YOU don't need to be big to be powerful seems to be Volkswagen's adage with its Polo models.
The bulk of the range on offer now - both petrol and diesel - use three-cylinder engines with many of the petrol ones being less than 1.0-litre.
That might sound a bit small and potentially lacking in oomph but it's definitely not the case.
Certainly the 110bhp TSI version that I tried proved to be a bit of a revelation, pulling vigorously even with four up and becoming decidedly nippy when just one or two people were travelling.
With a very respectable 0-62 miles per hour acceleration time of just 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 122mph this car has the sort of performance one would normally associate with a 1.4-litre or 1.6-litre of just a few years ago.
And by opting for the R-Line version you get a car which looks the part. Its ‘R-Line' styling pack means it comes with uniquely shaped front and rear bumpers, radiator grille and sporty side skirts which really make it stand out from the standard models.
And of course the bonus of being able to squeeze so much power from a small engine is that you dramatically reduce running costs. With an average fuel consumption of more than 65 miles per gallon, no road tax to pay and insurance of just 18E this Polo has a lot going for it.
Inside too the R-Line gets the sporty treatment with racing style seats complete with side bolsters to hold you in place on fast corners and R-Line logos on the head restraints as well as aluminium look pedals.
Perhaps surprisingly the dashboard is very similar to those in the more up-market cars like the Passat, with a 6.5-inch touchscreen at its centre which is also used for those cars with the optional extra of satellite navigation.
Polos have certainly grown in size over the years with the latest one not dissimilar in dimensions to the original Golf Mk 1. That means interior space is good and a deep boot complete with double decker floor means it can accommodate far more than the weekly shopping bags.
The car comes well equipped, with standard features including a hill hold clutch, stop/start function, cruise control, DAB radio and alloy wheels with a full size spare.
Despite its diminutive engine the 110bhp model - which comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as opposed to the five-speed on the 60bhp version - is surprisingly quiet. Put the engine under pressure and you can pick up the distinctive throaty three-cylinder sound but on this model it does have a sporting note to it.
The ride too is comfortable but sportingly firm making it ideal for long distance travelling.
The original Polo was announced in 1975, and since then total Polo sales worldwide have topped 14 million with over 1,235,000 sold in the UK.