Volkswagen has revamped its long-standing Polo supermini for 2014. 

It may be a facelift but there’s more in the way of new engines and technology than there are changes to the exterior. Squint and you’ll notice mildly redesigned head and tail-lights, a new grille and bumpers, and there has been a series of subtle tweaks to the interior. 

The engines and transmissions have been completely shaken up and are all much cleaner and more economical.

They comprise five variants of petrol, one diesel with two different power outputs, and three transmission options.

There are six trim levels too. The 75hp 1.4 TDI hits a range low of 88g/km and a high of 83.1mpg. An 82g/km and 91.1mpg Bluemotion version is due by the end of the year and, for the first time, there will also be a petrol Bluemotion, promising 94g/km and 68.9mpg.

Despite those figures, diesels are expected to account for a mere 10% of sales, while the 60hp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol unit is tipped to be the biggest seller. 

The car is cheap to run on paper with an official 60.1mpg and 106g/km, and performs well on costs against key rivals (see table below).

But it requires a heavy right foot to make progress – as does the 75hp version of the same engine – while the peppy character of the same unit in the Up city car is lost with the Polo. It’s very quiet and comfortable for a supermini, but regardless of VW’s efforts to make this version more engaging, it’s still an uninspiring drive. 

This Polo heralds the introduction of a suite of new gadgets. VW’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking system is standard on all models and helps to stabilise the car after a crash to reduce the chances of a second clout.

The latest generation of the firm’s touch-screen infotainment system also comes as standard. It reacts to swiping movements like a smartphone, and there’s the option to upgrade to an even more swish 6.5in version for £700 from the SE model upwards. 

A first for both the Polo and VW is the £150 optional Mirrorlink system (see news p7). This allows the infotainment screen to sync up with a smartphone (you just plug the phone into the USB port with the usual cable) and everything on your phone’s screen, including apps, will appear and can be used on the car’s dashboard screen. It only works with up-to-the-minute Android phones at the moment, though. 

Finally, the satnav now has ‘one-stop destination input’, which means you just type the address in a single line as opposed to scrolling through multiple boxes and screens.  

There’s a huge amount of available technology and safety features for a supermini and, though the drive is lacklustre, you can forgive the Polo its dreary reputation for the advanced features, low running costs and its evergreen status as a robust little car. 


Volkswagen Polo 1.0 60 SE
P11D price £12,990
Model price range £11,100-£19,715
Residual value 38.7%
Depreciation £7965
Fuel £5872
SMR £1323
VED £40
National Insurance £860
Cost per mile 32.2p
Fuel consumption 60.1mpg
CO2 (tax) 106g/km (14%)
BIK 20/40% per month £30/£61