The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The Volkswagen Polo has a generous amount of adjustment for the driver's seat and steering wheel, and the seat provides good all-round support, even if some might find the base a little firm.
Adjustable lumbar support comes as standard on Match and R-Line trims, although oddly not the ones in between (Beats and SEL). Still, you can pay to have it on SEL by adding one of the reasonably priced style packs. If you're going for Match or Beats trim, we'd also recommend adding a front centre armrest, something that the posher trims come with as standard.
All the dashboard buttons are positioned thoughtfully, so even if you’ve never been in a Polo before, you’ll become familiar with the layout in no time.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Unlike the Peugeot 208, the Polo benefits from relatively slender pillars both front and back, as well as tall, wide windows all around. With such an unobstructed view, you’ll find it easy to place the car on the road and see what’s approaching at roundabouts and T-junctions.
Front and rear parking sensors are standard across the range, and you can pay to have a reversing camera for extra reassurance.
All Polos (apart from the GTI+) get halogen headlights as standard, and these light up the road at night reasonably well. The optional LED headlights are much brighter and are worth considering if you find driving in the dark tricky – but they are pricey.
Sat nav and infotainment
Every Polo has an 8.0in touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard, with a built-in sat-nav included on SEL trim and above. If you don’t want to ascend the price list that far, you can just use a sat-nav app on your phone and mirror it onto the Polo's touchscreen using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. These handy smartphone mirroring features are standard on all trims.
The Polo also has one of the best touchscreen systems in the class when it comes to graphics quality, response times and general usability, although being a touchscreen it can still be quite distracting to use on the move. The rotary controller interfaces in the Mazda 2 and the Mini are definitely safer to operate while driving.
You have to pay extra for voice control on all models. Meanwhile, Beats trim comes with an upgraded stereo, which has six speakers and a subwoofer. It sounds punchy but the B&O stereo in the Ford Fiesta is even better.
There's little to grumble about here. You’ll find soft-touch materials across much of the dashboard, and all of the things you touch regularly, such as the leather on the steering wheel and gearlever, feel upmarket. It’s a similar story with the buttons, switches and stalks; they all feel solid and built to last.
Indeed, in some respects, the Polo is classier inside than the pricier A1 – Audi’s ‘premium’ offering. Only certain versions of the Peugeot 208 and Mini go a step better, with their more liberal use of plusher materials lending them that extra touch of luxury.
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