What is it like on the inside?
Continuing the theme, it remains very logical inside. Every Polo now comes with a customisable 8.0-inch (10.25-inch in upper spec) digital instrument panel as standard with a customisable view. As is invariably the case, you’ll try a few of them out and stick with the one that most looks like analogue dials.
Centre left sits the excellent 8.0-inch (or optional 9.2-inch) infotainment touchscreen, with fine graphics and easy inputs in the form of rotary knobs to control volume and map zoom. The layout is refreshingly clean, devoting almost all its real estate to whatever you’ve chosen to focus on, while Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard.
Higher spec systems get proximity sensors, so when your fingers get close it brings up options, while voice control is also supported and works well enough.
What’s the button situation?
Well – below the screen are the air vents, and below those is the elephant in the room: the temperature controls. Credit where credit’s due – in the Polo (unlike the Golf), Volkswagen has kept them separate to the main infotainment display. And in lowest spec Life trim, it consists of easy-to-use buttons and knobs.
In the upper trim levels, however, it’s replaced by an infuriating touch button panel, with sliders performing the functions of knobs and buttons. Painful. Said panel (with auto aircon) is optionally available to Life buyers, but best avoided.
How practical is the Polo?
The front seats are a good shape and can be adjusted into exactly the right place for almost any driver. All the pedals and small controls are easily got at too. Open the back door and it's roomy enough for the kids, though it’ll be a squeeze for any more than two adults, the tallest of whom may find legroom slightly lacking.
The boot, however, is impressively spacious – 333 litres versus 292 litres in the Ford Fiesta. You’ll easily fit the weekly shopping or household gubbins in. With the seats folded flat you get 1,125 litres of space, which again trumps the Fiesta’s 1,093.
The cabin feels robust and well-put together in typical German fashion, but there’s a lot of hard plastic – the entire door casings, for instance – but its rough and ready nature at least makes it suitable for whatever you can throw at it. As do the front and rear pair of USB sockets, which’ll keep passengers from complaining on long journeys. There’s plenty of pockets for stuffing any drinks and additional gear in, too.