Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3

Should you buy a Volkswagen Polo?

Suffice to say the Volkswagen Polo is a small car with a big personality. Spacious and easy to handle, it gives drivers confidence and offers passengers room, while dazzling with a vibrant range of colours inside and out. Typically one of the more expensive supermini choices, good levels of standard equipment ensure you still get value for money.

It is not as fun to drive as the Ford Fiesta, and you’re best opting for smaller wheels if you want the most comfortable ride. But the interior is close to setting new standards for this class for the equipment available and the ease of use, plus that technology it brings is very intelligently implemented.

It's not all perfect though. If you don't fancy the vivid colour options, it can actually look quite plain in some specifications and, while the interior is solid, the quality lags behind in this model, even compared with the older generation of car. The top of the dashboard and the door cards all feature hard plastics that don't feel very Volkswagen, meaning there's less to differentiate it from the cheaper SEAT Ibiza than you might expect. 

The Polo continues to offer a satisfying amount of feel-good factor, but it's best to avoid the expensive, high-spec versions to feel like you get what you pay for.

We'd stay away from the 1.0-litre 80hp petrol engine if you can, as it makes the Polo quite frustrating to live with if you venture out of town on a daily basis.

Most Polo buyers will opt for the 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engines – and the 95hp version accounts for around 75% of all Polo sales. Three-quarters of the Polo’s customers surely can’t be wrong? And they’re not. This engine, though not overwhelmingly refined, has all the performance most people will ever need, delivered with reasonable fuel economy and agreeable levels of emissions. It would have been nice if VW had stumped up for a six-speed gearbox instead of the basic five-speed, but that probably keeps the purchase cost down and you can always opt for the seven-speed DSG if you want to improve on it. A solid choice.

The 115hp 1.0-litre TSI certainly packs extra punch and a six-speed gearbox, making it a much more user-friendly all-rounder. This is where we'd spend our money, especially if you regularly make longer journeys - that sixth gear makes all the difference when cruising on the motorway.

Or go the whole hog and go for the Polo GTI, but it's nowhere near as engaging to drive as a Ford Fiesta ST or a MINI Hatch Cooper S. Unfortunately, those looking for more zest without going all-out with the GTI will have to search for a used example of the 1.5-litre TSI Evo petrol motor.

Spec choice: Should I get the Beats?

As tempting as it may be to opt for the Polo beats, it may not live up to expectations. It combines the Polo's merits of having a well-built cabin with eye-catching red highlights on the dash, doors and seats, but the beats audio sound system is unconvincing. In theory, combining the looks with an upgraded stereo over engine performance is ideal for first-time buyers, but it's costly and while the sound system provides a little more bass, it sounds maxed out for the majority of the time.

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