Volkswagen Polo 2020 - A grown-up supermini

The Volkswagen Polo is the baby brother of the hugely successful and iconic VW Golf, and now the Polo is rapidly growing up. The new Polo is more significant than ever before with its wheelbase growing over 9cm, giving passengers some much needed extra legroom inside. The Polo features the latest tech and has an updated, modern and chic dashboard and interior.

The Polo began production some 45 years ago, back in 1975, and has gone from strength to strength ever since. It has become one of the best selling cars of any type in the UK. The latest Polo is the largest and most spacious ever built, using the latest VW Group MQB AO Platform. The Polo is in one of the most highly competitive car markets, with rivals like the Vauxhall Corsa, Mini Hatchback and the best-selling Ford Fiesta. Volkswagen has thrown everything behind the new Polo, and it's proving to be a big hit with UK buyers.

Volkswagen-Polo-sideview

Volkswagen has developed several economic and efficient engines and seven trim levels to choose from, so there should be a Polo to suit almost anyone. The seven trim levels are; S, Match, Beats, R-Line, SEL, GTI and GTI Plus, each one has an impressive amount of kit as standard. Due to the drop in sales of three-door models, Volkswagen has decided to make the Polo a five-door only car. This works much better as it is now more practical, especially when climbing into the rear.

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Engines, Power and Performance

There are five engines, four petrol and a single diesel offering but no hybrid or electric variations to date. The sole diesel is a 1.6-litre engine developing 95hp and 250Nm and is mated to a five-speed manual transmission and will hit 0-62mph in 11.2secs.

The entry-level petrol is a 1-litre naturally aspirated engine generating 80hp and 93Nm of torque, mated to a five-speed manual transmission and will take an uninspiring 15.4secs to get from 0-62mph.

Volkswagen-Polo-engine

There is then a 1-litre turbocharged petrol engine (TSI) with two different power outputs, 95hp or 115hp. The 95hp engine creates 175Nm of torque, whilst the 115hp creates 200Nm of torque with the 0-62mph times coming in at 10.8secs and 9.5 secs respectively. The 95 TSI can be mated to a five-speed manual or seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. The 115 TSI can be paired with a six-speed manual or the same seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.

The final petrol engine is a 2-litre turbocharged (TSI) unit developing 200hp and 320Nm of torque, which is capable of racing from 0-62mph in just 6.7secs and is mated to a six-speed DSG Automatic transmission.

The ride in the new Polo is as impressive as you will find in any of its competitors and guarantees you a smooth and pleasant journey. This is even with all the potholes found on the British roads the Polo maintains a stable poise. The handling and fun driving characteristics of the new Polo have certainly improved over the outgoing model, but still not quite up to the high standards set by the Ford Fiesta.

Interior, Quality and Technology

Volkswagen has worked hard to develop the interior of the new Polo, giving it a modern, chic appearance with various trim colour options to take away the dull black interiors of old. Each Polo comes with a superb 8-inch colour touchscreen where the infotainment system is accessed, which is crisp, crystal clear and responsive.

Volkswagen-Polo-interior

Standard features across the Polo range includes; Bluetooth connectivity, DAB Radio and air conditioning. Opt for any trim above the S, and you get Car-Net "App Connect" which allows smartphones to be connected with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. SEL trim and above benefit from Volkswagens in-built sat-nav system and parking sensors front and rear.

There are various optional packs available which allow the Polo to be customised to suit your requirements. The new GTI Plus trim gets the new 2nd generation, fully digital driver instrument display cluster which VW call 'Active Info Display'. This can be added as an optional extra. Although it's not necessary, as the analogue dials work fine, it does enhance the overall appearance of the Polo's dashboard and something which I think would be worth investing in.

Volkswagen-Polo-touchscreen

The build quality is excellent with a premium fit and finish, combined with added soft-touch plastics and other high-end materials, a vast improvement over the outgoing model. The Polo has been given an interior in line with the Volkswagen Golf and adds to its overall appeal.

Space, Practicality and Safety

The new Polo is the largest to date and is only marginally smaller than its big brother the VW Golf. The Polo has an extended wheelbase, which in turn has increased the amount of space, especially legroom. Upfront there is an impressive amount of space afforded to the driver and passenger, with plenty of headroom and legroom to satisfy those over 6ft tall. The seats and steering wheel have a good range of adjustment.

In the rear, again there is a generous amount of space able to fit a couple of tall adults with legroom and headroom leading the way in the supermini car class. There are various storage compartments throughout the cabin including a decent-sized glovebox, door pockets front and rear and small wallets on the back of the front seats to put your magazine or newspaper in.

Volkswagen-Polo-bootspace

The boot is just over 25% bigger than the outgoing model with an improved capacity of 351-litres, which trumps the 292-litres of the Ford Fiesta. Once you fold the rear seats down capacity rises to 1125-litres.

The Polo scored a top 5-star rating at the Euro NCAP safety tests, thanks to an array of safety assists as standard as well as optional. Every Polo comes equipped with a Driver Alert System, Pedestrian Monitoring and Forward Collision Warning with front assist and autonomous emergency braking. There are several optional safety extras available such as blindspot monitoring and Pre-Crash preventative occupant protection.

The Volkswagen Polo is a superb supermini and one which should be considered if you are looking to purchase your next small or city car.

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Stuart Porro

Stuart is a nationally and internationally recognised automotive content creator. Reviewing cars for some of the biggest names in the four wheeled world, you can catch him right here on Yoauto.
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