What's the used Volkswagen Polo hatchback like?
What’s so clever about the Volkswagen Polo is that it shares many of the attributes that buyers love about its larger sibling, the Golf. The Polo, therefore, appeals to those looking for something classier and more grown-up but still need the low insurance and running costs of a small vehicle.
As long as you avoid the 59bhp 1.2-litre petrol, the Polo is one of the best small cars for tackling big trips. This was later replaced by a 1.0-litre engine with 59bhp or 74bhp in a 2014 facelift. The 74bhp version is okay for town work but runs out of puff on the motorway. There was also a bigger 1.4-litre unit in the original line-up that's much happier, but it’s the 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre turbo petrol engines from 2014 onwards that make the most sense because they’re smooth and quiet, but also efficient. The diesel engines, particularly the Bluemotion models, are great if you do lots of miles since they return fantastic fuel economy figures.
Thanks to its composed ride, excellent visibility and light controls, the Polo is an easy car to drive in town. Keen drivers, however, will still be better off with the Fiesta, which is more composed in bends and has sharper steering.
Three- and five-door versions are in plentiful supply, each offering more room for passengers than in the equivalent Fiesta. The boot is a decent size, although Bluemotion models do without split-folding rear seats. Notable accolades for this generation of Polo include being voted European Car the Year in 2010 and scoring top marks in Euro NCAP’s crash tests, with all models being fitted with electronic stability control as standard.
The Polo comes in a number of flavours: S, S A/C, SE, Bluemotion, GT and GTI. We'd avoid S models because their kit list is very basic, but SE comes with 15in alloy wheels, air-con, electric door mirrors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Revised 2014 cars in SE spec and above received a 6.5in colour touchscreen infotainment system. With the optional Car-Net, you can connect your smartphone via a USB connection for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto or MirrorLink. Match came in later to replace SE and added cruise control, rear parking sensors and front foglights. Match Edition became available in Polos from 2017 onwards and added the Convenience Pack that included automatic lights, auto dimming rear-view mirror, auto wipers, electric folding mirrors and Car-Net as standard.