2020 Volkswagen Polo Review

With the help of its new, modular MQB-A0 platform, Volkswagen has stretched the sixth-generation Polo by 81mm, widened it by 63mm and lowered it just a touch.

The result is a car with a greater visual presence than its predecessor, and a few aesthetic licks have been effected to further toughen up the Polo.

Polo Crash Test

Most conspicuous are poker-faced LED headlights – replacing the xenons of the old model – that merge into a clean-cut radiator grille made shallow by a strip of body-coloured plastic.

There’s also a double swage line that halves the car, top to bottom. Such things are adventurous for Volkswagen although still not enough to give the car the kind of personality that emanates from, say, a Peugeot 208.
That said, the French car, and many other rivals beside, can only dream of possessing shut lines as slender as those found between the German car’s crisp body panels.

Using the MQB platform brings benefits other than the ability to easily build a bigger car. The new Polo is now more rigid (18,000Nm per degree versus 14,000Nm), which theoretically allows for greater body control at the same time as yielding a more supple ride.

To this end, on higher-spec Polos VW has introduced Sport Select running gear, which comprises adaptive dampers complete with auxiliary springs and 15mm drop in ride height. Our test car didn’t have this set-up.

Meanwhile the engine line-up is broad, ranging from a naturally aspirated 1.0-litre MPI petrol with 64bhp to the 197bhp 2.0-litre TSI petrol in the flagship GTI. There are diesel options, too, although you’ll be limited to an SCR-equipped (selective catalytic reduction) 1.6-litre TDI and none tops 100bhp. Is it surprising that VW expects just one in every 20 buyers to opt for diesel? We’d say not, and not necessarily because of the company’s recent misdemeanours.

The standard transmissions are five-speed or six-speed manuals, and there’s the option of a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic.
The styling of the Polo’s cabin is sufficiently reserved to rob it of much in the way of wow factor, but it is unquestionably a very solidly built, well-equipped and pleasant small car in which to spend time.


Absolutely nothing wobbles, creaks or flexes when you touch it. That Germanic sense of quality is more clearly present than in any other car in the class, save perhaps one or two with a proper premium badge.

In typical supermini fashion, VW uses hard plastics on the door cards and in the lower reaches of the cabin but they’re grained ones and certainly don’t do the interior’s quality aura any harm, while soft-touch plastics on the top of the dashboard improve tactile quality somewhat. The decorative panels on the main fascia can be finished in a number of different colours thanks to a range of optional colour packs, although a reserved Limestone Grey featured in our test car.

Opt for a more vibrant shade, such as the Energetic Orange dash-pad pack, and you’ll give the cabin a considerable visual lift. Continuing the trend of interior personalisation is a selection of upholstery patterns, which vary from trim level to trim level.

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