The Volkswagen Polo is a subcompact family hatchback designed to benefit from the very same qualities as the VW Golf but in a more sensible, smaller package. The Polo traces its roots back decades and is one of the oldest VW models. VW kept the Polo throughout this time as it is a really well-balanced and affordable car that does give you everything you’d want from a VW.
In this article, we are going to mention all of the surprising facts about the VW Polo which includes stuff you never heard of, and stuff you’d never expect from a car like the Polo. All in all, some of these are important enough to sway you toward or away from the Polo as your next car purchase, so be sure to read this article to find out more about the VW Polo!
It Isn’t All That Small
Contrary to popular belief, the VW Polo isn’t as small as most people think it is. I am 6’5’’ tall and I fit very comfortably inside the Polo, even with an adult sitting behind me. This makes sense as the VW Polo is based on the VW MQB platform which also underpins the VW Passat which is one of the most spacious cars VW makes.
The VW Polo has really short front and rear overhands which means that the wheelbase measures around 2564mm which is just a few tens of millimeters shorter than the relatively spacious VW Golf. This means that the new VW Polo offers the same amount of space as the Golf Mk5 which was never considered as not spacious enough.
Volkswagen is not a premium brand, and the Polo is an entry-level VW. When you put these two facts together, you’d think that the VW Polo comes with just a key and four wheels, but that is far from the truth. Quite the contrary, the VW Polo benefits from cutting-edge technology such as a widescreen virtual cockpit, adaptive cruise control, adaptive dampers, and wireless phone chargers.
Moreover, the VW Polo can also be had with full LED headlights and taillights, air-care A/C with air quality sensors and allergen filters, blind spot detection, rear traffic alert, keyless start, keyless entry, emergency braking, pedestrian safety protection, front assist, and a parking pilot which can park the car completely autonomously. Not too shabby for an entry-level car.
The subcompact hatchback segment is mostly known for cars barely crossing the 100hp mark. This makes some sense as these are incredibly small and tend to be under 3,000 lbs at the very least which is often half the weight of a mid-size to full-size SUV. However, the VW Polo isn’t about small power outputs as more than 50% of its current engine range pushes more than 100hp.
The stars of the show are the 1.5L TSI with 150hp which gives the little Polo a power-to-weight ratio of 9kg/hp ratio. For a spot of context, the G30 BMW 518d offers a measly 11kg/hp ratio while the 520 G30d with 184hp is just .2kg per hp better than the Polo. The range-topping 200hp Polo GTI offers a 6.2kg/hp ratio which is better than the 260hp BMW 530d.
The 1st gen Polo Wasn’t a VW
While on the subject of the most surprising facts about the VW Polo, we also need to mention that the 1st generation of the Polo wasn’t even a VW at all. The first Polo came out in the 1970s, but the car was originally developed by NSU Motorwerkhe which was later acquired by VW who actually brought the Polo to life.
This means that the 1st gen Polo is not a VW, it was not developed by VW, nor was it planned to have any connections with VW. However, the NSU Motorwerkhe company has had a rough time with its unreliable warranty claims which led the company to near bankruptcy and were the reason why it was acquired by VW.
Audi 50 was Its Birth Name
Before the name Polo came around, the car switched a few different names. VW first called it the Audi 50 (imagine), but VW wasn’t too sure about the name and even wanted to name it “Mini Golf” at one point. VW also considered the name “Bonito”, but thankfully the Polo name stuck.
The development of the VW Polo was certainly an interesting era as it wasn’t even sure that the Polo is going to make it. Thankfully it did and is still around even after almost 50 years of production.
What is Good About the VW Polo?
One of the things that VW does really well is making cars that are easy to recommend. The VW Polo has many benefits to its name, so much so that it can be difficult to cram them all up here, but we will try. For starters, the Polo sits between the premium subcompact segment and the economy segment which is a price that belongs in the former while offering quality levels of the latter.
Secondly, its technology is impressive, it’s more comfortable and spacious than you’d think, and it is one of VW’s most reliable cars. Even after almost 50 years of existence, the Polo is selling well thanks to class-leading practicality, technology, safety, and even resale value. Lastly, we also need to mention that having the ability to still buy a 200hp+ Polo GTI is downright incredible.
What is Bad About the VW Polo?
The good, the bad, and the ugly, well, we can’t say anything about the Polo being ugly, but we can mention a few drawbacks to its name. Even though the Polo isn’t as small as it seems, it is still too small for most motorists out there, especially for those who spend a lot of time transporting lots of people and luggage. Secondly, the Polo has gotten quite expensive in 2023.
Thirdly, the Polo still features some technology solutions found in the VW Golf that has been around for 10 years which has been somewhat of a theme in the case of the Polo. Even more so, lower-spec 2023 Polo models come with an A/C system design that first debuted in the Mk4 Golf back in 1997, two and a half decades ago!