CarsMotormouth Reviews

Golf’s little brother is given a rugged look

The new Polo
The new Polo


AS a little brother I was always on the receiving end of hand-me-downs from my bigger sibling.

School jumpers and trousers, tacky tracksuit tops and other items from his awful wardrobe that I didn’t want.

But once in a while I did get something that I really wanted, and definitely suited my style.

The same can be said of the new Volkswagen Polo.

You see the baby brother of the Volkswagen Golf, which for years was left in the shadows of its big brother, has now been given all the top qualities of the trendy Mark VII.

And hot on the heels of the much-loved Polo comes the Cross Polo.

This version of the little VW is slightly different than the normal Polo in that it comes with more rugged looks − even if it doesn’t have the real off-road capabilities to match its appearance.

If I am perfectly honest, I am not a big fan of so-called soft roaders. I find the unpainted plastic wheel arches a little bit ugly to say the least and, in some cases, they can even take away a car’s sculpted looks.

To the untrained eye, the exterior looks of the Cross Polo haven’t changed that much. Some updated front and rear lights separate it from the outgoing model.

This, coupled with some newly-designed Canyon alloy wheels, and silver exterior mirror housings, sets off the sporty design of the new model.

The main changes come under the bonnet and inside the cabin, where the Cross Polo is treated to equipment levels similar to those found in its larger and more expensive siblings − and it works really well.

However, one of the highlights in the revised Cross Polo is the two new engines available, both of which meet the EU6 standards and are more fuel efficient.

The pick of the bunch for me, without a shadow of a doubt, is the 1.2-litre TSi petrol engine, which was fitted to my test model.

Both this, and the 1.4-litre TDi Bluemotion diesel, produce 90bhp and come with a manual five-speed gearbox. There is no option of an automatic gearbox in this model.

There is very little between the two engines apart from the fact you will have to fork out an extra two grand for the diesel. However, the claimed fuel figures of 3.6l/100km are better in the diesel compared to the claimed 4.8l/100km in the petrol version.

I did test drive the diesel engine at the international launch last year and I found it sounded a tad noisy for a modern-day diesel engine. My advice would be to stick with the petrol and save yourself a couple of grand by doing so.

One thing I was very surprised at in the Cross Polo was the amount of head and leg room on offer for rear-seat passengers. It’s definitely up there with some of the larger family cars I have driven recently.

Overall, the revised Cross Polo is a great little car. It just comes down your own personal taste. If you want a more rugged-looking Polo without the off-road capabilities then this is the one for you.

Personally, I’d still have the normal Comfortline or Comfortline+ any day of the week.

It’s worth noting, though, if you do fancy the Cross Polo model, VW are offering a free styling pack at the moment worth an extra €900.


Model: Volkswagen Cross Polo 1.2 TSi

price: From e21,125

road tax: e190

0-100kph: 10.8 seconds

max speed: 177kph

fuel economy: 4.8l/100km


Robbie Farrell