Volkswagen Polo (2009 – 2017) Review

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Volkswagen Polo (2009 – 2017) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Polo is also available in three- and five-door body styles, with the latter the more common and desirable as it makes the VW one of the most practical superminis of this period.

+Neatly styled and easy to drive. Room for five. Most come with full size spare. High quality interior. Double folding rear seats give flat load area. Frugal 1.2 TDI BlueMotion.

-Lacks the sparkle of other small hatches. Timing chain problems of 2009-2013 EA111 1.2 TSI increasingly common.

Insurance Groups are between 4–23
On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure

The Volkswagen Polo is a car that’s very hard to argue against. In this fifth-generation version, it’s lighter and more efficient than its predecessor, deliver a safe, undemanding drive and offers up plenty of cabin space when compared to most of its rivals.

There’s a good choice of engines and the option of an automatic gearbox, while the handling is safe and secure, even if it won’t inspire you in the way a Ford Fiesta will on a twisty road. More relevant to most Polo drivers will be the feeling of being in a car that is solidly built and decently equipped if you sidestep the entry-level models and go for SE trim or above.


Looking for a Volkswagen Polo (2009 - 2017)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Small cars don't have to be exciting to be successful as the Polo proves. It's been going since 1975 and has carved out a reputation as a well built and sensible small hatchback. There's certainly nothing wrong with that and more than 10 million people worldwide seem to agree as they've bought one. The latest version - which is now the fifth generation model - follows that trend. It's not radical or groundbreaking but it is attractive, well engineered and easy to live with.

This Polo is slightly bigger than the 2005-2009 model but actually weighs less which helps economy. And in terms of styling it's far more in line with its larger relation the Golf, than was the case with the previous model.

That's especially true at the front where it's easy to mistake the two from a quick glance. It's a huge improvement inside too with a far more appealing layout and a better impressions of quality. It's also roomier, especially noticeable in terms of elbow room for those in the front.

The standard Polo was available with a wide choice of engines. Most people choose the standard 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine which comes with either 60PS or 70PS. In 2014 the Polo was facelifted and this engine was replaced by a 1.0-litre from the Volkswagen Up. It's just as powerful with 60PS or 75PS versions, yet is more economical.

A Polo is an accomplished small car. It may not be as good to drive as a Ford Fiesta or as versatile as a Honda Jazz, but it remains a great all-rounder that's well built and thanks to the Volkswagen badge, holds its value well too. It was voted European Car of the Year in 2010.

Ask Honest John

Can you recommend the best car on a small budget?
"I have a very old, much loved Citroen Saxo that I’m looking to change. I only have £4k to spend but dislike tiny cars, what would you recommend please?"
Something like a Skoda Citigo might be a good bet - it's still a small car, but not as 'tiny' as your Saxo. If that's too small, check out the Skoda Fabia, Volkswagen Polo or Honda Jazz - all of which can be picked up for £4k.
Answered by Keith Moody
Is the Volkswagen Polo a good first car?
"I'm 17 years old and am looking for a car to buy once I've passed my driving test. I have researched a bit and found that all-in-all, a Volkswagen Polo from around 2010 may be the perfect car for me. However, I'm unsure how reliable they are and what I should pay. Do you know if a Volkswagen Polo is a good first car? "
The 2010 Volkswagen Polo wouldn't be my recommendation as a first car. It has a patchy reliability history and isn't as good to drive as some of its rivals. I think you'd be better with the Ford Fiesta 1.25 petrol or Suzuki Swift 1.2 petrol. Both engines have a strong reputation for reliability and both cars are better to drive than this version of the Polo.
Answered by Dan Powell
Why is my fuel gauge showing as full all the time?
"I have 2011 Volkswagen Polo. The fuel gauge is showing full all the time. What's wrong?"
Reads like a problem with the fuel tank float sender.
Answered by Dan Powell
What should I replace my old VW Polo with?
"What do you think of the 2016 Volkswagen Polo Match? I'm looking to replace my 16 year old Polo."
The Polo of that generation isn't a bad car but isn't as spacious as some alternatives. The Match is pretty low specification, too. We'd recommend a Hyundai i20 of that age.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Volkswagen Polo (2009 – 2017) cost?

Buy new from £14,184 (list price from £17,400)