The latest Volkswagen Polo GTi has a lot to live up to. It’s been 37 years and nearly 30 million sales since the original Golf GTi hit the streets. Applying the GTi suffix to the Polo would only work if it’s a stonking a little car.
And it is. The 180 bhp GTi version of the latest Golf is both potent and pleasing to drive It thoroughly deserves Volkswagen’s GTi name tag..
I tested the seven-speed automatic version of the Polo GTi, powered by a 1.4 litre twin-charged engine. It has plenty of lower end power, with handling that feels as if the wheels could never leave the ground however hard you tried. The seven-speed box means you can get nearly 48 miles to the gallon despite the Polo’s more-than-adequate power delivery.
To look at the Polo is still as understated as it ever was, though its features are more sharply defined, redolent of the latest Golf. It has clean lines and a low, purposeful stance, but is still unmistakably a Polo.
Inside you get simplicity, an attention to detail and high quality materials. The seats are supportive and supremely comfortable. The small steering wheel is sculpted to allow a good grip.
Handling is extremely sports car-like, thanks to stiffened suspension and nicely-rated power steering. Steering is always solid and predictable, with sharp responses and good feedback through the steering wheel.
Standard equipment on the Polo GTi is impressive and an all-round airbag system for front and rear passengers, remote central locking with alarm and immobiliser, semi automatic air conditioning, six speaker CD player with MP3 player and iPod connections, electric windows and mirrors, 17” alloy wheels and front fog lights. There’s not much else you’d want on this car, but touch-screen satellite navigation is available at an extra £840.
The seven speed automatic Polo GTi 1.4 TSI which I test drove comes in at £19,555 on the road, which isn’t cheap for a car of this size, but you are buying into a legend and resale values are good.
Volkswagen has done it again. For the umpteenth time they have put the GTi badge on a car that truly deserves it.