Volkswagen Polo Hatchback (2017 -) Comfort

Review by CJ Hubbard
4.3
While the cheeky Ford Fiesta may be the most popular kid in the supermini class, secretly everyone wants to be like the Volkswagen Polo – smart, sassy and just that bit more sophisticated. Now here in all-new, sixth-generation guise, the Polo is pilling even more pressure onto rivals – which also include the Vauxhall Corsa, Nissan Micra and Mazda 2 – by combining some of the sharpest looks in the sector with an outstanding interior.

4 out of 5

Comfort

  • Good ride comfort for a supermini
  • Sport Select option well worth considering
  • Refinement not as impressive as hoped

With most buyers anticipated to opt for a three-cylinder engine – a configuration that’s naturally unbalanced and potentially noisy – you’d expect VW to have prioritised the Polo’s refinement.

To this end we were a little disappointed at the slightly irritating tone to the engine note at speed, and were surprised to detect the occasional vibration in the cabin. While this is no worse than supermini rivals, we continue to expect VW to do better, and that’s not overwhelmingly the case here.

For VW Polo comfort try Sport Select

For a small car, the Polo’s ride comfort is generally positive, but the move to a new platform has enabled VW to offer much larger wheel sizes – up to 18 inches on the GTI – and you should prepare for the occasional shock and thump if you’re seduced by the visual appeal of these bigger rims.

Regardless of wheel size, we strongly recommend the optional Sport Select suspension package if you can afford it. This features adaptive suspension with a choice of Normal and Sport settings, controlled via a driving mode selector next to the gear lever.

The Normal setting makes a Polo on 17-inch wheels ride better than a standard Polo on 16-inch wheels, which is quite some achievement. Switch to Sport and it’s a touch more fidgety, but you still forgive it versus the conventional suspension for its additional control – reducing body roll and subduing bumps in the road more quickly.

It’s almost a must-have option as far as we’re concerned.

4.3 out of 5

Practicality

  • Plenty of passenger space for a supermini
  • Boot has grown bigger, too (sort of)
  • Among the very best for space in the supermini class

VW claims the Polo is the most spacious car in its class – and we’ve no reason to doubt this.

Just remember we are still talking about a supermini, so although four adults will fit inside, those in the back won’t exactly find themselves luxuriating in palatial surroundings. Knee and leg room remain at a premium.

While the Polo has got bigger, it still fits into one of the smallest classes of car on the road, so you’re unlikely to struggle with parking it – though the increased width may cause a few nervous moments for owners of older garages.

Parking sensors and a reversing camera are available if you’re particularly concerned.

VW makes a big claim about an increase in boot size for this Polo – saying it’s grown 71 litres over the model it replaces. Open the tailgate, however, and you’d be forgiven for thinking Volkswagen is fibbing…

The main boot area looks modest to say the least. But beneath the load floor lies a cavernous space that’s less practical than the main boot but still offers additional storage.

The catch is that this is where you’d usually find the spare wheel – and guess what? VW has elected not to fit one here. In other words, if you’re looking for more storage space in your old Polo, try leaving the spare wheel at home, and praying you don’t get a puncture.

Get a Volkswagen Polo Hatchback valuation

How does the boot space compare?

355 litres
Volkswagen Polo Hatchback (17 on)
305 litres
280 litres
273 litres
4.5 out of 5

Behind the wheel

  • Completely new styling direction inside
  • Lots of colour and technology
  • Still easy to use with excellent intelligent design

To say this Polo is a bit different inside compared to the previous one is akin to pointing out Donald Trump has a different style of presidential leadership to Barack Obama. You don’t have to be an expert to spot the obvious.

Depending on how you spec it, Mk6 Polo offers a riot of interior colour potential, with no less than eight options for the ‘dash pad’ area – the strip that crosses the dashboard – alongside a choice of complementary trim finishes and seat fabrics.

High-tech with solid ergonomics

But this is more than just a style thing. VW has consciously moved the media system onto the same level as the instrument cluster – so the driver doesn’t have to look so far away from the road to view it.

This could have been done relatively easily by fitting a standalone, tablet-mimicking screen, as most rivals have done. Instead VW has chosen to fully integrate the touchscreen into the dashboard to give the finished product a far more cohesive and intentionally future-gazing look.

And although base spec UK cars may not get a touchscreen, we understand that all UK models that do will get the full 8.0-inch device rather than the smaller 6.5-inch version offered in some markets.

Digital instruments, too

Also available as an option on the Mk6 Polo is VW’s second-generation Active Info Display – a fully digital instrument cluster that replaces the conventional dials.

This offers more viewing modes and customisation than before, and works very well. But frankly there’s little wrong with the analogue alternative, which features a particularly clear layout, and the Active Info Display is an option we’d probably ignore.

Everything works very well

Returning to the touchscreen infotainment system, it’s worth noting that we found this particularly intuitive to use – with a more attractive interface design than that of the SEAT Ibiza (which uses essentially similar hardware).

Better yet, VW hasn’t made the mistake of putting all the Polo’s secondary controls into this media system – there are still dials for the air-conditioning, for example, which is now standard on all models.

From the driver’s perspective, it’s also good to see a wide range of adjustment in the seating position and the steering column. You shouldn’t have much difficulty making yourself comfy behind the Polo’s steering wheel.

VW Polo interior quality

Material quality is good, but not what we’d describe as outstanding versus other superminis – you don’t have to look too hard to find cheaper plastics.

That said, everything you regularly touch inside the Polo are likely to feel very premium, and the variety of colours and finishes available inside remain central to this VW’s overall appeal.