Volkswagen Polo Road Test, Review
While technically a German car, though built in South America, the 2015 Volkswagen Polo makes a compelling argument in the competitive city car market.
Prices for the baby VW kick off at $16,490 and there are two model grades - Trendline and Comfortline.
I road tested the upper-spec 81TSI Comfortline with an auto transmission – a combo that costs from $21,090.
Just the one engine capacity features across the 2015 Volkswagen Polo range – 1.2 litre turbo-petrol, though there are two different outputs.
The Trendline offers 66kW and 160Nm, the Comfortline gets 81kW and 175Nm.
Manual and auto variants combined with either engine all use the same amount of fuel – a claimed combined 4.8L/100kms, I managed to average 6.7L/100kms in a week of city driving, not a bad result.
Fuel economy is assisted by an engine stop-start system that can be overridden at the touch of a button.
On the road the Volkswagen Polo is easy to drive and manoeuvre with surprisingly good ride and handling and a great little turning circle.
The little engine gets the Polo moving along quite well, though being a turbo model it can be quite dull when the revs are down.
The six-speed DSG transmission does a good job of maximizing the engines modest power and torque outputs, though I felt at times when moving downhill the transmission was a little too-keen to downshift, thus pushing engine speed unnecessarily up and equating to a sometimes jerky drive.
This is exacerbated even further when the transmission shifter is moved into the ‘sport’ shift mode.
My only real complaint with the Polo is transmission related, and that’s the time it takes to engage either reverse or drive.
It takes what seems to be an eternity to give you either drive or reverse, a frustration when trying to make a three point turn or reverse park.
And, if completing a manoeuvre on a slope, the vehicle will roll back or forward freely until the gear is engaged.
Inside the cabin, the Volkswagen Polo has quite an attractive and very functional layout.
Large and clear gauges and an easy to read driver info screen are highlights, as is the sporty steering wheel and large fold-down centre armrest.
Incorporating a small storage area inside, the armrest does have one downside – it tends to inhibit access to the parking brake and the driver’s seat-belt buckle.
Legroom up front is OK, though access to and legroom in the back is quite limited.
Boot space is respectably sized, especially when the sub-floor space is taken into account, as is the glove box.
Standard features in this grade of Volkswagen Polo include tilt and reach steering adjustment, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, auto headlights and a cooled glove box.
I thought the Volkswagen Polo seats were fairly flat and firm, perhaps a touch disappointing given the otherwise quite acceptable ambience of the cabin.
While, on the outside, the Polo Comfortline features attractive 15” alloy wheels.
A full five-star ANCAP safety rating features across the 2015 Volkswagen Polo range.
Summing it up; the Polo is a capable little city runabout that gives the reassuring feel of a German model without breaking the bank.
Not as well-rounded as the slightly larger Volkswagen Golf (our 2014 Car of the Year!), highlights include the ride and handling and respectable fuel consumption.
The manual version might also be worth a look if you’re trying to save a few dollars.
Once again though the sluggish DSG auto in the Polo was enough for me to take a couple of points off what is an otherwise quite likeable little offering.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Volkswagen Polo 81TSI Comfortline
- Engine: 1.2 litre turbo-petrol producing 81kW and 175Nm
- Transmission: Seven-speed DSG automatic
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: Three years
- Origin: South America
- Price: From $18,590
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Volkswagen Mk.5 Polo.