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Reliable Hatchbacks: VW Golf or VW Polo?

Few other cars can boast such formidable reputations for solidity and reliability, with a heritage stretching back to the 70’s. But these are hallmarks of Volkswagen’s inimitable Golf and Polo models, now in their seventh and sixth generations respectively. How do they compare?

Exterior: quality shines through

Starting with the smaller of the two, VW’s latest Polo has actually grown 8cm in length, 6cm in width and has a wheelbase over 9cm longer. This new Polo is available in five-door guise only. VW’s distinctive ‘Tornado’ styling line is ever present and endows the hatchback with a charisma and fluidity, while its overall shape has been trimmed to introduce subtle streamlining. Along with a juxtaposed squared-off design at the rear, it evolves its predecessors’ understated yet iconic design. The front now appears wider and more athletic with the optional LED lights strongly resembling the latest Golf in many respects.

In Mk 7.5 guise, the facelifted Golf has unsurprisingly received only minor tweaks as the Mk7’s design has largely been regarded as near-perfect in the premium hatchback market. Revised front and rear bumpers give it a slightly more powerful appearance, every model in the latest Golf range now comes with attractive, efficient and safe LED rear lights, and new exterior paint colours plus alloy wheel designs have been introduced. The Golf is 20cm longer, 8cm wider and 3cm taller than the Polo and is widely perceived as the classiest mainstream hatchback available.

Conclusion: If space isn’t an issue, the new Polo is the most stylish yet

Sophisticated and robust interiors

Upholding the Polo’s position as the more elegant-albeit-subtle supermini, the new version’s interior broadens its appeal to an even younger audience with the ability to match the dashboard’s colour to the car’s exterior, brightening up the cabin. The various digital displays and screens make this the most modern, high-tech Polo yet, with a wide range of connectivity functions also on offer. Space has increased for front and rear occupants who can now enjoy the upmarket interior in additional comfort, while the boot is 25% larger.

The VW Golf’s interior has long been likened to radiating bank vault-like quality and the Mk 7.5 has upped the aura of sophistication even further, with high grade materials in abundance. Fresh new seat and trim designs have been introduced and an 8-inch touchscreen is now standard, as is DAB radio. A gesture control version is also available alongside Volkswagen’s fully digital Active Info Display system. Offering comfort and refinement for up to five people, the Golf’s cabin has plenty of handy storage spaces. Visibility is a strongpoint making it relatively easy to park, and the large door bins are even flock-lined, emphasising VW’s attention to detail.

Conclusion: The Golf is more practical for a family with children

Engines for everyone

It naturally follows that the original pioneer of cars for the people has equipped its Golf and Polo line-ups with a wide range of engines to suit all kinds of drivers. The latest Polo’s 1.0-litre petrol unit in 65PS, 75Ps and 95PS guises appeals to new drivers and those who mainly stay in urban areas, while 1.5-litre 150PS R-Line EVO and 2.0-litre 200PS GTI models are available for Polo drivers seeking exhilarating performance.

Diesel power is also available for the new Polo in the form of a 1.6-litre engine in either 80PS or 90Ps tune, offering impressive levels of fuel efficiency and low emissions synonymous with this ever-popular compact hatchback.

The facelifted Golf, meanwhile, sees some exciting new TSI petrol engines introduced, the 1.5 TSI Evo producing 150PS combined with Active Cylinder Management for maximum efficiency. With powerful torque available at low revs, it’s set to be a formidable all-round performer.

The Golf GTI’s engine has been updated to now produce 230PS, and a GTI Performance version is even available, rated at 245PS. The new 7-speed DSG ‘automatic’ gearbox has been refined to reduce emissions even further. The Volkswagen Golf has always been associated with impressive fuel consumption and the 1.6 TDI 115PS diesel engine is the most economical, the combined cycle achieving up to 72.4mpg while reaching 62mph in 8.6 seconds.

For ultimate green motoring, the hybrid GTE model pledges up to 156.9mpg and the fully-electric e-Golf boasts zero emissions. Golf fans smitten by the group’s revered 1.4 TSI and 2.0 TDI powerplants won’t be disappointed, with both featuring strongly across the latest Golf’s engine range.

Conclusion: Green-minded motorists will love the hybrid Golf GTE

In numbers…


New Golf

New Polo











Fuel(comb MPG)





Emissions(CO2, g/km)





Top Speed(mph)





0 – 60mph in….(seconds)











Conclusion: VW Golf or VW Polo?

Strengthening their market positions even further, the new versions of the Golf and Polo ooze class, are full of the latest safety and infotainment technology and their interiors are as comfortable and classy as ever, so the choice really comes down to size. Experience their qualities for yourself at your local Inchcape Volkswagen dealership.