Volkswagen Polo SE 1.0 litre TSI 95.
My son passed his driving test a few weeks ago, so the question of which car we will be considering for both him & my daughter to drive has been high on the agenda. Undoubtedly in the mix, is the Volkswagen Polo which seems in our neighbourhood anyway, to be the number one choice for young drivers, offering just enough cool for Millenial’s plus affordability & safety making it appeal to parents as well
However, small cars are not necessarily just for teenagers. A good for friend of mine who’s an eye surgeon is swapping his public sector Volkswagen Golf shortly, for a Volkswagen Polo, ostensibly to save fuel as he commutes to North Wales five times a week from Altrincham. Whilst I am aware that car downsizing has been going on for a while, this has been more visible at the top end of the table with the drivers of luxury cars, whose customers have been seeking to save money by reducing their carbon footprint. What I wanted to find out was whether a typical family man like myself, who needs the practicality of a five door hatchback, could live with a small car such as the the Polo as the families main car, or whether it is best as a second car or for your children to use.
Volkswagen sent me their latest Polo to test in April a 1.0 litre petrol Polo to test recently & with a retail price of £15,930 combined fuel economy of 64.2 mpg up coupled with emissions of 101 g/km, on the face of it at least, it looked like an enticing proposition.
New Polo is now offered only as a 5 door model & comes with six trim levels. Entry level S with an asking price of £13,855 OTR, then SE, SEL, R-Line, GTI & finally GTI+, with our test car the SE likely to be the best seller.
When young people are driving small cars, parents want a safe car, featuring the kind of safety features that once only came on large luxury model. Here there is more good news with the Polo. As well as electronic stability control (ESC), my test car also came equipped with Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA), ABS, Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) & ASR Traction Control. Optional safety features include Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist & City Emergency Braking, which can be added for an additional £600.
The whole Polo range also features Volkswagen’s latest modular 8” Composition infotainment system which includes DAB radio & a CD player, plus a proximity sensor, in laymans terms, the system reacts to swiping movements as seen on smartphones. All models also offer Bluetooth & USB, with SatNav available on SEL trim & above. Also on offer across the range are drivers seat height adjustment, a height & reach adjustable steering wheel, front side airbags, driver & front passenger air bags, central locking, front electric windows, a full size spare wheel & a Stop/Start function.
My test model also came with several extras fitted including climate control, Adaptive Cruise Control, 15” Seyne black diamond alloys, parking sensors, a light & sight pack & a Winter pack, al of which make the Polo feel even more grown up, but do add an extra £3,650 to the asking price, where you’re almost in T-Roc territory price wise.
Modern day drivers want to stay connected when they’re in their car & the Composition Media system fitted to my Polo also offers users VW’s Car Net App-Connect, which allows users to connect their mobile phone through Appel Car Play or Android Auto, so you can utilise things such as Google Maps in lieu of the lack of SatNav on lower specced cars. This of course also allows drivers to operator functions within the law which all fleet managers will be grateful of.
Climb into the Polos cabin & you’ll immediately notice that there’s plenty of room for the driver & front passenger. However, if you are over six feet tall, you will need to push your seats back, which reveals the compromise in the rear, where leg room is at a premium. Still, when you’re only 5ft 8″ tall like me, all cars are a good fit & I found that I could sit comfortably in the rear behind a 6ft driver when my son moved the drivers seat back to where he would be comfortable.
As with all of the current Volkswagen range, the dashboard in the Polo is smart & neat & all of the controls & surfaces are made of quality plastics, just like the rest of the VW range feeling built to last. The driving position is comfortable & once you start the engine & get going you’ll notice that the Polo handles well, particularly around town where it’s compact size is to the fore. On the motorway the 1.0 litre takes it’s time to get up to 70 mph, but once there it’s a pretty good place to be cruising quietly belying its 95bhp. With passengers on board however, progress feels somewhat slower than the claimed 0-62mph time of 10.8 seconds.
The new range of 1.0 petrol engines that the Volkswagen Group are offering are really rather good. This one offers a little bit of fun if you’re driving alone with decent fuel economy with my 400+ mile week on a mix of roads equating to a combined fuel economy of 50.2 mpg. Pretty good for a petrol car.
A week in the Polo & I found the cabin a great place to spend time & driving alone found it more than nippy enough for my needs, both in town & on the motorway. The infotainment system is first class with an easy to use screen, with all of the functions chosen working quickly. Bluetooth connectivity was seamless as was connecting to Apple Car Play, with the new generation Polo scoring highly for big car tech, on top of it’s big car safety features.
More good news is that the boot is bigger than the last Polo by 75 litres & now comes with a useful 355 litres of space with all the seats in place, increasing to 1125 litres with the rear seats folded down. The Polo also benefits from a reasonably low load lip, a wide opening and minimal intrusion from suspension components. You’ll also find a useful shopping bag hook, a 12v power socket & a courtesy light that takes the hassle out of loading up after dark.
In conclusion, the latest Polo is more like the original Golf in size, whilst being twenty first century & more in line with the current Golf, with it’s list of up-to-date tech & safety features. If you are a company car driver who doesn’t require a large car, then the Polo would be a good place to start. Without a doubt, this latest Polo is the best Polo yet .
A Fruit Polo 4/5.