Nearly new buying guide: Volkswagen Polo

11 November 2021 - autocar

Nearly new buying guide: Volkswagen Polo

The slick little sixth-generation supermini has big-car stature

Each new generation of Volkswagen Polo manages to feel more grown up than the one it replaces, and so it is with this sixth and current one, launched in 2018. However, it is also more attractively styled than its predecessors – an admission, perhaps, that nowadays looks matter as much as substance.

The Polo sits on a variant of the Volkswagen Group’s multi-talented MQB architecture, and as a result the car rides comfortably and handles adroitly. It’s also bigger and roomier than ever before. It would seem perverse to offer a three-door version with all this new-found space, so the Polo is only available with five doors. And it isn’t alone, since most car makers no longer offer three-door versions of their smaller models.

So this bigger, roomier, better to drive and easier to live with Polo is starting to sound like one very amenable little car, except its petrol engines can trip you up. The problem lies with the three least powerful ones. They’re non-turbocharged three-pots making a trifling 64bhp, 74bhp and then 79bhp (this last one replaced the 74bhp unit). They’re a bit cheaper to insure but you really want to dig a little deeper for one of the turbocharged TSIs, producing 94bhp or 114bhp.

Our pick is the first one, the 1.0 TSI 95. Like the non-turbo engines, it has a five-speed gearbox (whereas the 1.0 TSI 115 has six speeds), but it’s flexible enough that you won’t miss the extra cog. The remaining petrol engine is the 197bhp 2.0-litre in the Polo GTI hot hatch. There’s just one diesel. From launch, the 1.6-litre unit produced 79bhp but was replaced later on by one with 94bhp. It offers few benefits over the petrols and, as Volkswagen itself predicted, few have been sold. For the record, prices start at around £10,000 for a 2018-reg 1.6 TDI 80 SE with 50,000 miles, or about the same price as the equivalent 1.0 TSI 95 SE.

The Polo’s mature character is mirrored in its grown-up level of standard kit. Automatic emergency braking and air conditioning are standard even on the cheapest trim, badged S. The range continues through SE (our favourite and the biggest seller) and more luxurious SEL (parking sensors all-round, a sat-nav and automatic windscreen wipers but only available with the 1.0 TSI 115 engine) to sporty R-Line (bodykit and sports seats). These last two aren’t big sellers and are pricier, too. For example, a 2018-reg Polo 1.0 TSI 115 SEL with 33,000 miles costs £12,300, or about the same as a same-age, same-mileage Golf 1.0 TSI 110 SE. We know which we’d buy.

Polos are popular with urban drivers, so expect the odd parking scrape and dinged wheel. Otherwise, they’re tough little things that really do feel a cut above rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa. The car is reasonably reliable, too.

BUYER BEWARE


Brakes On some cars, and at low speeds, braking can cause a knocking noise which, in 2019, VW acknowledged was a known fault but had no fix for.  

Faults VW has a good image but enough Polo owners report problems big and small for us to recommend you subject your target car to a close inspection and an extended test drive.

Need to know

Entry-level S trim won’t connect a smartphone to the infotainment without the App Connect option.

Seven-speed dual-clutch auto is available with the 1.0 TSI 95.

Rare diesel suits high-mileage drivers but is noisy.

There have been a few recalls concerning seatbelt buckles, the handbrake and the brake servo.

The 94bhp and 114bhp turbo petrols are more frugal than non-turbo 64bhp and 74bhp engines.

All versions have automatic emergency braking that reduces the risk of rear-ending someone and helps to keep insurance down.

R-Line is a GTI lookalike without the performance or the price tag.

Our pick

Polo 1.0 TSI 95: This mid-range three-cylinder petrol engine is refined, flexible and economical (we got 57.1mpg on our road test touring route). There are plenty to choose from at prices from around £10,000 for a 2018-reg.

Wild card

Polo GTI: The first Polo GTI to be worthy of the badge combines strong performance with everyday usability. It’s quite rare and oozes premium appeal; it’s just a shame that it’s pricey and automatic-only.

