What's the used Volkswagen Polo hatchback like?
There’s a lot expected of small cars these days. For many, they need to be able to do the school run, the commute to work, a trip to the shops and deal with the odd motorway journey as well.
With that list of demands, no wonder the Volkswagen Polo has grown in size over the last version, but it still remains one of the quietest cars in its class and the one you’d most want to tackle a long road trip in.
The small car class is brimming with alternatives that are all vying for your hard-earned. There's the fun-to-drive Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza, the value of the Vauxhall Corsa and Skoda Fabia, and the long warranty cover of the Hyundai i20
The engine range starts with a slow non-turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit with 64bhp or 74bhp. 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 hot hatch Polo GTI, as well as a 1.6-litre diesel with 79bhp.
Every Polo comes with air-con, automatic emergency braking, electric front windows and an 8.0in colour touchscreen. However, if you upgrade to SE trim, you get 15in alloy wheels, electric rear windows, a leather-covered steering wheel and the full suite of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink 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.
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. Interior quality is good and everything feels and looks like it’s a step above the rest.
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.