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Volkswagen Polo GTI review – design

Exterior design is sharp, but lacks the purpose of its closest rivals. Looks more like a high-spec Polo than proper GTI

Evo rating
Price
from £28,905
  • Torquey, flexible and efficient powertrain
  • No life to the chassis; tough damping brings little benefit

When the current-generation Polo came out it’s fair to say it shocked no one. While it wasn’t a lame duck, it was a dull one, with an overzealous combination of creases that were somehow both fussy and incredibly dull at the same time. For the facelift, the same general styling was applied, with new lights front and rear pretty much making up the bulk of the changes.

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Unfortunately, in order to try to emulate some of the styling elements of newer models in the range, like the Golf and ID.3, the Polo has some fairly goofy design elements, such as the rear lights that look far too big now that they stretch onto the tailgate, while the front-mounted LED light bar sort of looks like an illuminated moustache. While their size is somewhat of a distraction, the satisfying, even diffusion of the light within the rear units does look more premium than you might expect, although the same can't be said for that front light bar...

The GTI’s usual 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. GTIs run on standard 17-inch wheels and tyres, but a tastier set of 18s is available on the options list. The Kings Red metallic 'premium' paint of our test car is particularly pleasing to the eye, but this will set you back £835. 

As is the usual GTI way, the Polo is grown up, purposeful, but not too obvious – a perfectly formed metaphor about the way it 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.

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