Volkswagen has revised its Polo GTI for 2022.
What is it?
It might be the Golf that’s best known for using Volkswagen’s ‘GTI’ nameplate, but the smaller Polo supermini is also rather legendary here too.
So the Polo GTI has built up a reputation for being a reliable, refined and high-quality hot hatch, but one that’s often slightly lacking in driving engagement. Can this updated model address that?
Updates to this latest Polo GTI aren’t the most significant and primarily centre around the way this hatch looks – including new Matrix LED headlights, an illuminated front grille crossbar and reprofiled bumpers.
The interior gets Volkswagen’s latest touchscreen and digital dial display too, while there’s a striking gloss red dashboard to help inject some extra flair into the Polo GTI’s interior.
What’s under the bonnet?
This updated Polo GTI uses more or less the same engine as it did before – a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit developing 302bhp and 320Nm of torque. It’s ever so slightly up on power compared to key rivals, such as the Ford Fiesta ST and Hyundai i20 N, with 0-60mph taking 6.3 seconds, and allows for a 149mph top speed.
Unlike those rivals, though, there’s no manual option as all Polo GTIs these days use a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, delivering power to the front wheels.
The Polo GTI also won’t cost all that much to run, or at least by hot hatch standards. Volkswagen claims up to 41.5mpg, while CO2 emissions are reasonable at 154g/km.
What’s it like to drive?
The Polo certainly feels like a pint-sized Golf GTI behind the wheel, and by that we mean it’s remarkably refined and settled. The steering is neutral and easy to judge, while there’s minimal body roll through the corners too.
It’s more comfortable than its rivals too, with adaptive chassis control letting you soften the ride for the UK’s potholed roads, while 204bhp on tap means this VW never feels short of pace.
It’s not quite as much fun as the Hyundai and Ford, but where those cars are firm and quite hard to live with on a daily basis, the Polo GTI would be a hugely enjoyable daily driver.
How does it look?
Volkswagen has really sharpened up the way the Polo GTI looks, even with relatively small revisions. While its predecessor was a bit too subtle, this latest car looks bolder with its sharp headlights and front light bar adding plenty of street cred to this hot hatch.
The GTI badges remain quite subtle, as are the dual-exit exhaust tips and red brake callipers, but combined they come together to create a hot hatch that looks purposeful but not over the top
What’s it like inside?
As we’ve come to expect from the standard Polo, the GTI has a particularly upmarket interior for a supermini, with high levels of quality throughout. The large digital dial display and easy-to-use touchscreen also give the Polo a modern feel inside. There’s subtle sportiness at play here too, particularly with the trademark GTI tartan seats, red accents and sports steering wheel.
Though the Polo GTI’s 282-litre boot is slightly smaller than the regular supermini, it’s still a useful size. There’s a decent amount of room in the back for passengers as well.
What’s the spec like?
With the GTI sitting at the top of the Polo line-up, this hot hatch certainly isn’t lacking in standard equipment.
Elements include 17-inch alloy wheels, adaptive chassis control and those fancy Matrix LED headlights that can cleverly filter the main beam around traffic, without dazzling other road users.
A 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster sits alongside an eight-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation and wireless smartphone mirroring, while adaptive cruise control and front and rear parking sensors are included too.
Prices for the Polo GTI kick off from £27,805.