Ones we found

  • 2018 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 65 SE, 70,000 miles, £7950
  • 2019 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 SE, 24,000 miles, £11,195
  • 2020 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 Evo 80 SE, 6000 miles, £13,000
  • 2021 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95 Match, 3000 miles, £15,250

News By Tags

a1ACEAalfaalfa romeoAlfa Romeo 4CAlfa Romeo GiuliaAlfa Romeo StelvioAlfa Romeo TonaleAlpinaalpinealpine a110amazonAston MartinaudiAudi A3Audi A6Audi A8Audi E-tronAudi Q5Audi R8Audi RS3Audi Rs5Audi RS6Audi SQ8AustraliaAustrijaautiautobusautocestaautocesteautoindustrijaautomobilautomobiliautomobilska industrijaAutopilotautoškolaBentleybenzinbikebikesBjelovarbmwBMW 3 seriesBMW 4 SeriesBMW 5 SeriesBMW 7 SeriesBMW 8 SeriesBMW i3BMW i4BMW ix3BMW M2BMW m3BMW M4BMW M5BMW X3BMW X7boatboatsBosna i HercegovinabrabusbrzinaBugattiburacampercamper vancar buying guideCentar za vozila HrvatskecestacestarinacesteChryslercijenacijenecitroenCItroen BerlingoCitroen C3citroen c4classicscrash testCroatiacrossoverCustom carCVHdaciaDacia DusterDacia SanderodaimlerDalmacijadavor božinovićDetroit Auto ShowdieselDiesel bandiesel scandaldieselgateDizeldizelašidrag raceDucatiDugopoljeDysonelectricelektrična vozilaelektrični automobilelektrični automobiliEUeuropeEuropska komisijaeuropska unijaevFCAferrarifiatFiat TipoFiskerfordFord F-150Ford FiestaFord FocusFord MustangFord PumaFord RangerFord TransitFrankfurt Motor ShowfunnygenesisGeneva Motor ShowgermanygliserGMgorivoGrand TourgranicagumegužvehacHAKHarley-DavidsonHoldenhondahow toHrvatskaHrvatske autocesteHrvatske cestehybridhydrogenhyundaiHyundai i20Hyundai KonaHyundai Santa FeHyundai TucsonIgor NešićistraživanjejaguarjeepJeep WranglerJeremy ClarksonkamerekamionKaznakazneKiaKia SorentoKia SportageKia StingerkoenigseggkoronakrizakoronavirusKTMkupnjalamborghiniLamborghini Uruslancialand roverLand Rover DefenderLexusLotusmarin kameničkiMaseratiMate RimacmazdaMazda CX-30mclarenmercedesMercedes SprinterMercedes X-Classmilan bandićmitsubishiMitsubishi OutlanderMotociklimotorcyclemotorsportMUPnesrećaNikolanissanNissan ArmadaNissan GT-RNissan LeafNissan NavaraNissan QashqaiNissan TitanNjemačkanovi automobiliNovskaOff-roadoffroadOleg ButkovićopelOpel AstraOpel ComboOpel CorsaosiguranjeOsijekParis Motor ShowparkiranjePDVpeugeotpeugeot 2008peugeot 208Peugeot 3008Peugeot 308Peugeot 5008Peugeot 508pickuppolandPolestarpolicijapolovni automobiliporezporeziporschePorsche 911porsche panameraPorsche TaycanposkupljenjepotrespožarprekršajiprodajaProdaja automobilaprodajni saloniprometprometnaprometna dozvolaprometna nesrećaPrometne kazneprometne nesrećePSAPularabljenirabljeni autirabljeni automobilRabljeni automobiliradoviramrecallrecreational vehiclerecreational vehiclesregistracijaRemetinečki rotorrenaultRenault ClioRenault DusterRenault KadjarRenault MeganeRenault TwingoRenault Zoerent a carRichard HammondRijekarimacrimac automobiliRimac C_TwoRimac NeveraRivianRivian R1romeorotorRVsafetyScaniaSeatSeat Leonself-driving carservisŠibenikskodaSkoda EnyaqSkoda ENYAQ iVSkoda KaroqSkoda KodiaqSkoda OctaviaSkoda ScalaSlavonski BrodSljemeSlovakiaSlovenijasmartSplitspy shotsSrbijastarost vozilaStellantissubarusudarsupercarssuvSuzukitechnologytehnički pregledteslaTesla Model 3testtest rabljenogtoyotaToyota SupraToyota TacomaToyota YaristrajekttrošarinatrošarinetrucktržišteTržište automobilatuningtvornicaukUmagunos automobilaUSAused car buying guidevanVaraždinVelika BritanijaVelika GoricavladaVolkswagenVolkswagen ArteonVolkswagen CaddyVolkswagen GolfVolkswagen ID.4Volkswagen PassatVolkswagen Tiguanvolvovozačivozačka dozvolavozački ispitvozilaVOZNI PARKvožnjavwVW ArteonVW Atlasvw beetleVW GolfVW Golf VIIIvw jettaVW PoloVW T-CrossVW T-RocYachtYamahayugoZadarZagrebZagreb Auto Showzakonzakon o sigurnosti prometa na cestamazastavazimske gume