VW Polo SE 1.0TSI 95PS15 | 01 | 2018Scotcars rating

    VW updates its recipe for the perfect Polo and delivers another mint supermini

    VOLKSWAGEN HAS LAUNCHED its new, sixth-generation Polo. And the latest supermini — which goes head-to-head with the likes of the Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza, Citroen C3 and Suzuki Swift — arrives with more tech, sophistication … and it’s grown. (Related: Roadtest — VW T-Roc 1.0TSI)

    Everyone knows VW has had the perfect recipe for the Polo over the years; the previous five generations have sold 14 million units. Now, faced by stiffer competition from its rivals, the latest Polo — available only as a five-door — is a brand new car with more space, kit and better looks.

    Built on the VW Group’s ubiquitous MQB architecture, the new model has a 92mm longer wheelbase and 69mm wider body. The result is more interior space and a driving experience which is more mature. That’s ‘mature’ in a good way.

    I emphasise that because it’s clear VW is bidding to attract the attention of younger buyers into the Polo. And that means not only sharper, stylish looks, but also a more snazzy, almost dazzling interior. (Related: VW extends scrappage scheme through to 2018)

    Externally the Polo’s styling grows from the generic family looks of the Golf, which is certainly no bad thing. You’ll instantly notice the 2018 Polo boasts a number of sharp crease lines. Worth mentioning too that the latest Polo is almost as big as the MkIV Golf.

    VW-Polo-Roadtest-2.jpg

    And that contributes to the fact the new Polo now has a sportier stance, aided by the longer wheelbase, allied to a lower roofline and bumpers and lights that emphasise the car’s width. But it remains the understated choice for buyers keen not to advertise their choice of a quality car.

    Lighter, longer and lower than the previous model, the latest version also gets more bootspace and legroom. But while there are clear changes outside, the bigger improvements have been saved for the cabin.

    VW has not only completely redesigned the interior of the Polo, but dramatically updated it too. As a result, there’s now a choice of larger display screens, which plays into the new Polo’s focus on tech.

    The standard Composite Media infotainment system is slick and responsive, comes complete with an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen — one of the best in the Polo’s class — and features DAB radio, Bluetooth, single CD player, SD card reader, an aux-in socket, iPod connection cable and six speakers. Not bad as standard kit goes.

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    The options sheet includes a box for VW’s second-gen Active Info Display, which is essentially an all-digital instrument cluster. The new Polo is the first vehicle in the entire VW Group portfolio to get this latest gadget, which offers more viewing and customisation options than the previous version.

    There are also now splashes of colour in the Polo cabin: the car I drove had a two-tone dashboard, plus a different colour dashpad. From a tactile perspective, there’s lots of quality, plush plastics and padding, all of which raises the cabin above that of the VW T-Roc we drove recently.

    As for space, there’s ample for the driver and front passenger, further aided by excellent visibility all-round. Passengers in the rear also enjoy more leg and headroom than the previous model, while the new Polo delivers an extra 71-litres of stowage space in the boot over its predecessor, now up to a generous 355-litres with the rear seats in place. That’s even more than a Ford Focus. Fold the rear seats and luggage capacity increases to 1125-litres.

    VW-Polo-Roadtest-9b.jpg

    The range, ultimately, will include seven trim levels — S, SE, Beats, SEL, GTI, R-Line and GTI+ — with prices starting at  £13,855. The 200bhp GTI will launch in Spring, followed by the R-Line and the GTI+.

    As for engines, buyers get the choice of six powerplants, including TSI petrols and TDI diesels. All are Euro VI compliant and range from 1.0MPI with 65PS to a turbocharged 2.0TSI with 200PS. It’s expected that VW’s 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI Evo engine, which as already been a resounding success in the Mk7.5 Golf, will also join the Polo range.

    All variants come with stop-start mode and a regenerative braking system, and are available with either a six- or seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, and either five- or six-speed manuals.

    The most popular in the range will be the 94bhp 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol, with VW predicting a massive 75% of buyers opting for it. So no surprise its the engine we tested.

    VW-Polo-Roadtest-9a--1-.jpg

    VW’s three-cylinder  engine is one of the best in the business, and the traditional rasp associated with the powerplant has been well suppressed inside the cabin. Only when you accelerate hard does the sound become marginally intrusive.

    As for performance, mated to a light, positive five-speed manual gearbox it’ll scamper from standstill to 62mph in 10.8secs, and carry on to a max of 116mph, while returning 64mpg at the pumps and emitting 101g/km CO2.

    It’s a brilliantly peppy wee engine, ideal for the life most Polos will find themselves experiencing — short, city centre-based trips. In this environment, it thrives, buoyed by its light and accurate steering.

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    The new Polo is equally at home cruising at the legal maximum on the motorway. But four-up and with the bootspace packed, you might well find yourself flicking back down the gears as you strive to maintain your momentum when you hit a long, steady gradient.

    But be in no doubt, the sixth-generation VW Polo remains as one of the best cars in its class. The newcomer has bags of onboard tech; a new, sharper image; increased levels of practicality, plus a smooth and rewarding drive. And all allied to attractive value for money.

    As a result, the 2018 VW Polo remains tough to beat for those in the market for a supermini.

    Roadtest: VW Passat Estate SE Business 2.0TDI

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on twitter.com/Scotcars

    Jim McGill

     

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £15,135 / £19,045
    Engine / Power: 3cyls, 999cc, turbocharged petrol, with 5sp manual / 94bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 10.6sec / Max 116mph
    How big/heavy?: L4053mm W1946mm (incl mirrors) H1461mm / 1145kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 64.2mpg combined / 101g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: 8E / n/a
    Alternatives: Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza, Renault Clio, Citroen C3 and Suzuki Swift

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