If you're in the market for a small car but also want it to feel posh inside, then chances are that the Volkswagen Polo is well known to you. While rivals such as the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Skoda Fabia major on offering buyers practical motoring at a low price, the Polo is all about making you feel that you're driving something from the class above.
It's been a successful formula, too, and the current Polo holds a four-star rating on our road test – despite having been on sale in its current form since 2009. In intervening years, though, rivals have become more spacious and offer more technology, which is why Volkswagen has responded with this all-new Polo.
What's new on the Volkswagen Polo?
This sixth-generation car is the largest Polo yet, and it's grown in every sense over its predecessor. There's also more space between its front and rear axles, meaning more room inside for people and luggage. Indeed, the boot has 351 litres of space, which far outstrips all of its key rivals. A couple of suitcases or a large load of shopping shouldn't pose any trouble, then.
Sporting styling similar to the larger Volkswagen Golf family hatchback, the new Polo will be available only as a five-door model – the three-door version has been axed.
While the car's exterior looks have evolved only slightly, inside it's a different story: the Polo's new features include an optional Active Info Display, which replaces the car's conventional analogue dials with a digital screen. This puts key information, plus media and connectivity options, directly in front of the driver. Drivers can also connect their smartphones to the car's infotainment touchscreen using Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or MirrorLink.. The screen ranges in size from 6.5in to 8.0in depending on specification.
What engines will power the new Volkswagen Polo?
Buyers will have a comprehensive range of engines to choose from in the UK, consisting of four petrol and two diesel engines:
- 1.0-litre petrol available in either 64bhp or 74bhp forms, both with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard
- 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol with 94bhp, with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard (7-speed automatic optional)
- 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol with 113bhp, with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard (7-speed automatic optional)
- 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol with 148bhp, with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard (7-speed automatic optional)
- 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol with 197bhp, with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard (7-speed automatic optional)
- 1.6-litre diesel with 79bhp, with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard
- 1.6-litre diesel with 94bhp, with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard (7-speed automatic optional)
Despite the larger Golf being available both as a plug-in hybrid and as a pure electric vehicle, Volkswagen doesn't have any plans to offer those powertrains in the Polo. However, a mild-hybrid version of the Polo – where a small electric motor is used to provide boost away from junctions – is on the cards.
While we recommend a 1.2-litre petrol in the current Polo, it isn't being offered in this new model so the new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrols are likely to be among the best-sellers, given the fact that most Polos will be confined mainly to city streets.
What equipment does the new Volkswagen Polo come with?
Buyers can choose from five trim levels, dubbed Trendline, Comfortline, Highline, a 'Beats' special edition and the range-topping Polo GTI.
Entry-level Trendline cars come with LED daytime running lights, a speed limited, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and 14in alloy wheels. Comfortline cars receive a 6.5in colour infotainment screen, air conditioning, a driver attention monitor, centre armrest, velvet seat covers, all-round electric windows and a multi-function steering wheel, as well as larger 15in alloys.
Highline cars get additional equipment including parking sensors, LED ambient lighting and part-leather trim.
The Beats special edition, meanwhile, is aimed specifically at younger buyers and comes with an upgraded stereo as well as 16in alloy wheels and sports seats. The Polo GTi gets sporty front and rear bumpers, plus 17in alloy wheels and GTi badging.
Buyers will also be able to choose from 14 paint colours, and 13 interior colours. The new car's expanded options list includes LED headlights, wireless charging for mobile phones, a panoramic roof and active dampers. Optional convenience features include adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection and an autonomous parking system.
How much will the new Volkswagen Polo cost?
Order books for this Polo are expected to open in October, with the first cars reaching customers in January 2018. While Volkswagen hasn't released official prices yet, we'd expect a small increase over today's car, which starts from £11,970.
Even with a starting price of around £12,300, the Polo will still be competitive against the new Ford Fiesta, which will cost you £12,715, and the five-door Vauxhall Corsa which is priced from £12,960. The Skoda Fabia – which is currently our Small Car of the Year – will still cost you less, though.
That said, Volkswagen has the chance to entice potential buyers by offering cheap PCP deals and finance offers. The current Polo is available from around £140 per month on a three-year deal, and VW won't want to put that price up too much.
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