23 Sept 2014

2014 Volkswagen Polo Review

Matt Hubbard drives the new VW Polo in 1.2 TSI (108bhp) and 1.4 TDI (74bhp) guises

2014 Volkswagen Polo
2014 Volkswagen Polo

The new Volkswagen Polo isn't all new as such, instead it gets a refresh with new engines, some exterior touches, new tech and electric steering.

It's as crisp and sharp to look at as it ever has been. VW's styling department has the corporate look down to a T and the Polo is modern, fresh and rather tidy looking.

The Polo has grown over the years and now looks well proportioned for the first time since the Mk2 of the 80s. More recent Polos were a bit tall and narrow looking but this has a good stance and sits well on its wheels.

The interior is similarly sensible and practical and free from design touches for the sake of it. If you've not been in a Polo for a few years you'll be surprised how big it is inside.  The rear seats can sit three adults and the boot is pretty big.

Something I found quite funny was that the armrest is exactly the same as that in the Mk4 Golf, I suppose the theorem being if it ain't broke don't fix it.  It gets in the way, as it did in the Golf, unless you adjust it so it sits at 20 degrees from horizontal, which looks odd.
2014 Volkswagen Polo
2014 Volkswagen Polo

The driving position is more suited to a smaller person than I (5'10"). The seat is adjustable to accommodate very tall people but the steering wheel doesn't come out quite as far as I'd have liked, but then again neither does it in my own car.

The interior seems hardwearing and practical and it does have some nice touches, with a chrome strip on the doors and all the dials and switches look classy.

The climate controls are manually adjustable dials, which is just fine.  The 5 inch touchscreen works all the media functions, Bluetooth and digital radio etc and is easy to use. Satnav is a £700 option which, to me, is inexcusable for a car in this sector.  The sound system is loud and clear and the DAB radio reception is good.

Now onto the trim levels and engines.

I drove a 1.2 TSI petrol in SEL trim and 1.4 TDI in SE trim.  The TSI SEL is £1000 more expensive than the TDI SE but it is the one I'd go for.
2014 Volkswagen Polo
2014 Volkswagen Polo

The TDI engine is thoroughly competent and is quick enough for most people who'll buy a Polo.  It is a 3-cylinder but you wouldn't know it. It has plenty of torque and the five speed gearbox is light.  Talking of light the steering in both models is amongst the lightest I've experienced. VW knows its market. The Polo is super-easy to drive.

The TSI engine has as much power as a Mk4 Golf GTI 2.0 and is just as quick.  The engine feels lively and amongst the best small capacity/big power engines on the market. It doesn't feel like a small engine, the power and torque are plenty for the 1,100kg Polo.

Neither engine is poor but the petrol TSI has more power (although less torque) and a wider spread of power.  It's also more silky smooth when it comes to low speed manoeuvres, the TDI's sharp clutch caught me out and I stalled a car for the first time in years.  The test car only had 400 miles on the clock - maybe it'll bed in over time.

Neither car returned anywhere near the claimed fuel consumption - expect 35mpg from the TSI and 45mpg from the TDI.

The steering and handling is fine, in that it's adequate without being very sporty.

The TSI came in SEL trim.  This adds cruise control, parking sensors, 16-inch wheels, aircon and a load of small upgrades. Most Polos sold will be in SE trim but the SEL is a worthwhile investment for the extra cash.

The new Volkswagen Polo is a great little car that does what's asked of it at a decent price. It may be an efficient German car but it comes with a touch of class that make it feel quite special when you're in it.



Polo 1.2 TSI (108bhp) SEL

Price - £15,610
Engine - 4-cylinder, 1.2-litre, petrol
Transmission - 5-speed manual
0-62mph - 10.9 seconds 
Top Speed - 114mph 
Power - 108bhp 
Torque - 129lb ft 
Economy - 58.9mpg 
CO2 - 109g/km 
Kerb Weight - 1,135kg

Polo 1.4 TDI (74bhp) SE

Price - £14,645
Engine - 3-cylinder, 1.4-litre, diesel
Transmission - 5-speed manual
0-62mph - 12.9 seconds 
Top Speed - 107mph 
Power - 74bhp 
Torque - 154lb ft 
Economy - 83.1mpg 
CO2 - 88g/km 
Kerb Weight - 1,152kg

2014 Volkswagen Polo

2014 Volkswagen Polo

2014 Volkswagen Polo

2014 Volkswagen Polo

2014 Volkswagen Polo

2014 Volkswagen Polo

2014 Volkswagen Polo

2014 Volkswagen Polo

By Matt Hubbard