Volkswagen Polo SEL

1.0

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

LUCKY the car maker who can produce a model that sits equally classlessly outside a stately home or modest side street semi. Not many manage it.

The original Mini was certainly the sort of car that could be driven by duchess or dolly bird without either thinking they'd rather not be seen in one.

Today, the VW Golf fills the role of all things to all men (and women). Turn up to the Palace in your GTI and nobody will reckon you've hit a rocky patch at the bank.

Shrink the Golf into a Polo and the same applies, but at a gently lower pitch; for here is a car that says its owner knows a decent set of wheels but really has nothing to prove in the automotive minefield.

Plenty big enough for most families, smart looking in a restrained sort of way and built with the solidity of something hewn from the solid, the Polo tackles things with an easy aplomb.

Pick the precise specification of the Polo driven here and the easy-going nature of the car is enhanced by the lack of a clutch pedal to process, instead there's £1,350 worth of automatic transmission to make this already grown up smallish car feel positively mature.

It's not just the way the Polo copes with gearchanges that makes for unflustered progress, the car rides with the confidence of something rather larger and its lower build, compared to the current swarm of SUVs, makes cornering a relaxed business too.

Part of the reason today's Polo feels so grown up is shown by the tape measure, which will tell you the car is rather larger than Golfs made not so many years ago. It ceased to be properly small car a generation or two since.

But it remains smaller than most other of today's road users because they've also grown up (and out) too. And every centimetre saved makes for more relaxed progress when the traffic builds up.

With the Polo that bottleneck is as likely to be found on the way to the station car park in the morning as on the last minute rush to the school gates, or the supermarket for something for supper.

If that rush takes in some open roads on the way you'll discover that the smallness of the Polo's engine - a mere 999ccs - is no bar to making swift forward progress, the distant thrum from its three turbocharged cylinders providing surprising performance.

Even using most of it for most of the 500 or so miles of the drive, the dash readout's 45.3mpg seemed an encouraging result. A little restraint would no doubt have done better, but this is a car that likes to get a bit of a move on.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Polo SEL 1.0

Price: £20,070

Mechanical: 113bhp, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 124mph

0-62mph: 9.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 46.6

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 111g/km

Bik rating: 26%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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