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.

Disqus - noscript

This looks like the sort of car that would suit me, sporty looks but it will keep the insurance company happy. I'll certainly consider it to replace my Fiat Grande Punto.

I contacted my local dealer when the R-line was first announced a while ago, and they held out little hope of actually getting hold of one. It seems they struggle similarly with the SEL tsi model, and have so far been unable to come up with one for me to even look at let alone test drive.

Drove one at the weekend. Nice sporty style and performance as and when you need it. Only negative point is the gap on the wheel arches due to 16" alloys. Needs 17" if I am honest other than that if you want a car that is sporty looking and not something that's going to cost a fortune to insure or something that looks like it has driven through Halfords front window then this is the car!

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