For many years the Volkswagen Polo was one of Ireland’s most popular cars. As an affordable and dependable hatchback it sold extremely well for decades before the influx of crossovers and small SUV’s that we probably never needed. Now the Polo has been refreshed and enhanced, with intelligent assistance systems a new look, and trim levels that are very generous even from the entry model. Believe it or not this is the sixth generation and more than 18-million have been produced during its 46-year lifespan. This latest version has grown in size and sophistication and it’s probably more comparable to the Golf of a few years back in terms of size and spec. With an equipment list containing even more features and technologies than the outgoing Polo, this new generation introduces big-car tech and safety to this compact Volkswagen.
Lets kick off with the entry-level petrol 95hp Polo Life and give you a quick look at some of the standard features. LED headlights, Adaptive Cruise Control and an 8.0-inch Digital Cockpit are just a teaser of what you get in the new Polo’s factory-fit equipment. Two front and two rear USB sockets, power-folding, adjustable and heated door mirrors, and automatic rain-sensing wipers are also included as standard but the big one for us was “Travel Assist” which makes the Polo one of the first models in its segment, to offer partly automated driving!
Stepping up to Style trim gives the Polo IQ.Light intelligent LED matrix headlights, which allow individual settings for different driving conditions and environments. This is technology first introduced by VW with the Touareg back in 2018 and its great to see it filter down though the model range to the little Polo. Also standard are front and rear parking sensors, 16-inch ‘Palermo’ alloy wheels, dual zone climate control and a larger 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro dashboard display with a built in Navigation system.
At the sportier end of the range for us here in Ireland will be the R-Line which is identifiable from by its 16-inch ‘Valencia’ alloy wheels and R-Line bumpers but don’t be fooled by the exhaust trim with quad-tailpipe setup because it is indeed false. Opening the driver’s door of the R-Line reveals a sporty black roof lining, stainless steel pedals and sports seats. The R-Line keeps the same Digital Cockpit Pro, ambient lighting and dual zone climate control as standard, as well as Dynamic Road Sign Display and High Beam Assist aids. The good news for automatic lovers is the DSG gearbox is also available on all three trim specifications.
As mentioned above here in Ireland we will get just the three engine and gearbox configurations all of which are powered by the 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine, with a power output of 95hp. A five-speed manual gearbox accompanies this 95hp, 175 Nm power plant and its available both 5-speed manual or the 7-speed DSG transmission. Fuel consumption is a decent 5.2 l/100km meaning trips to the garage will be minimal but if you are not worried about fuel consumption and fancy a bit more performance, it might be worth waiting for the range-topping GTI which is set to reach 100km/h in just 10.4 seconds. That should be fun to drive!
This all-new Volkswagen Polo has scored an impressive 5-Star safety rating at the latest Euro-NCAP crash testing surpassing its predecessor by quite some margin. As standard equipment, the Polo features the Driver Alert System, the Front Assist emergency braking system with city emergency braking function and pedestrian detection, as well as the Lane Assist lane keeping assistant. A further important safety feature is the centre airbag for the front seats. In the event of a side collision, this can help to prevent or at least reduce possible head contact between the persons in the first seat row. For a small car you are in safe hands with the new Polo.
The range starts off in Irish dealers at €23,510 for the Polo Life, and moving up into a two-pronged structure of comfort-focused Style at €25,700 and the more sporty R-Line specification priced at €24,600. Naturally the DSG options in all models add roughly 2k and we will receive a price for the high-performance Polo GTI at a later date. Various finance and PCP deals are currently available throughout the trusted dealer network.
Here in Ireland the Polo has always enjoyed the well-earned reputation for high quality, reliability and safety, and that’s the ethos that has kept it in the top-sellers list of small hatchbacks for so many decades. Now in its second phase of this sixth generation, it brings technologies that not only add more convenience, but also boost safety, efficiency to make it one fantastic purchase for Irish punters. After spending a week with the Polo at no point were we left feeling we needed more space, power or better technology. The easy to use infotainment system allows for Apple CarPlay and Android integration giving you all the creature comforts you need whilst on the daily commute. Handling is impressive also leaving you confident to push on through twisty roads and make progress. We suppose with forty-six years of heritage combined with modern style and innovation means the Polo was always going to be a great entry to VW ownership or indeed car ownership full stop. Lets see how many can look beyond the Crossover in favour of what truly is a great little hatchback!
Skoda Fabia just as good!