What's the used Volkswagen Polo hatchback like?
The used small car class is brimming with choices, all vying for your hard-earned. There's the fun-to-drive Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza; the great-value Vauxhall Corsa and Skoda Fabia, and the Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio with their long warranty cover. However, none of them can match the class of the Volkswagen Polo, which in this latest form is even more spacious inside and brimming with tech.
The engine range starts with a non-turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit with 64bhp, 74bhp, or later 79bhp. There's also a turbocharged version of that engine that increases power to 94bhp or 114bhp in higher-specification Polos. Meanwhile, there’s a 197bhp 2.0-litre unit in the Polo GTI hot hatch, as well as a 1.6-litre diesel with 79bhp or 94bhp.
Every the entry-level Polo S comes with air-conditioning, automatic emergency braking, electric front windows and an 8.0in colour touchscreen. If you upgrade to SE trim, you get 15in alloy wheels, electric rear windows, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to connect your smartphone to the car’s infotainment system. Beats edition includes some styling upgrades and a 300W stereo, while SEL has front and rear parking sensors, sat-nav and auto wipers. If you want a sportier-looking Polo, R-line has bespoke bumpers and side skirts, along with sports seats inside. Then there is the GTI, which should appeal to those who want a rapid little sports car.
From 2020 both S and SE were replaced with Match which basically gets you everything SE had but adds front and rear parking sensors and tinted rear windows. A United trim also entered the range; it sits below SEL and comes with niceties such as cruise control, heated front seats, sat-nav, and auto dimming rear view mirror and auto wipers.
To drive, the Polo falls on the side of safety and comfort rather than entertainment. If you're looking for fun, go for an Ibiza or a Fiesta. But the Polo is tidy enough; steering is light and precise, body control is good and the ride is nice and smooth – even on 17in wheels. Where this car score big time is for long distance driving with remarkably low wind and road noise at motorway speeds.
People in the front won't have much cause for complaint when it comes to space, thanks to generous leg, head and shoulder room. In fact, it puts you more in mind of the space offered by family cars from just a few years ago. There are also plenty of places to store oddments in the glove box, centre console and large door bins. Interior quality is good and everything feels and looks like it’s a step above the rest.
Rear leg room and boot space have been improved significantly over the previous Polo and the new car easily trounces the Ford Fiesta for interior room. It’s worth remembering that SE cars and above come with the highly useful variable-level boot floor that removes the annoying load lip, unlike the entry-level S model.
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