Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Volkswagen Polo costs a little more to buy than the Renault Clio and quite a lot more than the Skoda Fabia. However, it is predicted to hold onto its value well and, when it comes to monthly PCP finance payments, you'll actually pay less than you would for some of those rivals.
GTI versions aside, you’ll enjoy reasonable running costs as well. For a pure petrol, fuel economy is surprisingly good, although the Polo isn't as frugal as the hybrid Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris, and emits more CO2 as well.
Equipment, options and extras
We’d go for entry-level Match trim, which gets a reasonable amount of kit as standard, including alloys, air-conditioning and dusk-sensing headlights. You probably want to add the Light & Sight pack to get rain-sensing windscreen wipers, and climate control is another option worth considering.
Beats trim is really just about the better stereo, so if you love your creature comforts then SEL is the one for you; it piles on the equipment with larger alloys, dual-zone climate control and rain-sensing windscreen wipers. R-Line is too pricey to recommend, and mostly just adds styling fripperies.
If you're interested in the GTI versions, head over to our separate review by clicking the link.
The Polo was rated merely average for reliability in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, outperforming the Ford Fiesta but proving considerably less dependable than the Skoda Fabia and Mini.
You get a three-year/60,000-mile warranty as standard, as well as the option of extending the warranty to four or five years for a reasonable price. That's average for this class, but if you want something longer, Hyundai and Renault offer five-year warranties and Kia a class-leading seven years.
Safety and security
The Polo was awarded five stars (out of five) for safety by Euro NCAP, although it's worth noting that result was from back in 2017 when the standards were more stringent that they are today. One note of concern was a reasonable likelihood of whiplash for a child sitting in the back.
All Polos come with automatic emergency braking (AEB) as standard, a system that can stop the car at low speeds without you pressing the brake pedal if it thinks you're about to run into another vehicle. Or, indeed, a pedestrian.
You have to pay extra for lane-departure warning, though, something that many rivals have fitted as standard. It comes in a pack that also includes blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, which intervenes if you’re about to reverse out into the path of another car. As for security, an engine immobiliser and remote locking come as standard.
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