Volkswagen Polo Review

By Alexi Falson on 23 Aug 2022
image for Volkswagen Polo Review Volkswagen’s smallest car, the Polo has been one of the heavy-hitters of the small hatchback market for decades now.

In its latest generation, VW has continued to refine its recipe, with the linup offering a little something for all types of buyers with its entry-level Polo remaining the value pick of the bunch, while the GTI offers sports car thrills in a small package.

The compact hatch market remains one of the most hotly-contested segments of the car market, though, so how does the Polo hold up against its competitors? Let’s find out.

Starting Price: $25,250

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Volkswagen Polo (LIFE) Specifications

Model Date 2022
Model POLO
Series AW MY22
Variant LIFE
Transmission 5 SP MANUAL
Drive FWD
Engine TDFI
Engine capacity 999
Engine configuration VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM / 12 valves
Engine RPM 5000 / 2000
Cylinders T3
Torque 175
KW 70
Fuel tank size 40.0
Fuel usage specs 5.4 / 0
CO2 124
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Volkswagen Polo car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Volkswagen Polo lineup kicks off with the Polo Life manual which is priced at $25,250, while the Polo Life automatic jumps to $28,250.

Stepping up to Volkswagen’s mid-spec Polo Style brings the price to $31,250, while the sporty, range-topping Polo GTI is priced at $38,750.

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What Features Does the Volkswagen Polo Have?

The entry-level Polo Life comes riding on 15-inch alloys, and receives a set of LED head and tail lights, cloth upholstery with a leather-trimmed steering wheel, cruise control, a reversing camera with front and rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, wireless smartphone charging, an 8.0-inch digital driver’s display and an 8.0-inch infotainment system packed with DAB+ radio Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Stepping up to the Polo Style adds a set 16-inch alloys, with both Matrix LED headlights and upgraded LED tail lights, as well as fog lights, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, sport seats up front, adaptive cruise control, autonomous parking and some added safety tech we’ll cover later in this review.

Opting for the GTI flagship adds a set of 18-inch alloys, adaptive suspension system, keyless entry & start, sport seats, a sporty steering wheel with shift paddles, GTI styling package, Tartan upholstery and a wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto system.

Range Features:

  • 15-inch alloys 

  • LED head & tail lights 

  • Cloth upholstery with leather steering wheel 

  • Cruise control 

  • Reversing camera with front & rear sensors 

  • Wireless smartphone charging 

  • 8.0-inch digital driving display 

  • 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto 

  • 16-inch alloys (Style) 

  • Matrix LED headlights with upgraded tail lights (Style) 

  • Adaptive cruise control (Style) 

  • Ambient lighting (Style) 

  • Autonomous parking (Style) 

  • 18-inch alloys (GTI) 

  • Adaptive suspension (GTI)

  • Sports seats & steering wheel (GTI)

  • GTI styling package (GTI)

  • Tartan cloth upholstery (GTI)

  • Wireless Apple CarPlay & Android Auto (GTI)

Volkswagen Polo Colours

The VW Polo range is available in a range of five colours, including Pure White, Deep Black Pearl, Reef Blue Metallic, Limestone Grey Metallic and Flash Red.

Is it Comfortable to Drive?

Volkswagen is known for its premium-feeling vehicles, and the latest generation Polo lineup upholds this reputation without a problem.

Everything from the Polo’s silky-smooth engine and transmission combination, ride quality and user-friendly nature make it a perfect option for those looking for a premium commuter without breaking the bank.

Both the Polo Life & Style come powered by a 1.0-litre turbocharged engine producing 70kW of power and 175Nm of torque in the manual, which increases to 85kW/200Nm in the dual-clutch automatic variant.

Keep in mind that power figures drop for the manual variants of the Polo Life and Style, so if you’re looking for the best bang-for-buck, spending a little extra for the DSG automatic extracts a little bit more power from the turbocharged three-cylinder engine.

As a daily driver, the base engine lineup is silky smooth and offers a heap of torque to get up and moving, while the responsive steering and lightweight platform give the Polo some added agility and character.

The Polo’s small proportions lend themselves perfectly to darting around city streets and squeezing into tight car spots with ease, making for a great option for the urban jungle.

