New Volkswagen Polo GTI Has Everything But The Fun Factor

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).

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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.


  • Matteo Tommasi

    The 351 L boot space is measured counting the spare wheel space as boot space. The real boot space is around 260 L

  • Loquacious Borborygmus

    I wonder how many buyers will turn up the wick on it?

    • Honda NSX-R

      Quite a few will

    • Bash

      You will be surprised.

  • Christian Wimmer

    „Fun factor“ is always a subjective measurement. One driver will be bored, the other will be entertained.

    My family‘s ex-1996 Mitsubishi Pajero 2500 Intercooler Turbodiesel with 99-horsepower, a 5-speed M/T and a 0-100 km/h time of over 20 seconds (with poor quality Philippine diesel fuel) was incredibly fun to drive. I still miss that car and have fond memories of it.

    Fun is subjective.

    • Honda NSX-R

      Hell I had fun driving a 2016 Corolla LE with the CVT, but it’d probably be even more fun with a 6MT. Every car is “fun” to drive in a certain way imo

      • Christian Wimmer


    • Mill0048

      I agree completely! I loved my buddy’s 4-door, 2002 Hyundai Accent 1.6 with 5-speed. manual Not sporty by most standards, but a blast to drive and push hard.

  • Wandering_Spirit

    Boring as usual.

  • sean tooher

    worst looking polo ever

    • J-Triumf

      You mean best

  • sidewaysspin

    It looks like it doesn’t move.

  • Jason Miller

    It’s like they shrank a Golf. Doesn’t hardly look any different.

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