Volkswagen Polo Hatchback (09 on) - Review

Review by Dan Harrison on
Last Updated: 08 Apr 2014
4.5
This Volkswagen Polo is arguably the most upmarket small car that you can buy. It's refined, stylish and - depending on which engine you choose - can be incredibly frugal or delightfully quick.

Volkswagen Polo Hatchback (09 on)
  • Roomy interior
  • Low running costs
  • Beautifully built
  • Good choice of engines
  • Quiet on the motorway
  • Frugal Bluemotion version
  • Not as exciting to drive as a Ford Fiesta

New price range:

£10,770 - £20,350

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Used price range:

£4,566 - £16,261

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Summary

Parkers Rating:

4.5 out of 5

This Volkswagen Polo is arguably the most upmarket small car that you can buy. It's refined, stylish and - depending on which engine you choose - can be incredibly frugal or delightfully quick.

Much of the look and layout inside echoes that of the Volkswagen Golf - a high quality car itself. It works so well that many buyers should consider whether they need the extra space of a Golf when this 3/4 scale replica does a very similar job just as well.

Quiet and refined

One of the Polo’s strengths when on the move is its lack of wind and road noise. It's great on the motorway where it feels as quiet and refined as a larger car, while the light steering and good visibility make it ideal for driving in town.

There’s a decent amount of space inside, with plenty of head and leg room for four adults or two adults and three children.

It’s not the most exciting place in the world to sit – the dashboard design is the usual unadorned, no-nonsense fare you’d expect from Volkswagen – but it has a high-quality feel and is well laid out.

Digital radio as standard

A built-in sat-nav system is available as an option and DAB radio is standard across the Polo range from the 2013 model year onwards in preparation for the planned digital radio switchover.

Although the Polo is a little on the pricey side to buy brand new, it claws some of the initial outlay back on resale values which are strong.

It was one of the first small cars to achieve a five star rating from the Euro NCAP safety body on its launch in 2009, with a 90% score for adult occupant protection.

Super-frugal Bluemotion version

There’s an expansive range of engines available. The petrol line-up starts with a 1.2-litre unit available in a range of power outputs, and extends to a turbocharged 1.4-litre TSI engine with 140bhp. Diesel choices range from 1.2 to 1.6 litres in capacity and offer respectable economy figures.

A Bluemotion version is available which is free to tax and can average an incredible 81mpg from its 1.2-litre diesel engine. In 2012 Volkswagen added the Polo Blue GT to its range, which features a 1.4-litre petrol engine with cylinder shutdown technology to save fuel and achieve a claimed 61mpg average.

Facelift in 2014

In early 2014 a facelift was announced for the Polo. The main tweaks are under the skin, where a completely revised set of engines are installed – including a petrol BlueMotion TSI 1.0-litre emitting 94g/km – and adaptive suspension.

There’s also a new range of multimedia systems, which in the future will be fitted with MirrorLink to allow the touchscreen to mimic the applications installed on your smartphone.

Subtle interior and interior tweaks are aimed at VW’s idea of evolution, not revolution. This means a familiar face if you’ve ever seen a Golf or indeed a Polo from 2009 onwards.

We’re expecting first deliveries to begin in July 2014, with order books opening in April. Prices and full specifications are still to be announced, but Parkers will be among the first to drive the new car so keep an eye out for an updated Volkswagen Polo review and full road test coming soon.

Parkers Ratings

Overall

4.5 out of 5

Performance

4 out of 5

Handling

4 out of 5

Comfort

4 out of 5

Practicality

4 out of 5

Behind the wheel

4.5 out of 5

Safety

4.5 out of 5

Reliability

4.5 out of 5

Running costs

4 out of 5

Green credentials

5 out of 5

Buying new

4 out of 5

Buying used

4 out of 5

Selling

4 out of 5

Equipment

3.5 out of 5

What owners say...

 Having 5 doors, 5 seats and a decent sized boot. Has less rear headroom than our previous up! but more legroom.  

5 out of 5

Jeremy Green ,   23 Dec 2013    ... read more

 The fuel economy, I achieved 60mpg on the trip computer on motorway run at 75mph with the AC on.  

4 out of 5

James Knight ,   30 Oct 2013    ... read more

 Low running costs in regard to Road Tax and Insurance.  

4 out of 5

Christopher Reason ,   29 Sep 2013    ... read more

See all Owners' Reviews

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