Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • User-friendly interior layout
  • Lots of colour and technology
  • Easy to use with excellent intelligent design

To say this Polo is a bit different inside compared to the previous one is akin to pointing out Donald Trump has a different style of presidential leadership to Barack Obama. You don’t have to be an expert to spot the obvious. Depending on how you spec it, the Mk6 Polo offers a riot of interior colour potential, with no less than eight options for the ‘dash pad’ area – the strip that crosses the dashboard – alongside a choice of complementary trim finishes and seat fabrics. However if you do still want something a little more restrained, you can keep things toned down.

High-tech with solid ergonomics

But this is more than just a style thing. VW has consciously moved the media system onto the same level as the instrument cluster – so the driver doesn’t have to look so far away from the road to view it. This could have been done relatively easily by fitting a standalone, tablet-mimicking screen, as most rivals have done. Instead VW has chosen to fully integrate the touchscreen into the dashboard to give the finished product a far more cohesive and intentionally future-gazing look.

UK models also get the full 8.0-inch device as standard rather than the smaller 6.5-inch version offered in some markets. Also available as an option on the Mk6 Polo is VW’s second-generation Active Info Display – a fully digital instrument cluster that replaces the conventional dials.

This offers more viewing modes and customisation than before, and works very well. But frankly there’s little wrong with the analogue alternative, which features a particularly clear layout, and the Active Info Display - similar to Audi's Virtual Cockpit - is an option we’d probably ignore.

Everything works very well

Returning to the touchscreen infotainment system, it’s worth noting that we found this particularly intuitive to use – with a more attractive interface design than that of the SEAT Ibiza (which uses essentially similar hardware). Better yet, VW hasn’t made the mistake of putting all the Polo’s secondary controls into this media system – there are still dials for the air-conditioning, for example, which is now standard on all models.

From the driver’s perspective, it’s also good to see a wide range of adjustment in the seating position and the steering column. You shouldn’t have much difficulty making yourself comfy behind the Polo’s steering wheel.

Interior quality

Material quality is good, but not what we’d describe as outstanding versus other superminis – you don’t have to look too hard to find cheaper plastics. That said, everything you regularly touch inside the Polo are likely to feel very premium, and the variety of colours and finishes available inside remain central to this VW’s overall appeal.

Is it comfortable?

  • Good ride comfort for a supermini
  • Sport Select option well worth considering
  • Refinement not as impressive as hoped

With most buyers opting for a three-cylinder engine – a configuration that’s naturally unbalanced and potentially noisy – you’d expect VW to have prioritised the Polo’s refinement.

To this end we were a little disappointed at the slightly irritating tone to the engine note at speed, and were surprised to detect the occasional vibration in the cabin. While this is no worse than supermini rivals, we continue to expect VW to do better, and that’s not overwhelmingly the case here.

For a small car, the Polo’s ride comfort is generally positive, but the move to a new platform has enabled VW to offer much larger wheel sizes – up to 18 inches – and you should prepare for the occasional shock and thump if you’re seduced by the visual appeal of these bigger rims.

That's the case with almost any car, but it's just a little surprising in something like the Polo where you expect it to be just that little more composed. Also, the Fiesta is available with larger alloy wheels and manages to avoid any crashiness.

It's all the more noticeable at motorway speeds as it never really settles or smooths out. The stiff rear axle could potentially be the problem here, but it causes the cabin to buzz along and vibrate a lot, picking up ridges more than we were expecting.

At least the Polo betters the closely-related SEAT Ibiza, with less wind noise and vibration from the three-cylinder engine, sending just a little road rumble into the cabin. The seats are also better than the Ibiza FR ones, being more contoured and firmer, with decent side bolstering.