Skip advert
Advertisement

New Volkswagen Polo 1.0 petrol 2018 review

We've got our hands on the new Volkswagen Polo in the UK in 1.0 MPI guise, but is the 64bhp unit the engine to pick?

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

Find your Volkswagen Polo
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

There’s little to suggest that VW’s UK success with the Polo is about to change any time soon. The new model, once again, feels like the grown up option in the supermini class, with excellent interior quality, ride comfort, refinement and tech, plus an options list plucked from larger models. The naturally aspirated 1.0 MPI model will be cheap to insure, but it’s not our pick – the turbocharged 1.0-litre TSI is the real sweet spot in the range, and is predicted to be the biggest seller.

Advertisement - Article continues below

The New Year kicks off with a big launch for new car buyers in the UK; the new sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo is now here. 

In 2017 it was the UK’s seventh best selling car with almost 48,000 registrations, and Volkswagen’s second biggest success story, behind the Golf. Since the first generation model over 14 million Polos have been produced, with around ten per cent of those cars registered on British plates. 

Best superminis on sale

As such, the launch line up is pretty broad, and will continue to grow as the year goes by. Unsurprisingly, VW expects the turbocharged 1.0-litre TSI to be the most popular engine choice; it’s an engine we’ve already sampled, and driven here is one of its little brothers – the naturally aspirated 1.0 MPI. 

This 64bhp, naturally aspirated three-cylinder unit is as cheap and basic as things get under the bonnet for the new Polo. It chalks up a £1,300 list price saving over the 94bhp 1.0-litre TSI unit, and is very cheap to insure with just a group one rating in either S or the slightly plusher SE trim level.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

As such, on paper at least it looks like the Polo to go for if being shrewd with cash is your thing; even the 60.1mpg official fuel economy isn’t that far behind that of the new-generation TSI engine. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

• New Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI review

However, the tiny 95Nm of torque the engine produces means you really have to dig deep to get the Polo moving on faster roads such as dual carriageways, which also bites hard into that decent claimed fuel economy figure. When up to speed it’s impressively refined, with the three-cylinder thrum of the engine well isolated. The switch to the new MQB AO platform means that it feels grown up to drive, while VW’s engineers have done an excellent job at preparing the Polo for pothole sullen roads here in Britain, with ride quality that feels better than that of the Ford Fiesta.

It’s not quite as fun to drive as the Fiesta though, and the peppy 1.0-litre TSI engine remains our pick over this basic 1.0 MPI unit. It’s a much better engine choice all-round, and on a PCP scheme may only cost a couple of quid more per month depending on your deposit. 

Nevertheless, comfort is one of the new Polo’s big strong points. The new interior looks smart and clean, and makes use of the firm’s trademark soft touch plastics to feel like one of the most premium cabins in the segment. SE trim is expected to be the most popular choice in showrooms, boasting a sharp and slick eight-inch infotainment screen with VW’s Car-Net App Connect system, a leather steering wheel, and a comprehensive suite of driver assists and safety features, including autonomous emergency braking. 

At this level there’s still plenty of equipment left on the options list though, such as cruise control and parking sensors. The Active Info Display digital instrument panel is available, but is also reserved as an optional extra. 

It’s also more practical than the Fiesta with a much larger boot. In fact, the 351-litre cargo space is larger than some cars in the segment above, including the Focus

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Car Deal of the Day: stylish Peugeot 2008 is a steal at an incredible £142 a month
Peugeot 2008 facelift - full front
News

Car Deal of the Day: stylish Peugeot 2008 is a steal at an incredible £142 a month

Buyers can snap up the Peugeot 2008 small SUV at a bargain price; it’s our Car Deal of the Day for 10 April at just £142 a month
10 Apr 2024
New Ford Focus ST Edition is Ford’s “most complete” hot hatch ever
2024 Ford Focus ST Edition - front tracking
News

New Ford Focus ST Edition is Ford’s “most complete” hot hatch ever

Ford is making big claims about its latest fast family car, which adds exclusive equipment but no more power
10 Apr 2024
Alfa Romeo Milano 2024 preview: walkaround, specs and full details
Alfa Romeo Milano - front 3/4 static
News

Alfa Romeo Milano 2024 preview: walkaround, specs and full details

Alfa Romeo re-entered the small SUV sector with the new Milano offered in pure electric and petrol forms
13 Apr 2024