Volkswagen Polo GTI review – design

The exterior GTI addenda is less successful at portraying what’s under the skin. Looks more like a high-spec Polo than proper GTI

Evo rating
Price
from £21,660
  • Impressive mid-range grunt; competent daily driver
  • One-dimensional handling; adept but not exciting

Volkswagen has done something remarkable with the new Polo. Despite a completely new platform, the new Polo looks almost identical to its predecessor. Sure, look closely at the details and you’ll notice that the bodywork is more complex, the lighting units heavily faceted, but whether by accident or design, a step forward into the future, the Polo’s design is not.

All the usual GTI paraphernalia is correct and present, though, with liberal use of red highlights on the brakes, badging and the iconic red stripe across the front bumper. Like the Golf, the Polo GTI’s headlights are also bespoke, that red line extending into the lighting unit itself.

As is the usual GTI way, the Polo is grown up, purposeful, but not too obvious, a perfectly formed metaphor about the way the Polo GTI drives. Spec wisely and the Polo GTI will easily slip past unnoticed. Whether that’s what you want in a hot hatchback, however, is something to be considered. Maybe the forthcoming, but not yet delivered, manual gearbox option will offer a much needed injection of driver engagement.

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