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First Drive: Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95hp

The story:
Volkswagen’s aim for its all-new Polo is for it to be the safest and most digitally advanced car in its supermini class.
Key rival:Audi A6 Avant
Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 95hp
Price:£15,500 (estimated)
On sale:December 2017


The new Polo uses the same platform as a vast array of other Volkswagen Group vehicles, not only of the same sector, such as the latest Seat Ibiza,  but also larger cars such as the Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia.

2017 All-new Volkswagen Polo - Polo GenerationsThis means the Polo has gained technology not always found in this sector. For a start, it’s now larger (see panel) and is only available as a five-door hatch. The increased size brings significant bonuses such as more head and legroom for all occupants plus a boot of 351 litres (up from 280) although much of this space appears to be beneath the boot floor – where the spare wheel would normally go.

Additionally, the new Polo is, or will be shortly, available with VW’s latest engines.

Initially the car will be offered with a 1.0-litre petrol in two power outputs; 95hp and 115hp. Arriving a few month later will be a 1.6 diesel in 80hp or 95hp forms. Expanding the petrol range will be a 150hp 1.5 with cylinder-deactivation tech, and a 200hp 2.0-litre to power a GTI version.

The 95hp three-cylinder engine is expected to be the best seller in the range, accounting for 75% of sales. While VW doesn’t give sales expectations, last year around 50,000 Polos were registered in the UK and VW doesn’t expect this number to drop for the new car. Of this, 30% are expected to go to company car customers.All-new 2017 Volkswagen Polo - ExteriorThe way the Polo drives depends a great deal on the options or trim levels. That’s because it’s available with a standard suspension setup and the option (or possibly standard on higher trim levels – VW is yet to confirm kit levels) of adjustable suspension.

In the standard guise the Polo misses some of the grown-up composure and comfort that the previous-generation car had, and that the Golf is famous for.

All this and more is regained with the adjustable suspension which works very well to provide a classy ride.

However, neither version will trouble the most fun-to-drive superminis in terms of rewarding the driver with high levels of feedback on a twisty road.

The refinement levels are up with the class best for everyday driving, but in the 1.0-litre petrol there’s no getting away from the three-cylinder thrum if you have to work the engine harder.

All-new 2017 Volkswagen Polo - InteriorThe Polo’s interior is a stylish place, even if some of the materials don’t quite feel as high-grade as in other VWs.

All UK versions will come with a 12-inch colour infotainment screen, and VW also offers a fully digital instrument cluster as an option that is expected to cost around £400. This really gives the feeling that you’re in a much bigger or more expensive car. However, without the digital display, the regular instruments are possibly the clearest of any car in the sector.

It’s true, the Polo is now even more like the Golf, just a bit smaller – even though it’s bigger than ever before.

tristan young

The verdict

A high-class supermini in the way it looks but also excellent expected whole-life costs, good standard kit and a decent sized boot.