Volkswagen is all about making a change and coming up with fresh faces and new designs. Admittedly, the changes in the Polo aren’t quite as exciting as their plans for the Doubleback. Still, they’re aiming to come back by putting a strong foot forward after last year’s dubious headlines. The Tiguan, the Jetta, the Beetle. They’re all seeing significant changes. The Polo has always been a reliable choice for VW, making the features of the Golf more compact and affordable. How does this year’s hold up?
Out of the different engines you can go for, we suggest looking at the 1.2L TURBO MPFI four-cylinder. That’s if you want something with a reasonable bit of kick and real fuel efficiency. Your options can go down to 1.0L three-cylinder engines, but they lack the go that you need. On the other end of the spectrum, the 1.8L GTI adds plenty of power but messes up the economy of the vehicle in turn.
The feel of the ride itself isn’t always the best. It gets off to a bumpy start. It’s not slow, going from 0-100km/h in 9.3 seconds. At your lower speeds, however, it can be a bit of a bumpy and jittery ride. Particularly in urban settings. With higher speeds, you’ll end up evening out a lot smoother. It’s not exactly a fun car. Steering includes quite a bit of body lean and isn’t the most responsive. However, it is a ‘good’ corner taker. It’s stable and very manoeuvrable, trading fun for real hands-on practicality. Meanwhile, it’s also an easy, calm drive, being a lot quieter inside than you imagine for this normally noisy class of car. The new Volkswagen Polo is for those who value reliability.
Comfort is something they’ve put a bit of thought into, too. Your adjustable steering wheel and seat make it easy to find your sweet spot. That said, it’s not the most immediately ergonomic experience. There’s no adjustable lumbar support, for one. While the solid surface of the seats does make up for that, they’re also stiff on first contact. For longer drives, however, they’re remarkably effective at keeping you in a comfortable position.
As far as tech goes, the most noteworthy feature of the new Polo is the fact they seem to have finally caught up with the infotainment game. You’re looking at a bigger, 6.5 inch screen for one. Even the base edition includes the impressive Composition Media Infotainment system. This system comes with a lot of versatility. However, not as many as some competitors. For one, sat nav rates alongside voice control as one of the more expensive features.
That said, the Polo clearly has its fans for a good reason. It’s an effective, efficient and easy drive. Even if it’s not the most fun. There are still some issues to clear up in terms of infotainment options but they’re off to a strong start by way of actually having some. It faces strong competition from the Honda Jazz and Vauxhall Corsa, but we think that it easily comes toe to toe with them. Still worth considering as a handy little drive.
(The MK1 Polo… A long way from the high standards of 2016, but advanced at the time!)