VW Polo R-Line review

18 Sep, 2015 3:00pm Jonathan Burn

VW Polo R-Line mixes sporty looks with low running costs


The Polo R-Line may not be the cheapest car, but it shows its value in its breadth of abilities. The new 108bhp 1.0-litre turbo reinforces that with superb refinement and low running costs. R-Line trim also silences those who think the supermini is lacking style.

From the hair-raising GTI to the frugal BlueMotion model, there’s a VW Polo to suit every job. R-Line cars combine the two, getting hot hatch looks without the associated running costs; and now there’s an all-new 1.0-litre engine.

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Volkswagen has lifted the three-cylinder turbo engine from the BlueMotion model, boosted power from 94bhp to 109bhp and replaced the five-speed manual gearbox with a six-speed. 

So, all the characteristics that make the engine in the BlueMotion a winner are present and correct in the R-Line, only now there’s a little extra shove. 

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From start-up through to the red line, the tiny 1.0-litre engine is quiet, refined and punchy. The Polo rarely feels out of its comfort zone, either; it’s as happy tackling city streets as gruelling motorways.

The R-Line does away with some of the fuel-saving features from the BlueMotion, such as the low-rolling-resistance tyres and aero tweaks, but 65.7mpg economy and CO2 emissions of 99g/km are still impressive for a car that races from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds. 

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VW also offers a seven-speed DSG gearbox option with the 1.0-litre turbo, but it’s a rather costly option, at £1,375, so we’d recommend sticking with the standard six-speed manual. 

Yet low running costs aren’t the only part of the R-Line’s appeal, as the more pumped- up exterior styling gives the otherwise conventionally styled Polo a lift. 

The front and rear bumpers have a more muscular look, while chunkier side skirts and darkened 16-inch alloys have also been added. The larger wheels do little to upset the ride, too, with the Polo remaining very composed and comfortable for such a small car. 

Inside, you’ll find a Golf R-like flat-bottom steering wheel, which, like in any other Polo, isn’t connected to the most direct of steering racks, but it’s weighty and accurate. Elsewhere, sporty side bolsters and R-Line-embossed seats add a touch of sparkle to the sophisticated cabin.

Key specs

  • Price: £17,590
  • Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl turbo
  • Power: 109bhp
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 9.3 seconds
  • Top speed: 122mph
  • Economy: 65.7mpg
  • CO2: 99g/km
  • On sale: Now