Volkswagen Polo review: impressions, prices and specifications

Hatchbacks used to be the default choice for city drivers, but compact SUVs have made a huge impact in the market.

Volkswagen Polo is one of the few options left for buyers.

the value

The days of hatchbacks under $20,000 are long gone.

Volkswagen’s new Polo entry price is around $29,400 for the manual 70 TSI Life variant, while the 85 TSI Style test car will set buyers back more than $35,000. That’s a big part of the change and it’s bigger than many hatchbacks and full-size SUVs.

Our test car had 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, and LED-lit grille strip.

It’s aimed at younger drivers, so connectivity is front and center.

An 8-inch touchscreen, all-digital display with clear, high-resolution readouts is standard, as well as Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, multiple USB-C charging points, and a wireless device charger. The $1,900 Audio and Technology Package adds connectivity to your Beats stereo and wireless smartphone, among other items.

Volkswagen backs its cars with an industry standard five-year/unlimited-kilometer warranty and the set-price service will cost $2,200 over five years.

comfort

Despite its small size, the Polo has plenty of room for drivers with long limbs.

The manually adjustable cloth-wrapped seats are firm but supportive, and the movable steering wheel makes it easy to find the right driving position.

The cabin is a mixture of durable plastic surfaces and premium glossy inserts. There are easy-to-use climate controls in the center console and basic functions can be managed with buttons on the steering wheel.

Legroom in the back seat is above average for its class and there are two USB-C charging points. Disappointingly at this price point, there are no rear a/c vents.

The Polo has a stern suspension that can crash over big bumps but does a decent job managing pothole-strewn city streets. It’s quiet, too, which keeps most outside noise at bay.

safety

The Style class comes with seven airbags, including a center airbag, to prevent head impacts during an accident.

Polo will brake automatically if it detects a potential collision with a vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist.

A set of sensors will warn you if the vehicle is in a blind spot and sound an alarm if the vehicle is approaching from the side while reversing.

Radar cruise control and lane-keeping assist make driving on the highway a breeze.

Leadership

The 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine proves that good things come in small packages.

It only produces 85 kW of power but ample torque delivered early in the rev range means plenty of oomph off the mark.

VW has continued to use a seven-speed dual-clutch car that can feel a bit of a vibration at lower speeds and can hesitate on takeoff.

Once up to speed, it becomes difficult to drive thanks to the quick, precise steering and excellent body control through corners.

It feels nimble in traffic and stable on the open road. Its small size means it is adept at handling tight parking lots and inner city streets.

Volkswagen claims that it will drink 5.4 liters / 100 km of the more expensive premium unleaded gasoline, and it will be close to that figure in the real world.

alternatives

Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo, $37,990 drive-by

A slot that shares its pillars with the Polo, but with a bigger engine and a bigger price tag.

Toyota Yaris ZR Hybrid, from about $36,000 with drive

Smaller on the inside, but benefits from impressive fuel economy and low-cost service.

Mazda2 GT has a car price of about $30,100

He was once a class leader who now felt very small on the inside and weak in strength. Packed with a safety kit, though, and much cheaper.

judgment

Three and a half stars

The price will scare away buyers, but it’s a neat little hatchback with some great technical features and a straightforward driving experience.

vital elements

price About $35,500 by car

engine 1.0 liter three-cylinder turbo petrol, 85 kW and 200 Nm

Warranty / Service Five years/unlimited km, $2,200 over five years

safety Seven airbags, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, radar cruise control and driver fatigue detection.

Third 5.4 liters per 100 km

additional temporary

Luggage 351 liters

Originally published as Volkswagen Polo: Not cheap, but stylish

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