Volkswagen Polo little ‘big motor’ that’s six of best
PUBLISHED: 19:01 20 January 2018 | UPDATED: 19:01 20 January 2018
Volkswagen’s all-new, sixth-generation Polo supermini is big on space and character – a ‘big motor’ of the modern motoring world, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
Forty years, looking for my first car, a colleague told me he liked a “big motor” - in those days they were 10 a penny and just as cheap.
Instead, like so many others, I chose a classic Mini – the first-ever Volkswagen Polo launched a couple of years earlier was not even on my radar. Now it’s a ‘big motor’ with young drivers... and their parents.
Launched in 1975, more than 14 million have been sold worldwide – 10pc in the UK. The UK’s third best-selling supermini, the outgoing version sold 47,855 last year.
Looks and image
Clearly a Polo, this sixth-generation model has the look of a baby Golf about it.
Seen as a safe bet in the class for quality and comfort, the new Polo adds stylish touches such as a new raised 3D ‘tornado line’ along the side and optional dashboard trim panels in 14 colours.
It’s also an increasingly ‘big motor’ for passengers and luggage with the new platform growing interior space, safety features and technology.
Under the bonnet
Cars no longer need ‘big motors’ with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engines as good as Volkswagen’s.
Naturally-aspirated 65 and 75PS, five-speed manual versions are fine for urban driving but turbo 95 and 115PS units, with five and six-speed manual gearboxes and seven-speed automatic, make light work of longer journeys with flexible, low-down pull, perky mid-range performance and punchy when revved with a throaty note.
The 95PS TSI engine, expected to be best seller, has enough oomph for most people, nipping past slower traffic if you drop a gear and cruising at motorway speeds yet returned 55mpg without being eco-minded.
The slick automatic kicks down promptly, especially in sport mode, for swift acceleration and returned 50mpg.
A 200PS 2.0-litre GTi arrives later this year while high-mileage drivers are catered for with 80 and 95PS 1.6-litre turbo diesels.
How it drives
Volkswagen has nailed it here with the Polo riding like a bigger car, soaking up bumps and lumps and unflustered over poor surfaces.
But the suspension is not soft and soggy so the Polo handles nicely with good poise and precision through corners and the flat-bottomed steering wheel adds to the experience.
Space and comfort
The Polo oozes big-car feel for space and quality.
Longer, wider, with the front and back wheels further apart, there’s good legroom for four six-footers to travel in acceptable comfort if those up front aren’t greedy. Despite being lower, there’s more headroom
The boot is 25pc bigger at 351 litres – as good as some hatchbacks in the next class up. It’s deep and flat-sided and all the more practical with a removable two-tier floor. Rear seat backs split 60/40 and lay flush with the floor panel at its highest position.
At the wheel
Sensible white on black big dials are easy to take in at a glance and logical controls and a large eight-inch touchscreen set high up on the fascia easy to use. The fascia has a more co-ordinated look with the air vents moved lower so the instruments and touchscreen are at the same level. In a supermini first, a 10.5in active info display to customise the display is optional for £325 or £475 depending on trim.
Drivers will also appreciate standard features to brake if the they don’t react to a vehicle or pedestrian in front and also recognise if tiredness is affecting their driving. Optional systems alert to vehicles in the blindspot or crossing behind, guide the car into a parking space and adaptive cruise control.
Volkswagen’s Polo just gets better and better and this generation is six of the best. It remains to be seen if it is still the third best-selling supermini in the UK this year.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Volkswagen Polo SE 1.0 95PS £15,930 (range £13,855 to £22,640)
Engine: 999cc, 95PS, three-cylinder turbo petrol with five-speed manual gearbox
Performance: 0-62mph 10.8 seconds; top speed 116mph
MPG: Urban 51.4; extra urban 74.3; combined 64.2
CO2 emissions: 101g/km
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 19pc
Insurance group: (out of 50) 8E
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,053mm; W (including door mirrors) 1,946mm; H 1,461mm