual
0-60mph 11.1sec
Top speed 116mph
Fuel economy 54.3mpg (WLTP official)
Test MPG 45.3mpg
CO2 emissions 99g/km

Specifications: Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 Beats

Engine 3cyl, 999cc, turbo, petrol
Power 94bhp @ 5000-5500rpm
Torque 129lb ft @ 2000-3500rpm
Gearbox 5-spd manual
0-60mph 10.9sec
Top speed 116mph
Fuel economy 49.6mpg (WLTP official)
Test MPG 45.4mpg
CO2 emissions 106g/km