The Volkswagen Polo is one of the oldest-running models in the VW catalog which means that VW has continuously been improving the Polo for it to become the model it is today. After 6 generations of the VW Polo, it is now as good as the VW Golf which means that these two models now offer really similar packages.
So, is the Volkswagen Polo a good car? There are two answers to this question, a short one, and a long one. The short take is that the Polo is a good car because it continuously offers one of the best small hatchback experiences for a better part of almost half a century. The long answer is going to be laid out in the following paragraphs.
The engines the Polo offers are efficient, sophisticated, and powerful enough for the size and weight of the car. The design is nothing spectacular, but the latest VW Polo is indeed a really good-looking car in the right trim. The Polo drives smoothly and without much effort as the suspension and the chassis are focused on comfort and ease of use.
The Polo is also a reliable car, but there are a few issues worth mentioning. The Polo can be had for a really low price, but it is not the best one when it comes to value retention from new. Practicality is decent, but the interior space is not on par with larger hatchbacks.
VW Polo – The powertrain
The VW Polo engine lineup consists of 3-cylinder and 4-cylinder engines. The entry-level Polo models come with a tiny 3-cylinder 1.0L engine that offers as low as 75hp. The 4-cylinder engines are 1.2L, 1.4L, 1.6L, 1.8L, and 2.0L displacement engines with power up to 210hp for the range-topping Polo GTI.
The Polo also comes with a plethora of capable diesel engines, but the best diesel engine of them all is the 1.6L TDI with 100hp because it balances efficiency and power the best. The Polo typically comes with a 5-speed manual, but you also have the ability to go for the VW proprietary DSG dual-clutch gearbox.
A distinct advantage of low weight and small displacement cylinder engine car is that it is superiorly efficient. That is why the VW Polo is able to return up to 50MPG while diesel models can return ever more than that. The Polo is also a strictly FWD car and there are no 4MOTION Polo models available.
VW Polo – Design and chassis
Since the inception of the VW Polo, the model followed in the footsteps of the VW Golf which means that they share many parts with each other. The Polo is a more compact car which means that it looks like a city car should. Only the top-trim GTI and R-Line models do stand out from the crowd a little bit.
On the inside, the new Polo 6 looks fairly upmarket thanks to two large widescreens and futuristic controls. Some people much prefer having buttons over large touch panels, but that’s what VW decided to do with their newest generations of cars. All in all, the Polo does come with some high-quality materials, but no one can call it a premium car.
As far as the chassis and the suspension tuning are concerned, lower-level Polo models are solely focused on comfort, maneuverability, and ease of use. However, the range-topping Polo GTI is a certified pocket rocket which means that it is a dynamic and fun to drive car thanks to its fruity engine and very responsive steering.
VW Polo – Reliability and common issues
The VW Polo is indeed a reliable car as a whole, but older models do not fare all that well these days. This is because most people aren’t all that keen on maintaining these as they are old and cheap anyway. The most common VW Polo issues are associated with the steering system, the suspension, the electronics, the engine, and the brakes.
The good news is that most of these can be resolved fairly easily, yet the bad news is that not many people do. This is why there are many used VW Polo models with extremely low prices because a Polo is a workhorse car for a city environment that does take its toll on a car after a while.
VW Polo – Value and practicality
The VW Polo can be had for peanuts, even the newer models. This is because the Polo is an economy-level car that suffers from severe depreciation the moment it exits the showroom. It’s the reality of such cars and you should not expect a Polo to retain its value all that well.
Practicality-wise, the Polo is a subcompact hatchback which means that it lacks space in almost every category. Sure, if you don’t often travel with more than one passenger, the Polo is likely to be enough.
How long can a VW Polo last?
The VW Polo should be able to last more than 100,000 – 200,000-miles if you take proper care of it. All German cars are made with precise maintenance schedules in place which means that reliability is only as good as the maintenance is.
Not many people are keen on owning a Polo for decades and that is why many of these change a lot of owners before they reach 100,000-miles. Either way, the Polo should be able to last a decent while with proper maintenance.
Is the VW Polo an Audi A1?
The Audi A1 and the VW Polo are based on the same chassis which means that they also share lots of powertrain and drivetrain parts between each other. They use similar engines, they are both FWD, and both are available with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
There are some differences when it comes to levels of refinement, technology, and desirability, but they are more or less the same car underneath.
Should I buy a VW Polo?
If you are in the market for a city commuter, a daily driver that can go places where large cars can not, and a car that is going to be easy on your wallet, the Polo is certainly a good choice. You are going to make certain practicality and luxury compromises with the Polo, but if you want an A to B car, the Polo is perfect.
All in all, try going for a more decently optioned model as barebone Polo examples literally don’t come with anything.