In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Polo - Interior, design and technology

The facelifted Volkswagen Polo introduced subtle exterior changes, with a stylish cabin and straight-forward infotainment system

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Interior, design and technology Rating

4.1 out of 5

Price
£20,945 to £32,510
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From a design standpoint, the sixth-generation Volkswagen Polo is an evolution of the fifth-generation car, and while it lacks the sharp flair of the SEAT Ibiza or the Mazda 2, the Polo is still a neatly designed supermini, it just looks more like a Golf than ever, especially because it's grown considerably in width. 

While the business-as-usual shape means that the Polo isn’t quite as eye-catching as some rivals, you can’t fault the level of the fit and finish. Tight shut lines are a sign of its quality, plus the classless looks mean it will appeal to a broad cross-section of customers. A decent paint colour palette and choice of optional alloy wheels means that you’ll be able to make the Polo your own, although personalisation options are not as extensive as they once were.

A facelift in 2021 brought in exterior styling tweaks, with new matrix-LED headlights as standard on the mid-spec Style model and above, along with a full-width LED running light at the front. The nose is sharper, while the redesigned rear lights look very similar to the cluster design on the Polo's bigger Golf sibling. It's in the cabin where the biggest changes have occurred.

Every Polo version features a standard digital instrument display, measuring either eight or 10.25 inches. A multifunction steering wheel is also included, along with a redesigned panel for the heating and ventilation controls – which are now touch-sensitive. We generally prefer to have physical dials for the air-con (as seen in the current Vauxhall Corsa), but at least the controls are located within easy reach on the dashboard, rather than being buried within the infotainment screen as they are on the Peugeot 208.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

The Polo's infotainment system works well, with bright, clear graphics and rapid responses to prods of the screen. Bluetooth connectivity is standard, along with a DAB radio and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. Volkswagen’s We Connect Plus system is also included for all versions, bringing real-time traffic info and live music streaming.

Compared to the likes of the Hyundai i20 or Ibiza, the eight-inch touchscreen in the Polo is pretty small. Still, it's neatly integrated into the Polo’s dash design, and although the system itself isn’t as modern as the set-ups used by its Spanish or Korean rivals in that test, it remains logical and straightforward to use. 

The mapping is easy to use, thanks to a screen that responds quickly to pinching and swiping motions. However, the smaller display size means that the on-screen keyboard is a little small, making address entry a little fiddly, we found. At least there are shortcut keys surrounding Polo’s eight-inch screen, and there's a proximity sensor means that menu keys appear as your hand draws close.

The Digital Cockpit Pro instrument cluster in our test car was simply excellent. It’s easy to switch through the various functions of the 10.25-inch display via the steering wheel buttons, and the dark background means that it isn’t a strain on the eyes, even at night.

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 Life 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £19,875

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 Life 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £19,875

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TSI GTI Edition 25 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £31,045
News reporter

As our news reporter, Ellis is responsible for covering everything new and exciting in the motoring world, from quirky quadricycles to luxury MPVs. He was previously the content editor for DrivingElectric and won the Newspress Automotive Journalist Rising Star award in 2022.

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