Britain’s best sellers: Volkswagen Polo
Why Volkswagen Polo is popular?
Volkswagen knows a thing or two about making popular cars, the Golf is the second best-selling car in the UK, but the Golf’s smaller sibling, the Polo, is also a regular sight in the top ten list. Last year it was the ninth most popular car with 37,453 registrations, placing it firmly ahead of the Kia Sportage. When you consider one of the Polo’s main rivals, the Ford Fiesta, has been the best-selling car in Britain since 2009 then it’s safe to say we love superminis here in the UK. The Polo is on a par with the Ford Fiesta in terms of price, but let’s examine the other factors which make it so popular.
What’s so good about the VW Polo
As one of the smallest cars in Volkswagen’s line up, the Polo could be seen as a ‘gateway drug’ for the brand: an affordable way to get the build quality and badge status which people associate with VW. But there’s certainly more to it than that. The Polo’s strongest quality is its interior, it’s arguably the best in the class, benefitting from the trickledown effect from the VW Golf’s superb interior tech, high quality materials and cabin layout. Many people dub the Polo the ‘mini-Golf’ (pun intended, we’re sure) as a result. The Polo is also a great looking car, albeit with slightly more sober styling than the Ford Fiesta, which makes it a popular choice with buyers who still want a small car, but maybe something they feel is a bit more serious than the Fiesta.
On top of great styling and a class-leading cabin, the Polo drives extremely well. It’s easy to handle, being small and nimble, but also a lot of fun when pushed a bit harder, and it rides well over the pot-hole scarred UK roads. Like the Ford Fiesta, the Polo appeals to broad spectrum of customers thanks to its wide range of engine and trim choices. There’s a Beats Edition, for the younger crowd, a very frugal 1-litre 80bhp engine for those who want something cheap to run, and a spicy 2-litre turbo GTI model, which produces a Fiesta ST-rivalling 197bhp. Again, it’s the same engine used in the Golf GTI, just down tuned for the lighter model.
A brief history of the Volkswagen Polo
The VW Polo launched in 1975 and was actually a sibling car to the Audi 50, except the more affordable Polo was much more popular. It is almost unrecognisable as the Polo we know today, with the more squared off C-pillar not arriving until the next generation. Even though there was no diesel option, only four-cylinder petrol engines, the original Polo sold 500,000 units. The second generation arrived in 1981 and, as we say, introduced that familiar Polo shape for the first time. By 1986 two million Polos had been sold worldwide, helped by the introduction of two diesel engines and a range of six petrol options.
A third generation Polo was released in 1994 and lent its platform to the Seat Ibiza, but it was also available for the first time as either a hatchback or saloon body shape, further cementing its popularity by offering even more choice. That generation ran until 2002, when the fourth iteration arrived, which again shared its platform with another VW stablemate, this time the Skoda Fabia. The fifth generation Polo, launched in 2009, won European Car of the Year in 2010 and continued to be a huge hit across the world.
The sixth and current generation of the Polo arrived in 2018 and is available in a wide range of engines and trim levels, making it more attractive than ever. It’s also the most powerful version yet of the GTI model, giving the Ford Fiesta ST a good run for its money with 197bhp on tap.
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