Australian car buyers may be going crazy for SUVs but smaller hatchbacks are undoubtedly still big business, and the Polo remains a significant player. In fact, it’s the second biggest seller in the VW range behind the Golf.
The sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo bursts onto the scene with much of the value we’ve come to expect from the range, remaining the quality option in its class. Spacious for its classification with similar features to the Golf, the interior remains best in class, and the seamless phone integration is unbeatable.
It looks elegant and clean both inside and out. The turbocharged engine supply provides optimum everyday performance while maintaining its fuel efficiency.
Bigger overall than the Mk4 Golf, your Polo will be roomy inside but extremely easy to park in small spaces. It drives like a bigger car, sitting stable on the road, the handling reliable and the drive smooth. Automatic emergency braking comes standard.
It’s possible you might get caught with a colour you’re not in love with as there are only five options; orange, black, silver, grey and white.
The only colour that won’t cost you extra is white where previous models gave you the option of white, blue or red.
The Polo is available as a five-door hatch only. These cars are all front-drive cars as they are classed as light cars. This is ultimately what keeps your price down.
Though compact in size, the Polo drives like a much bigger car with speed limiting and cruise control. In terms of safety it comes complete with pedestrian detection, driver fatigue alert, automatic emergency braking and an alert system to tell you if a tyre is going flat well before you find yourself on the side of the road with a blowout.
You have a full colour 8 inch touchscreen to manage all of your phone and audio settings, a sound system with AM/FM radio, CD, SD card reader, AUX plus two USB inputs.
Pro tip: If you plug your phone into the USB, most of your apps will be accessible on the touchscreen display such as your Maps and Music.
But the real winner here is the bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming that allows you to sync with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
You’ll also find your reversing camera here.
There’s a soft leather trim on your steering wheel and gear stick and extra instruments on your dashboard to notify you of your average speed over time and fuel consumption. You can even adjust your headlight height from inside the car, daytime running lights for better visibility to other drivers and rear fog lights.
Other features include:
The Polo is also covered by a three-year, unlimited kilometre manufacturer’s warranty.
The Polo comes standard with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.
There are two versions: 75TSI and 85TSI.
Each of these model numbers refer to the maximum power output of each version in kilowatts. But what does this mean for you?
The 75TSI comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox and sips at the fuel using only 4.8 litres/100kms.
The 85TSI with six-speed manual consumes 5.1 litres per 100kms.
The slight differences that were mentioned won’t be noticeable in real-world driving; this also results in usage that is a bit higher than test claims.
The only real advantage of going for the more frugal 75TSI manual is its lower price. So don’t base this decision on fuel consumption. You won’t notice a difference.
The Polo has always been at the top of the list when it comes to the best city cars to drive, and this model elevates that enjoyment to a whole new level. Extremely spacious for its class, it comfortably seats four adults with ample space in the boot.
Pro tip: You’ll find that each version of the Polo shares the exact same layout on the inside. However, the only difference with the 85TSI Comfortline is that it has higher quality cloth trim.
The steering wheel is fully adjustable for both height and reach, and both of the front seats can be lowered or raised for optimum comfort, unlike some of the other cars in the class whose firm, high seats are about as comfortable as driving a bar stool.
All of the seats offer hugging side-supports that will keep you comfortably in place through the corners, and the primary controls are positioned thoughtfully, slightly higher up in the dash right in your line of sight, so you’re not always looking down. The displays are beautiful and clear too, so you won’t find yourself squinting.
You’ll also find that this newer line of Polo is both broader and longer which makes it sit more comfortably “into” the road and where many cars of this size are often a bit on the noisy side, the Polo is surprisingly quiet.
The Polo 75TSI Trendline is relaxing enough for everyday city driving but also responsive in more trying conditions. But for the thrill seeker, the 85TSI kicks things up a notch with more power in any situations.
Across the range, you’ll find the suspension maintains excellent control even in the twistiest of roads. Balanced weight in the steering and smooth handling in the corners makes for a fun car that is actually starting to feel even more like the Golf than the previous Polo.
Comparing the least costly 75TSI Trendline and the 85TSI Comfortline, the more expensive model’s seats are trimmed with a higher-quality “Comfort” cloth.
Comfortline’s 15-inch wheels are made of aluminium alloy, while the cheaper counterpart rolls on steel wheels that need to be covered with a plastic cover. It also comes with the less powerful version of the 1-litre turbo engines.
Other notable features that can be found on the more premium line 85TSI are the headlights that automatically switch on when it’s dark, the windscreen wipers that automatically starts wiping when it rains, and also the rearview mirror that automatically dims when the car behind you has bright lights, minimising the glare.
Let’s take a look inside the car; the higher versions get an armrest between the two front seats.
All wheels of 85TSI have disc brakes that are more responsive and overall stronger than the drum-rear and disc-front wheels of 75TSI.
A high-tech add-on that you can get for the Polo 85TSI only is the Driver Assistance package that you can purchase for about $1400. With this, you will get Park assist; you get the following:
Aside from the added cost, none.
ANCAP or The Australasian New Car Assessment Program rated the Polo at its maximum five stars for safety, in February 2018.
All Polo units have the standard feature automatic braking technology. It calls the system Front Assist with City Emergency Brake, and it operates at both city and highway speeds.
The car comes with a radar type sensor that scans the road ahead for obstacles such as a car in front of you that suddenly slowed down.
If you are running at speed under 30 km/h, the car will automatically stop. On the other hand, if you are cruising faster, you’ll get a warning on the audio-visual dashboard to hit the brake. If you don’t follow the signal, the car will also break automatically, though not at maximum pressure.
Once the system thinks that the car is about to crash, it automatically brakes the car, added to that; it also has an advanced pedestrian recognition system that comes along with it.
The car comes with two airbags in the front seats. The proactive occupant protection system is also notable. This ingenious high-tech system uses sensors to detect if an accident is likely to occur. When that happens, it automatically prepares the occupants by tensioning the seatbelts and closing any open windows.
Volkswagen Polo was awarded the maximum five stars for resistance to theft and four stars for resistance from being broken into. These stats compare well with other competitors. These awards are brought about by the deadlocks and the engine immobiliser, plus the alarm that is a standard for all but the entry-level S trim.
Crash testers over at Euro NCAP also gave Polo a particularly high score in the adult and child safety categories.
The best small car was just made even better, see for yourself when you book in a test drive today! Call (08) 9415 0077 to book your test drive in or visit us in person 61 Shepperton Road Vic Park, just over the causeway.