Car tested: Volkswagen Polo 1.0 SE TSI 95PS (£16,276)
Price Range: £13,885 to £22,640
Emissions: Car tested 101 g/km
With thanks to
By Dominic Parkes
I have always had a soft spot for the Volkswagen Polo. It was my first car when I passed my driving test, aged 17, so it holds all the memories of my first set of wheels and will always be linked to that first feeling of freedom, responsibility and..er..crash. But let us gloss over that… Since stepping out of that aging, highly polished but slightly dented 1982 Polo C, I have never had the pleasure of driving one since. To be honest, all cars have moved on so much that, apart from it having four wheels, there is little in common with that 1980s Polo. The original feel of quality is still there, but now magnified by the power of about a 100; -from the legendary clunk of the door to the solidity of the switches, it all comes together to give a feeling of reassurance and dependability.
Now in its seventh reincarnation since arriving on our shores in 1976, it has sold more than 14 million worldwide, with 48,000 sold in the UK last year. Safe to say the UK likes it, then. So, I cannot see any reason why sales will be anything different this year. The Polo feels like a grown-up in the super-mini class. It is not flashy and loud, but just the right side of sensible. It is very nimble around town, comfortable and unfussed on A roads and happy to take on twisty tarmac with the minimum of agitation.
Never short of puff
My car was a petrol TSI model which is turbo-charged, and although only a 1.0 unit with 94bhp, it never felt short of puff. It has to be the smoothest engine I have ever driven. I initially found myself travelling at 60mph and thought the revs were a tad high at over 4000, but it was so smooth – Imagine the delight when I moved from third gear to the correct choice (fifth) and the engine settled at just over 2000rpm.
The seven-engine range includes a 64 bhp non-turbo 1.0 engine – which will probably be a little too parsimonious for most tastes, through to a 1.6 TDI and the one I would like to sample (hint, hint VW) the Polo GTI Plus 2.0 TSI. Trim levels are typically German and more a case of what the driver needs, as opposed to gimmicks that may be used once every 20,000 miles.
If you require a dashboard readout of G forces being applied to your ear lobes as you pirouette around the supermarket car park, please don’t proceed further than the brochure. Remember Germanic sensibility reigns supreme here. But, if you are after decent seats, quality audio, a great eight-inch touch screen infotainment screen, multiple airbags, convenient usb charging points, VW’s Car-Net App Connect system and autonomous braking – among others, then the Polo is a great option for you. Fuel and Insurance costs should be low as will deprecation, because – well – it’s a Volkswagen Polo, and everyone loves a Polo.