Volkswagen Polo (2009 onwards): Review
With 11 million sold over the last 34 years, the Volkswagen Polo supermini has undoubtedly been a huge success. But in the process it has earned a reputation for being safe, sturdy and dull. That’s why VW’s designers have been given free reign to rid the Polo of its blandness, taking inspiration from the Scirocco coupe rather than the Golf. And it’s paid off: the new Polo looks sharp and classy. It’s a clever way to style up a car: the headlights are fussier, with a smoky black lining, and stretch around the bonnet to instill a sense of speed to the face of the car, while the back remains practically a blank canvas, two tail-lights sitting in a sheet of bodywork.
The Polo doesn’t have the character of a tiny econobox; it’s quiet and comfortable enough to let you survive a long journey. The chassis is responsive and has a sophisticated feel. The 5th generation of the little Volkswagen Polo seems to have reworked pretty much all of its previous downsides, all with a cleaner design package and somewhat smaller prices than its predecessors. We took an orange/red model in 1.6 TDI-guise to the test to see how it stacks up against our expectations (which weren’t very high, we might add). Our test car was equipped with the top-of-the-line Highline trim level, while the engine was the lowest-powered diesel engine currently on offer, with a “blistering” 75 horsepower on tap.
The car is in any case not less than any racing car when viewing from the front side. As the style and design impress the viewer under the bonnet things are equally interesting. All engines are up to 20% more fuel-efficient, and three are brand new to the range – a smoother common rail 1.2 and 1.6 diesel and, star of the range, a small 1.2 TSI that generates a healthy 104bhp and helps the Polo crack 60 in less than 10 seconds.
The 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol unit was an absolute hoot, soaring up the rev range without running out of steam, yet with no fuss and bother. The turbocharger gives it life as it wakes up, but the audacious trick that extends the engine’s capabilities far beyond what you would expect of a little 1.2-litre job is the cheeky addition of a seven-speed DSG transmission.
With the lavishing new features and increased performance Volkswagen Polo has maintained its reputation among its lovers and the new models are pretty smaller and cuter than the predecessor. Compared with the dull-looking outgoing model, the new Polo is a breath of fresh air. The lower and wider body defines simplicity. Details such as the small horizontal grille strip, the silver wing in the headlights, and the L-shaped rear lighting will resurface on other new VW models. The look, we say, can’t migrate too soon to the Jetta and Passat. Whereas the three- and five-door hatchback versions of the Polo won’t come to the U.S., we hear that a four-door sedan, which would be produced in Mexico, is considered a strong candidate for American sales.