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In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Polo - Reliability and safety

The Volkswagen Polo chalks up an impressive Euro NCAP score, with additional safety tech on the options list

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Reliability and Safety Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£20,975 to £27,475
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The Volkswagen Polo’s high level of perceived quality is matched with strong safety features, culminating in a five-star rating from Euro NCAP in 2022, beating the disappointing four-star result for the Hyundai i20, which was tested under similar criteria as the Polo.

Entry-level Life models feature a host of active safety kit, including a driver fatigue detection warning, a radar-controlled emergency braking system, a Lane Assist function, and hill start assist. Style trim and above adds VW's Dynamic headlight range control, which can self-adjust the main beam pattern while driving to avoid dazzling oncoming vehicles. There’s also a Dynamic road sign display system that flags road sign/speed information on the digital instrument screen.

Travel Assist is also available, combining the adaptive cruise control and the Lane Assist systems to help keep you within the centre of your lane while driving along a motorway of dual-carriageway when the cruise control and lane-keep assistance systems are activated.

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A driver's assistance pack is offered as an option and incorporates a lane change side assist system that monitors rear blind spots. If you want to specify a rear-view camera, you'll need to add this as an option.

The Polo finished in 62nd spot on a 75-car list in our 2023 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, with Volkswagen placing a disappointing 27th out of 32 brands. For comparison, the Toyota Yaris came in 36th place, while the Toyota brand placed 12th out of 32 manufacturers.

Warranty

Volkswagen provides a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, but it’s worth investigating the small print. The manufacturer covers years one and two for unlimited mileage, while year three is a 12-month/60,000-mile retailer warranty. The manufacturer warranty will remain valid if you exceed 60,000 miles in the first 24 months, but the third year’s cover provided by the dealer will no longer be valid.

You don’t need to delve into the small print to realise that the VW warranty isn’t as long as the up to 10 years or up to 100,000 miles of cover provided by Toyota - provided you have an annual service carried out at a Toyota main dealer, the warranty will be extended by 12 months at a time.

An extended warranty is available on the Polo, covering up to a maximum of five years or 90,000 miles. Body protection is good; the Polo’s internal body sections and panels covered against rusting through from the inside for 12 years. The paintwork is covered for just three years, though.

Servicing

Volkswagen offers two servicing plans. The Fixed Service plan is recommended for drivers covering fewer than 10,000 miles a year, predominantly driving their Polo in urban environments and stopping a lot in traffic. The Flexible Service plan is aimed at drivers regularly chalking up more than 25 miles a day with plenty of motorway miles per year.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 Life 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £20,975

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.0 Life 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £20,975

Fastest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI 115 R-Line 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £26,975
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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