The Volkswagen Polo has long been a sound choice due to its practicality, low running costs and trademark quality. It's getting on in years, and the styling is a bit plain when compared to the likes of the Renault Clio, while the Ford Fiesta has the Polo licked on driving dynamics, and it can't match the latest Skoda Fabia for space. However, as an all-round package it's hard to beat, which is why we named it the 2016 Supermini of the Year at our annual New Car Awards.
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There's plenty of engine choice in the Polo range, starting with a basic 1.0-litre three-cylinder, going right up to the rip-snorting 189bhp 1.8 TSI turbo petrol in the Polo GTI. Most engines are economical, especially the diesels. The 1.4 TDI is supposedly capable of 80mpg, while even the petrols can provide great economy - the BlueMotion petrol model will return nearly 70mpg.
The real cost savings come at resale time, as the Polo's classy image ensures it has strong residuals. Volkswagen's premium image helps - and the trademark build quality ensures it's a reputation deserved.
VW Polo 1.2 TSI SE 90 5dr manual
The Volkswagen Polo is a perennial front-runner in the supermini class, and it sits between the up! city car and Golf hatchback in the VW line-up.
The Polo has been part of the VW range for over 40 years, and is one of the benchmark superminis that other models must be judged against. It's part of the establishment alongside the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208, Renault Clio and Vauxhall Corsa, but there are a variety of other serious contenders. This includes fellow VW Group superminis the Audi A1, Skoda Fabia and SEAT Ibiza, and a slew of Far Eastern rivals, including the Hyundai i20, Honda Jazz, Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris and Mazda 2.
Older versions of the Polo were offered in coupe, saloon and estate body styles, but the current model is only offered as a three or five-door hatchback. The five-door has a premium of around 650 over the three-door, but it's a price that most buyers think is worth paying, because the five-door accounts for more than two thirds of sales.
As for trims, the range starts with the entry-level S, then goes through Match and Beats to R-Line and SEL. There's also a super-efficient BlueMotion model, which now has a frugal petrol engine instead of a diesel, the sporty BlueGT and the rapid Polo GTI.
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