Volkswagen Polo SE L 1.0 TSI: long-term test review

First report: Our new Volkswagen Polo supermini makes a great first impression with everyone who drives itVerdict4.5The Volkswagen Polo is one of the most popular cars on our fleet already, thanks to its impressive all-round ability. We love the way the VW looks and drives, which is promising for the months ahead.

Mileage: 1,250
Economy: 42.0mpg

When I heard that my next car would be the new Volkswagen Polo, I was excited to get behind the wheel. After all, a small car like this is perfect for my short commute and small trips around London, while I’d heard about how comfortable the supermini is from colleagues who had already driven it.

But photographers Pete Gibson and Otis Clay, as well as editor-at-large James Batchelor, have been standing in the way of me getting hold of the keys, and despite the fact that the car has been on our fleet for more than a month, I’ve only just started using it.

• Best superminis 2018/2019

So instead of reporting directly on what my new Polo is like, I’ve had to ask them what they thought about the brand’s latest supermini.

Pete was first to drive the car, because he needed to use it to get to a photoshoot. He loved the Volkswagen’s surprising practicality; despite being small on the outside, the Polo has a 351-litre boot, which was more than spacious enough for all of his gear. He also said that the VW supermini is better to drive than ever, especially because it feels more grown up on a motorway. Even though it has a 1.0-litre engine, he told me the Polo easily keeps up with traffic, while the cabin is quiet at a cruise, too.

I’ve only spent a few miles on the motorway so far, but I’m inclined to agree with Pete there. It’s definitely more like a VW Golf than before.

Pete also loved the way the car looks, especially the lighting signature at the front. I’m a fan of this as well; it gives the Polo a very modern appearance.

Otis was next to drive the VW, because Pete’s own new fleet car had arrived. He was similarly impressed with the supermini’s big boot, but also praised its handling.

Otis loved its balance of ride comfort and fun, because it manages to drive smoothly over harsh surfaces while also remaining relatively fun on a twisty section of road. Unlike Pete, his only reservation here was that with all of his heavy camera kit in the back, the 113bhp 1.0-litre engine felt a little hamstrung.

But when I was driving on my own, with nothing in the back, I felt more than happy with the little car’s performance. It feels just as nippy around town as I would want.

James was next up in the Polo, and he agreed with both photographers about the ride quality being excellent. He is also a fan of our car’s tasteful interior, which uses grey and black plastic trim. However, it doesn’t feel too cheap inside, and James thinks Volkswagen has used materials in a clever way to give the supermini more of an upmarket air.

That leads on to James’ other point about the Polo, especially the model we have on test. He loves how well it fits in to any kind of lifestyle. Whether you’re driving to work, carrying kids to school or heading to a fancy cocktail party, the car fits in and looks the part. I thought it would be my turn to drive the Polo after James – I’m going to be running it for the next six months, after all – but before I could do so we needed to take some photos of it, and senior reviewer Sam Naylor volunteered to drive.

He was impressed by the car’s precise steering and neat gearchange, along with the entertaining noise from the 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine.

Finally, after fighting my colleagues for the keys, I’m now settling into life behind the wheel of the Volkswagen.

So far, despite only spending a small amount of time with the car, I have to agree with the other members of the team: it’s a great small car, with a classy interior, a comfortable ride and a big boot. I’m really looking forward to taking the Polo on some longer trips, as well as using it for nipping about town, to see where it works best.

I just hope that I can keep hold of the keys, because it seems more and more of my workmates are vying for a go in the newest VW supermini.

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old living in Banbury, Oxfordshire, with three penalty points.

Key specs

  • Model: Volkswagen Polo SE L 1.0 TSI 115PS 6spd manual 5dr
  • On fleet since: September 2018
  • Price new: £18,560
  • Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl petrol, 113bhp
  • CO2/tax: 107g/km/£140
  • Options: Pure White paint (£340), 17-inch alloy wheels (£450). Art Velours upholstery (£1,000)
  • Insurance*: Group: 11/Quote £390
  • Mileage/mpg: 1,250/ 42.0mpg
  • Any problems?: None so far

For an alternative review of the latest Volkswagen Polo Hatchback visit our sister site

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