Saturday, August 5, 2023
Alex Lowe

Volkswagen Polo R-Line 2023 Review


I had about a day with the new 2023 Volkswagen Polo. This particular model was the Polo R Line with the 1.0-litre TSI engine, 93bhp and five speed manual. The current Polo has seen a few price increases since it was launched in 2021, with the range now starting at £20,070 working its way up to £31,295 for the 'GTI Edition 25'. This R Line model retails for £23,205 but the car we had on test was £24,815 due to one or two options. The R Line model adds some nice extras such as rear tinted windows and auto high beam assist.

With the Polo 93bhp engine, expect performance of 10.5 secs to 0-60mph, top speed of 116 mph and 54.3 mpg. Road tax for the year is £180. Insurance group is 10. The "Vibrant Violet Metallic" colour is an option for £655. Every other colour is paid, apart from grey.


The exterior design of the Polo is stylish, if not a little plain - which is no bad thing. Setting aside the ID range of cars from Volkswagen, the company has always done a good job of making stylish cars. The new Polo is no different, with enough changes over the previous version to make a huge improvement.

Every Polo now gets LED headlights and taillights as standard, but the premium IQ Matrix lights do remain an option. The R Line model we had on test added things like rear tinted windows, sports seats and a more aggressive front bumper.


The new Polo is based on the MQB A0 platform, which entails the Skoda Fabia, Audi A1 and other smaller cars from the VW Group. In terms of driving, the new Polo has some very grownup road manners, comparable to the MK8 Golf. The ride is supple and even without the DCC, just standard springs it rides well over speed bumps, pot holes and poor quality road surfaces. Steering is light and the car is easy to place on the road.

The car also has a reversing camera and parking sensor, which is an optional extra and this makes manoeuvring the car easier.


The interior is high quality, like all of the new non-ID models from Volkswagen. Parts of the car inside aren't as quite as high quality as a Golf for example, with a lot of plastic in areas lower down and on the door cards. Every Polo has the new updated leather steering wheel with multifunction buttons. There are only two cup holders in the car in the front, which are a hexagon shape which grips a paper cup pretty well.

Inside, there are five seats but there is quite a large transmission hump in the back which can interfere with the middle passenger in the back. This might cause an issue on longer journeys for comfort.

For the boot, it is pretty large for its class at 351 litres with a decent amount of space above the false floor. The floor props up on its own using two clips either side of the boot to make getting access to the space below easier. There is space for a full size spare wheel, but a space saver spare is an option but the Polo comes with a tyre inflation kit.

The heating system is a weird part of the Polo. The entry level car has physical heating dials but every model above that, including this R Line has a touch capacitive setup, similar to the climate control system found on the new Golf and ID.3. It is a pretty usable system, but it does have some distraction factor to it. Traditional climate control might have been a better choice.


The infotainment system works well, the car we had on test had the entry level screen which has a combination of capacitive buttons and physical dials for the volume and selecting items on the screen. There is an optional larger screen available also, but the standard screen offers a good balance between physical dials and screen size. The Polo comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There is an optional extra to get wireless phone charging.

For the driver, there is a digital display which used to be an optional extra on the last generation, but is now standard on the new generation of Polo. The system is the same as the California, Golf and other Volkswagen models that have been released recently.


The new Polo is a solid choice for a lot of people. The most recent facelift is a great improvement over the last generation and adds a lot of new technology. As mentioned, the ride is very soft and the seats in the R Line model provide a good amount of support in the corners. The removal of the 60bhp model was a good call by VW and now the base model is the 93bhp engine, with either a 5 speed manual or seven speed DSG.

It is priced from a smidge over £20,000, which is up from £18,000 from back in 2021. The top spec fully loaded Polo GTI is around £33,000 at the top end with a lot of options, such as panoramic roof, rear camera, parking sensors, black roof and 18-inch alloys.



  • Stylish, yet classy design
  • Very comfortable to drive
  • Good sized boot
  • Wireless smartphone mirroring as standard


  • Lot of plastics in the cabin
  • No load through hatch in the back
  • Back windows don't go down all the way
  • Lane assistance turns back on after car restart

Star Rating

⭐⭐⭐⭐☆ 4/5


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