The new-gen Volkswagen Polo was unveiled last year, and it’s topped by the GTI, which still challenges the likes of the Renault Clio RS and Ford Fiesta ST.
Slotting in the brand’s lineup between the Up! GTI and Golf GTI, the new Polo GTI uses its bigger sibling’s engine, albeit with less power.
The 2.0-liter turbo-four produces 200 PS (197 hp / 147 kW) and 320 Nm (236 lb-ft) of torque, bucking the downsizing trend. Naught to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) takes 6.7 seconds and top speed is 236 km/h (147 mph).
Besides being fast, the new Polo GTI doesn’t cut back on the practicality of the regular models. Thus, boot space is 351 liters (12.4 cu-ft) with the rear seats in position and over 1,100 liters (38.8 cu-ft) with the rear seats folded down, and rear headroom and legroom is very decent for a supermini.
The interior feels solidly put together and the quality of most plastics is very good. The usual GTI tartan upholstery is there, and so are colored panels that give it a more vibrant feel compared to the lesser Polos.
However, despite looking very good on paper, the new Polo GTI does have some flaws. As CarBuyer noted in their test drive, it’s not as fun to drive as a Ford Fiesta ST. Also, the engine doesn’t feel that punchy, and that might have something to do with the bigger Golf GTI, as Volkswagen probably didn’t want the Polo GTI stepping on its larger sibling’s toes.
The ride is quite bumpy, too, and that would be okay if it was more engaging to drive. Sadly, it is not, so if smiling while behind the wheel is key when choosing a supermini hot hatch, then you’re better off with the Ford Fiesta ST or Mini Cooper S.