The exterior of a silver Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo review (2018-2023)

The Volkswagen Polo is one of the best superminis out there. With a comfortable, high quality interior and lots of choice of engines and trims, it’s just as excellent on the motorway as it is darting around the city and won't cost a lot to run, either.

Pros

  • Extremely good finish inside and out
  • A very comfortable drive
  • Lots of space for the size of car

Cons

  • Low spec models can feel basic
  • More expensive than rivals
  • Not the most exciting car to drive

Summary

“The Polo is really sturdy and composed wherever you drive it.”

The Volkswagen Polo is renowned for quality and it feels like you’re driving a bigger car than it actually is. Smaller cars can feel less stable on the road but not the Polo – it’s really sturdy and composed wherever you drive it.

This model, introduced in 2018, is slightly larger than the version it replaced. Irt comes with a choice of great engines that boast decent performance and fuel economy with low emissions.

Although Polos can look more expensive than rivals like the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa and Hyundai i20, they’re just as cheap to run. The Polo's 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engines provide smooth power and even greater efficiency.

Previous generations of Polo were available as three-door hatchbacks, but this latest version is only available with five doors, which gives you extra practicality.

What's the interior like?

“Climb inside the Volkswagen Polo and you’ll be struck by the amount of room and the sense of quality.”

Climb inside the Volkswagen Polo and you’ll be struck by the amount of room and the sense of quality. The material quality is really good, and even though newer cars like the latest Renault Clio have caught up in recent years, it's still one of the most premium cabins for this type of car.

The driving position is excellent and visibility is very good both front and back. The dashboard layout is clear, straightforward and extremely practical. Look out for cars with the Active Info Display on higher spec Polos – it’s a fully digitised instrument panel that replaces traditional dials. It looks slick and was included as standard from 2021. Even entry-level models today feature an 8-inch touchscreen as standard, while you'll get a larger 10.25-inch unit in higher-spec cars.

A Polo is really practical for its size. You can get in and out with ease and there’s a feeling of great space behind the wheel. The boot is also roomy for this type of car.

What's it like to drive?

“The Polo is quiet and refined inside and is a great choice if you cover long distances regularly.”

On the road, the Volkswagen Polo is extremely comfortable even on bumpy roads. It’s quiet and refined inside and is a great choice if you cover long distances regularly. The Polo’s steering is light and easy, as are the manual gearboxes, making this car hard to fault for everyday use. If you're after driving excitement, then you'll find more in the Ford Fiesta, but the Polo is a very solild all-rounder.

The Polo comes with a range of 1.0-litre petrol engines. Without getting too technical, some have turbochargers, and some don't – we'd recommend the ones that do, which have the TSI badge in their name. They have more power and are more fuel-efficient, too. A 1.6-litre diesel is also available, and there's also a 197bhp 2.0-litre engine for the enjoyable Polo GTI hot hatch.

There is a 7-speed DSG (automatic gearbox), but the Polo is pleasant and easy to drive with a standard manual gearbox.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“A good range of engine options means there’s an efficient choice for everyone.”

A good range of engine options means there’s an efficient choice for everyone, whether you want to head into town or drive on the motorway.

If you’re a higher mileage driver (12,000 per year), go for a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbo or the diesel which promises up to 76mpg according to official figures. That said, new petrol engines are nearly as as efficient and more environmentally friendly, which explains why the diesel option is no longer available on a brand-new Polo.

Service costs are competitive, as are tax and insurance.

An easier way to find or sell a car

You’ll find lots of used cars for sale at Cazoo, all available to buy through our trusted dealers.

Cazoo makes selling a car just as easy – just enter a few details for an instant online valuation. If you accept the offer our partners will get in touch to arrange payment and collection of your car at a time that suits you.

Which one is best for you?

The Polo line-up initially consisted of the entry-level S, the mid-range SE, a slightly younger feeling Beats model, the range-topping SEL and sporty looking R-Line models.

The S and the SE were replaced by the Match in 2020, which was then dropped from the range in 2021 when the car was given an overhaul. The entry-level car became the Life, while the SEL and R-Line models were renamed Style and R-Design. We reckon the early SE or later Style models are a great sweet spot between price and features, but there are more luxurious Polos there if you want them.

For engines, the 94bhp 1.0 TSI petrol units will suit most people, although the 115bhp version adds more pep. Diesel is only really suitable for those covering lots of miles. If you're after fun, check out the Polo GTI.

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