After the Golf, the Polo is Volkswagen’s best-selling car in Britain, and 10 per cent of the 14 million Polos the company has sold since 1975, have been in the UK. With that sort of success, it is not surprising the new sixth-generation version doesn’t look vastly different from the last one, but is subtly improved.
It’s a fair bit bigger, especially its passenger space, and is wider, lower and with a smaller front overhang. In fact it is now the same size as the Golf of a couple of generations ago.
It also feels much more grown up, with an optional interactive digital dashboard and larger infotainment screen set in a smarter and more colourful cabin. VW has also given it various high-tech systems from the latest Golf and Passat to take the Polo further down the road to autonomous driving.
Petrol engines are 1.0-litre three cylinder units with 65, 75, 95 or 115PS, or four-cylinder motors with 150PS in the 1.5-litre version, or in the case of the 2.0-litre GTi version which arrives next year, 200PS. There are also two 1.6-litre diesels with 80 or 95PS, but these are not expected to sell in large numbers.
On the road, the three-pot petrol 95PS engine is very smooth and quiet and pulls well. As you might expect the 95PD diesel has more torque and pulls for longer, but sounds much more gruff. Five and six-speed manual gearboxes are available but the car particularly suits the seven-speed DSG twin-clutch auto.
The Polo was always an enjoyable car, but the raft of extra safety and high-tech systems on the new car and the much improved cabin ratchet up the quality by several notches. In this segment of the market, this is the car to beat.
Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 115PS
Top speed: 116mph
Combined mpg: 64.2
Price: £13,500 (est)