I tested the basic 2018 VW Polo and that's the car in the review video, I then got the opportunity to test the 2019 VW Polo GTI and make the Top 3 family-friendly features video. The GTI is definitely a sporty little car but how practical are both models as a BabyDrive?! Let's find out …
The first and last time I drove a VW polo was when my brother lent me his VW Polo in 1998, the day I passed my driving test, it was fast, agile and fun and I nearly crashed it into a ditch!! I was very interested to see if it still has that fun driving style or how things have changed…
The latest VW Polo is still an agile little car that has retained that sense of fun and freedom, the GTI is very nippy and corners really well. (Better than my brothers in 1998!!!) I am sure the VW Polo was not designed specifically to be a family car but I want to test just how practical or not it is!
I will begin with my biggest gripe and then we can move on!! In the GTI model, the sunroof is only covered with a black mesh, rather than a proper cover, I was cooked every time I drove the car! It really wasn't enough to protect passengers from the Australian sun and the interior of the car was always roasting hot whenever the car was not parked undercover.
Second biggest gripe was the front cup holders … In both models, they are strange hexagon shapes that are too small to properly hold a reusable or disposable coffee cup and no large reusable water would fit in them. On the plus side, I did discover they were perfect for holding a takeaway babycino, which apparently is a thing for toddlers now!!! 😉
The interior in the GTI model was a lot less basic than in the base model I tested previously. The GTI model had matte red panelling and detils in the stitching and trims.
The media system in the VW Polo GTI is very nice to use and easy to navigate, it does have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too. The base model did not have in-built sat-nav, but the GTI did.
The reversing camera image is of great quality and clear for a small car.
Interior space is a consideration in the VW Polo, the rear seats are comfy with two adult passengers, or I found I could definitely only install two child seats in the back, in the two outer seats. There are ISOFix points in the two outer seats, they are within plastic guides and are nice and easy to connect to. There are top tether anchorages in the back of all three backrests, which are also within plastic guides and nice and easy to connect to.
One consideration I am learning with most Volkswagens is the headrests are not removable, which really pushes the forward-facing child seats forward at the top and my daughter moaned continually about it.
Storage is minimal in the VW Polo, there are the two babycino holders in the centre console and a small well in front of the gear lever that's good for your phone, there is no glasses case and the glove box is small. The door bins would hold a large refillable water bottle which was good.
In the back, there are just two small door bins that will hold a large refillable water bottle.
The boot space is quite limited as you'd expect. Interestingly, in the basic version it is better because the boot floor has two levels, so when in the lower position, it made storage better but the GTI model did not have the option to lower the boot floor.
It would fit eight shopping bags when empty, that's the same as the Mazda CX-3 and two less than the VW Golf GTI and the Toyota C-HR. With the parcel shelf removed, the tandem, twin or single stroller fitted in the boot with a shopping bag or two. It'd also be OK for small dog.
The basic and GTI model VW Polos are both still the fun cars I remember to drive, they are nippy and the GTI very responsive and corners really well.
When I was on my own in the car they had that carefree feel (if you can remember back to that!!) and the ride was not hard or disturbing when my little girl was in the car.
In inner cities where parking is a consideration, or you only have one maybe two children and you don't drag too much of the usual baby equipment around with you then the VW Polo could be a practical car for your family. Like the VW Golf GTI, you might have to trade it in for something bigger by the time your little ones become lanky teenagers!!
The VW Polo was given a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2017, applicable to all models from 2018 onwards. All models have six airbags as standard.