Volkswagen Polo

R-Line 1.0 TSI

Volkswagen Polo, front static 2
Volkswagen Polo, front action
Volkswagen Polo, front static
Volkswagen Polo, side action
Volkswagen Polo, rear static
Volkswagen Polo, boot
Volkswagen Polo, dashboard
Volkswagen Polo, front seats
Volkswagen Polo, rear seats

‘SMALL is big and big is small' might be a good mission statement for the Volkswagen Polo in many respects.

As small cars go it's certainly pretty big - having grown considerably since the first Polo broke cover back in the 1970s and its now a range that specialises in offering a variety of small engines that are all big on performance.

There's a great picture doing the rounds on social networking sites that shows how much a MINI, a Fiat 500 and a Porsche 911 have grown since they, or the cars that inspired them, first started out.

The Fiat 500 seems to have almost doubled in size but all of the modern versions dwarf their ‘ancestors'.

Okay, so the Volkswagen Polo maybe isn't quite as fashionable but it's certainly put on the pounds - to the point where it's probably now the same size as the original Golf.

The good thing about that is that the Polo is now an immensely versatile vehicle. Originally very much a small car or even a city car of its day originally - it's now more than capable of being a family car too.

Okay, so the boot's not huge but living with one for a week as a family runabout certainly saw it measure up more.

It's a comfortable five-seater with a surprisingly roomy cabin and in R-Line spec has plenty of creature comforts too.

Who said small cars had to be basic runabouts where getting from A to B is all that matters.

Okay, an R-Line version might be seen as going a tad over the top but enhancing the overall driver and passenger experience in a small car can feel just as good in a more luxurious executive-style motor.

R-Line features include specially-designed bumpers, radiator grille and side skirts which combine to give a sporty and statuesque profile.

There are also figure-hugging sports seats and even aluminium-effect pedals to add to the racier character.

Aren't all these accoutrements a little over the top in a 1.0-litre car I hear you ask.

Indeed not, for the small-engined Polos mid-way through the second decade of the 21st century are sprightly and agile performers too.

This is where the big is small bit comes in - in terms of big performance from small engines.

While there are 1.4-litre diesel and 1.8-litre petrol versions available I expect most Polo buyers are going to be interested in VW's range of three-cylinder petrol and diesel units which pack a lot into a small package and combine efficiency and performance to great effect.

Potent 1.0-litre petrol units might be nothing new but it still feels a little odd in some respects and comes with an expectation that it isn't really going to be up to the job.

But the 1.0-litre fitted to this car will take you from 0-62mph in just 9.2 seconds and has a top speed of 122mph yet will also return more than 65mpg on the combined cycle and emits so little CO2 you don't have to pay road tax.

It's capable and sprightly with a turn of pace that takes you by surprise. About the only criticism that could be levelled at it is that it might occasionally feel lacking on the open road with a full load but such occasions are few and far between to be fair.

Given its relatively compact dimensions its a fun car to drive that handles nicely too.

Refinement is a predominant theme also, both in terms of engine performance and interior fit and finish.

While the rid could perhaps be described as firm it's far from being jarring or unpleasant.

A smooth six-speed gearbox also adds to the overall driving experience.

The Polo sits above many other superminis when it comes to interior quality and fit and finish.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Polo R-Line 1.0 TSI

Price: £16,965

Mechanical: 108bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:122mph

0-62mph: 9.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.6

Insurance Group: 18

C02 emissions: 99g/km

Bik rating: 14%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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