If you’re looking for a smooth and comfortable commuter, look no further than the Polo with the base engine, which truly stands as one of the segment’s leaders when it comes to overall driving quality.

For those looking for some thrills, though, the Polo GTI remains one of the best hot hatches on the market.

The GTI comes powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder producing a hearty 147kW of power and 320Nm of torque, which sends power to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The driving experience in the GTI is truly thrilling, with its perky engine offering a heap of torque to get you up to speed, a very capable front end that maintains a tonne of grip, and a very approachable platform for user-friendly fun.

Is it Practical and Spacious?

While the Polo is no doubt limited by its small hatch proportions, VW’s clever interior team have designed a surprisingly practical, well-equipped and handsome cabin that helps to justify the Polo’s ever-rising price tag.

Up front, the driver and front passenger are treated to a heap of headroom which, combined with a decent-sized windshield adds to the sense of space in the cabin.

The differences between the entry-level and mid-spec Life & Style are pretty much relegated to the sportier seats, while the overall interior quality and finishes look great in both thanks to a recent update from Volkswagen.

Step up to the GTI and you’ll get that iconic Tartan pattern for the seats with red contrast stitching, and a sportier pilot’s seat with a flat-bottomed steering wheel with shift paddles.

Practical elements in the front of the cabin come in the form of a storage tray behind the gear lever, a pair of cupholders, storage inside the folding arm rest and some sizable door bins either side.

Move to the rear of the cabin and you’ll find a comfortable benchseat for passengers, with a great amount of headroom and a decent amount of legroom. Taller passengers might struggle on long distance trips, but overall, the Polo does well to accommodate tall passengers considering its stature.

The rear of the cabin receives a pair of USB-C ports, as well as a set of ISOFIX anchors and top tether mounts for child seats.

Finally, the Polo comes fitted with a very decent-sized boot for its class, with boot space figures standing at 351L for the Life, Style and GTI variants, which adds the final feather to the Polo’s impressive practicality cap.

Is it Safe?

The Volkswagen Polo range has been awarded ANCAP’s maximum five-star safety rating, scoring 96% for adult protection, 85% for child protection, 76% for vulnerable road user protection and 59% for safety assist technologies.

As standard, the entry-level Polo Life comes fitted with autonomous emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, a rear-view camera with front and rear parking sensors, lane-keep assistance, driver drowsiness detection and a heap of airbags.

Upgrading to the Polo Style and GTI adds rear cross-traffic alerts and a blind-spot monitoring system that remain optional extras on the base-model.

Is it Fuel Efficient?

Fuel efficiency has always been a strong selling point for the Polo thanks to its lightweight platform and Volkswagen’s expertise with fuel-efficient engines.

The latest Polo is no different, returning strong fuel efficiency figures of 5.4/100km in the Life and Style variants, while the sporty Polo GTI is rated at 6.5/100km on a combined cycle.

This makes the Polo an incredibly fuel-efficient little hatchback while maintaining a healthy power and torque figure to get the driver up to speed quickly, and smoothly.

Our Verdict: Is the Volkswagen Polo Worth it?

While prices for the VW Polo continue to move north, so too has the quality and overall driving refinement on offer from the platform, making it an incredibly strong performer within the hatchback market- if not the benchmark.

While a full range of safety equipment would be a nice addition to the entry-level Polo Life, the package as a whole performs well enough to justify its price tag, and feels absolutely lovely on the road.

If you’re checking out your options within the premium hatch segment, be sure to put the Volkswagen Polo atop your shortlist.

On that note, if you’re in the market for a new car, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Five-year, unlimited KM warranty 

  2. Automatic Life & Style variants produce more power than manual equivalents 

  3. Five-star ANCAP safety rating 

  4. 351L of boot space 

  5. 5.4/100km fuel economy rises to 6.5L/100km in GTI


  • Perky engine for commuting and spirited driving 

  • Impressive fuel efficiency 

  • Surprising practicality with a decent-sized boot

  • GTI offers go-kart thrills


  • Some safety tech reserved for mid-spec and GTI variants 

  • DSG auto can lurch at low speeds 

  • Steep list prices & servicing costs

OnlineAuto Rating: 9/10

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Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

Have any questions? Call us on 1300 719 925

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