Used Volkswagen Polo (09-18) long-term review

Does buying the last of the previous-generation Volkswagen Polo make more financial sense than a new one, and how does a small 1.0-litre engine cope with a myriad of real-world driving conditions...

Used Volkswagen Polo (09-18) long-term review

Used Volkswagen Polo long-term review
  • The car 2017 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 75 Match Edition
  • Run by Max Adams, used cars reporter
  • Why it’s here To find out if buying the old model makes good sense compared with the latest model
  • Needs to Cope with the daily commute on a mixture of motorway, dual carriageway and town traffic, along with occasional long-distance trips, and prove itself against the latest model

Price when new £15,505 Price on arrival £11,650 Approx value now £11,650 Mileage on arrival 2276 Mileage now 3755 Test fuel economy 52.0mpg Official fuel economy 58.9mpg

Prices based on a standard car with no optional extras


14 March 2018 – old vs new

When a new Volkswagen Polo came into the office, I jumped at the chance to try it. I compared our used Polo with a new Up in the last report, but I was curious to find out what the latest version of my car is like.

To be fair, this isn’t a like-for-like comparison. The new Polo provided to us was the least expensive version, a 64bhp 1.0-litre S model with a base price of £13,855 (£14,695 with a couple of options). The specification was, therefore, some way off our generously appointed Match variant.

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Used Volkswagen Polo long-term review

Volkswagen Polo

The new Polo has grown in size and the benefit of this can be seen on the inside. Rear leg room and boot space are greater than in the previous car – something that might appeal to those with older children but don’t want to make the leap into a Golf-sized car just yet.

Used Volkswagen Polo long-term review

Volkswagen Polo

Our used Polo can feel a little bit cramped in the back. At least you get storage pockets on the back of front seats and there is a adjustable boot floor in our car that eliminates the annoying step from the boot floor when the rear seats are folded down.

Used Volkswagen Polo long-term review

Volkswagen Polo

The design of the dashboard is a little more interesting in the new car and it can be had in a variety of colours. All new Volkswagen Polos get a larger 8.0in infotainment system that looks decidedly more modern and is in keeping with its rivals. However, in order to connect your smartphone to the system in the entry-level model, you need to spend an additional £165 for the privilege.

Used Volkswagen Polo long-term review

Volkswagen Polo

Our Match edition car has this function included and I’ve found it to be easy to use. The smaller 6.5in touchscreen may not look as good, but the physical shortcut buttons are easier to use on the move. What’s more, the handbrake is in the middle of the car, rather than to the left as it is in the new model. I kept reaching down to grab the handbrake in the new Polo, only to find my hand in the cupholder.

Used Volkswagen Polo long-term review

Volkswagen Polo

However, the biggest difference between the two cars is in the way they drive. Both are comfortable and refined, but the new Polo has better damping and soaks up bigger bumps better. The ride in our used Polo is noticeably softer, while the new car feels more planted. The latest car also has lighter steering and is easier to use when parking.

Used Volkswagen Polo long-term review

Volkswagen Polo

That said, the 64bhp non-turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is just too slow. The more powerful 74bhp unit in our used Polo feels much more sprightly in comparison. The gearing has been altered in the new Polo to maximise fuel economy, but the result is a car that can take quite a bit of coaxing to get up to speed.

Used Volkswagen Polo long-term review

Volkswagen Polo

Don’t get me wrong, the new Polo is a worthy successor, but it’s a much more satisfying car in SE specification and when fitted with the 94bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre engine. As it stands, I’m more than happy with our used Polo – particularly the 50-plus mpg figure I’m getting at the moment.

Read our full review of the Volkswagen Polo 1.0-litre S

Find a used Volkswagen Polo in the What Car? Classifieds

Next: more from our used Volkswagen Polo

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