Volkswagen Golf vs Volkswagen Polo: Used Car Comparison

02nd Jan 2024

By Kenny Longdon

Volkswagen Cars

Famed for their reliability, practicality and quality, a Volkswagen is like the iPhone of the automotive world. You know what you're getting and it works effortlessly with day to day life.

There's plenty of choice too, with more or less every body style you could need, whilst hatchback cars like the Golf and Polo have proved ultra-popular the world over.

Take a look at any Golf or Polo, and it's easy to see why. They offer everything you could ever need in a car, and if you choose a GTI version, they don't look out of place no matter if it's outside a posh hotel or outside your local supermarket.

But with the Polo becoming bigger, and more polished over time, do you really need a Golf anymore?

Introduction and Design

Golf Trio

The Volkswagen Golf was introduced in 1974, whilst the Polo came just after in 1975. Since then, both the Golf and Polo have evolved nicely and sold extremely well the world over.

Here we are looking at the eighth generation Golf (trio pictured above), which came along in 2020, and comparing it to the sixth generation Polo which came along in 2017, although the Polo did receive a facelift in 2021.

Over the years, the Polo has evolved much more in terms of size and overall polish; it's effectively just a smaller Golf. The Golf of course still represents a textbook answer to those wanting a do-it-all hatchback that ticks all the boxes. It's smart, practical, unoffensive, frugal and quick - especially when looking at the hot GTI and R versions.

In terms of looks, they both appear similar. Their designs are typical VW, meaning they appear clean, slick and smart. The Golf looks that little bit more sophisticated which is natural being the larger model, but the Polo in this 6th generation facelift version looks far more grown up than previous generations.

Versions and Performance

Golf R

As with many car models, you can find Golf and Polo models in basic or more plusher trims.

Base models may be a little bland for some, but you don't have to venture too far up the model ranges to get better kit as standard.

An example of this is the R-Line trim, which is available for both the Golf and Polo. Many manufacturers offer a toned back model based on their range-topping sporty models. R-Line is just that, as it takes the style of the range-topping Golf R, and creates a trim line effectively in tribute to it, just without all the bells and whistles, and the performance.

Think ST Line when talking of Ford, or R.S Line when looking at Renault. Either way, there's no doubt it works as many manufacturers offer these 'Line' models.

To make it easier, a snapshot of the Golf and Polo versions and their performance are highlighted below. It's worth noting there is no 'R' version in the Polo, just an R-Line.

  • Golf R Line - 1.5-litre petrol, 128bhp, 6-speed manual, 0 to 62mph in 8.9 seconds, circa 51mpg, front-wheel drive
  • Golf GTI - 2.0-litre petrol, 241bhp, 7-speed auto, 0 to 62mph in 6.2 seconds, circa 38mpg, front-wheel drive
  • Golf R (pictured above) - 2.0-litre petrol, 315bhp, 7-speed auto, 0 to 62mph in 4.7 seconds, circa 35mpg, all-wheel drive


  • Polo Life - 1.0-litre petrol, 78bhp/93bhp, 6-speed manual, 0 to 62mph in 15/10.5 seconds, circa 50-55mpg, front-wheel drive
  • Polo R-Line - 1.0-litre petrol, 108bhp, 6-speed manual or 7-speed auto, 0 to 62mph in 9.6 seconds, circa 50mpg, front-wheel drive
  • Polo GTI - 2.0-litre petrol, 197bhp, 7-speed auto, 0 to 62mph in 6.5 seconds, circa 38mpg, front-wheel drive

Interior and Technology

Golf R Interior

Volkswagen have always been ahead of the game when it comes to their interiors, they are just nice places to spend time and are beautifully ergonomic.

The Golf came as standard with a fully-digital instrument cluster from launch in 2020, whilst the Polo got one as standard with its mid-life face lift in 2021.

The Golf offers that little bit more space and generally feels more sophisticated, but its not night and day when compared to the Polo, which has been polished more with later generations.

Again, with higher trim levels, interiors get even more impressive. GTI interiors feature their iconic tartan-like trims and the legendary Golf ball gear knob, whilst Golf R models (pictured above) get blue detailing all over the cabin and alcantara for added sportiness.

The likes of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come as standard on the Golf, and from 2021 facelifted Polo models, meaning staying connected is easy too.


Polo GTI Interior

As standard, both the Golf and Polo (pictured above in GTI trim) come with 5 doors, making them a doddle to live with on a daily basis, and access to the front and rear of the car is as easy as can be.

Boot space is excellent on both models too, and is highlighted below:

Golf - 380 litres, increasing to 1,237 litres with the rear seats folded

Polo - 351 litres, increasing to 1,125 litres with the rear seat folded

As you can see, 29 litres is all that separates the two hatchbacks when all seats are in use, although when the seats are folded, you get more than 100 extra litres in the Golf which is much more useful.

Alternatively, if it's practicality you want, then a Golf Estate could be the one for you as it offers a 611-litre boot, which increases to 1,642 litres with the rear seats folded.

Value and Final Thoughts

Polo Trio

If you're after a hatchback that does it all, then the Golf is still the textbook choice. It's practical, good looking, economic, good to drive, and has everything you could need for making day to day life easier.

The Polo is albeit the same, just in a smaller package. The Golf hasn't become any less of a car, it's just the Polo (trio pictured above) has become more sophisticated and grown up over time.

Of course, if you want the fastest car with all the bells and whistles so to speak, then the Golf R is the answer, but don't go denying the iconic GTI. It's still the best all-rounder, and if you can't quite afford a Golf GTI, a Polo GTI isn't a bad alternative that's that little bit more affordable.

Find your perfect used car at Evans Halshaw

Whether you are after a used VW Golf, used VW Polo, or any other used Volkswagen or perhaps are looking for a used car from another manufacturer, Evans Halshaw have a comprehensive selection of new and used car offers for you to browse online.

Alternatively, why not visit your preferred Evans Halshaw retailer for a closer look, or if you enjoyed this article, why not check out more via our dedicated blog section.