Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

From the driver’s point of view, the interior is classic Volkswagen. The plastics are of a high quality and the controls and switches look robust. The driver’s seat can be adjusted in a variety of ways and the height and reach adjustable steering means you can find a perfect driving position regardless of your height. The instruments are clear and a central LCD display gives an at-a-glance view of mpg, outside temperature and average speed.

Visibility is excellent, which makes city driving a breeze. There-point turns and parking manoeuvres can be carried out with ease.

You don’t need to be a MENSA member to find your way around the controls. The Polo dashboard designers don’t bother with extra frippery that’ll confuse the driver, and although the whole layout is a little bland, you won’t mistake the volume control for the radio tuner. Everything screams ‘sensible’. The paddle-shifters located under the steering wheel mean that your hands never have to come off the steering wheel when on the move, but since changing gear on a bend is ill-advised, it’s hardly something to boast about.

We prefer fixed paddleshifters, by the way. The seats are comfortable but they are not as well bolstered as they could be and lack the lateral support you need when driving around a bend at speed. However, the cabin is an oasis of calm because the engineers have kept road roar and wind noise to a minimum. The downside is the low burble from the exhaust – a racier sound would have helped to give the Polo its true GTI identity, but we can’t complain about the ride: it’s comfortable even though our test car was on 17-inch wheels and it only felt a little compromised on rough roads with adverse camber.