In 2017, Volkswagen launched an all-new Polo supermini – bookending its evergreen small automotive vary with a collection of turbocharged petrol engines. On the backside laid a collection of downsized three-cylinder motors, whereas on the prime sat the punchy Polo GTI.
However what if you would like one thing with a little bit of fizz, however can’t stretch to VW’s sizzling hatch flagship? This all-new Polo R-Line might be the reply.
Designed to supply the visible attraction of the high-end GTI however with out the related working prices, the R-Line is out there with a selection of two lower-power (94bhp or 113bhp) petrol engines. Each are primarily based across the tried and examined 1.Zero-litre TSI – and it’s the latter we’re testing right here for the primary time.
All R-Line fashions get distinctive styling, gloss black detailing, tinted rear home windows and a sporty rear diffuser. There are particular badges in and out, alongside branded sports activities seats, R-Line sill plates and stainless-steel pedals. Each model additionally will get air-con and all-round parking sensors, in addition to an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Let’s first have a look at how a lot this Polo R-Line will price you to purchase and run. Fitted with the range-topping engine and DSG auto field, our automotive has a listing value of £20,660; round £750 greater than an equal SE L (or £12 per 30 days) – however simply £860 lower than the a lot faster Polo GTI. Cheaper SE and Polo Beats fashions are additionally obtainable.
However whereas the R-Line may look costly on paper, it trumps its GTI sibling palms down in terms of gasoline financial system and CO2 emissions. You possibly can fairly count on at the very least 10mpg extra from this R-Line mannequin, and whereas the GTI is at present present process WLTP evaluation, it’s more likely to price enterprise customers significantly extra in terms of Profit in Sort firm automotive tax.
Arguably the largest distinction, nevertheless, will probably be with regard to insurance coverage premiums. The R-Line – even in top-spec 115PS DSG guise – falls into group 12, whereas the GTI sits in group 26. That’ll be an enormous issue for youthful drivers, who will doubtless be drawn to the cheaper automotive’s equally sportier styling.
However if you happen to can afford a little bit extra per 30 days, must you step as much as the feisty Polo GTI, or does the R-Line do sufficient to fulfill the interior youngster of any wannabe boy racer?
Nicely, whereas it doesn’t really feel enormously fast off the mark – you possibly can blame the DSG field’s eco-focused gearing for that – it’s surprisingly punchy from a rolling begin. Be a part of a motorway from 40mph and the 1.Zero-litre TSI is pleasingly brisk, making mild work of fast lane adjustments and spontaneous overtakes.
It isn’t as sharp because the GTI, nevertheless, and continues to path the bog-standard Ford Fiesta for driving enjoyable. The Polo doesn’t roll an excessive amount of within the bends, but it surely merely can’t match its rival’s superior physique management and crisp steering; the Polo’s set-up is simply too mild to supply any actual suggestions.
Our automotive’s non-compulsory 17-inch wheels (you get 16s as normal on R-Line) didn’t do the Polo’s often spectacular refinement any favours both. Whereas the upgraded rims look nice, highway noise proved significantly tiresome on rougher sections of highway. The experience doesn’t seem too compromised, nevertheless, providing largely plush damping on most surfaces. We’d keep on with the smoother guide transmission, too; the DSG will be jerky – particularly with the stop-start system engaged.
After all, like all new Polos, the R-Line feels suitably plush inside. It units the benchmark on this class – feeling even higher constructed than its Audi A1 sibling. With our check mannequin’s non-compulsory Energetic Data Show (simply £325), it simply rivals higher-end Golf fashions for in-car tech.