Volkswagen Polo Review 2023
Volkswagen Polo At A Glance
Insurance Group 8
On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure
The Volkswagen Polo has been a staple in the small car sector for decades, and still remains right at the top of the tree. This sixth-generation car is five years old now, and while a recent mid-life update hasn't exactly transformed it, it has freshened it up just enough. Excitement isn't the order of the day here, but as our review shows the VW Polo just does everything really well and with minimal fuss.
Downsizing is the flavour of the month. Fuel prices are rising, space on the road is decreasing and cars are getting bulkier and more refined than ever. So do you really need anything bigger than the Volkswagen Polo?
The latest, MK6 Polo is basically where the VW Golf was 20 years ago in terms of space and on-road refinement, despite being smaller on the outside. In fact we had passengers who thought it was the latest Golf when climbing inside - it really could serve as a small family car, with a surprisingly big boot too.
Of course, the VW Polo is much more efficient, agile, high-tech and safe than a two decade-old Golf. In fact its one of the safest cars in its class and, in top trims particularly, is packed full of big-car kit. The 2021 facelift has brought standard niceties such as digital instruments and Travel Assist for partial self-driving.
As has been the case for years, the Polo shares much under the skin with the SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia. But despite same platform and excellent TSI engines the Polo feels a fair bit more upmarket, with better soundproofing and a higher quality cabin with more kit.
One thing the Polo does lack is the fun, engaging driving experience of rivals like the Ford Fiesta. It's more composed and comfortable instead, with an easy and relaxing driving experience, particularly if you avoid going for the bigger wheel options. It makes for a very sensible first car - if you can afford it.
The VW Polo isn't the cheapest small car - you'll want the Citroen C3, Dacia Sandero or Vauxhall Corsa for that. But it is priced roughly in line with the Hyundai i20, Peugeot 208, Toyota Yaris and Renault Clio. Some of them are more stylish and kit-laden, but only the Peugeot can really match the quality feel and refined driving experience.
There's a Polo for everyone, from the cheapest 80PS 1.0-litre Life right up to the 207PS GTI hot hatch. But the range of engines and trim levels has shrunk for 2021, with no more diesels - not that many people bought one. Regardless, the Polo is an easy car to recommend, but perhaps a hard car to fall head over heels in love with.
Looking for a second opinion? Check out heycar's Volkswagen Polo Review