Volkswagen Polo wins Drive Best Urban Car under $30K

Volkswagen is a brand best known for its relative refinement compared to its price-point rivals and it’s extremely evident from the cheapest car in its wide-ranging showroom line-up.

The Volkswagen Polo was last updated with a facelift in 2022 which upped its price closer to the $30,000 mark. Its styling only received a minor update, but its level of equipment shot up: you’re now getting automatic LED headlights, LED tail-lights, an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster, 8.0-inch infotainment screen, wireless charging, auto wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, illuminated vanity mirrors, front and rear parking sensors, and new safety technology. When you’re buying at the entry level it’s reassuring to see such a healthy level of items on the spec sheet.

It doesn’t just impress on a spec sheet either. The Volkswagen Polo leans toward the “premium” level in terms of interior feel and finish, while its driving experience is as polished as they come.

The Polo impresses with sturdy-feeling fabric covering its seats, hard-wearing plastics for the dash and door cards, as well as soft-touch leather at hand-placement points. The 8.0-inch infotainment system is free from fuss in terms of operation and comes with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

It’s also surprisingly spacious, for its segment, in the second row despite its diminutive exterior dimensions. Notably, it stocks a 351-litre boot and a temporary spare wheel.

To drive, the Volkswagen Polo is perky, composed, and engaging. The 85kW/200Nm engine outputs enough grunt for overtakes in traffic and pulls up to the speed limit swiftly. Its ability to dispatch potholes and drive over speedhumps without upsetting the cabin ambience is a key highlight of how the Polo drives and its light steering effort makes the small body a cinch to navigate into a tight parking space.

To top it off, it’s affordable to own. Pairing a real-world fuel economy of around 6.0 litres per 100km and flexible servicing packages, ongoing Polo ownership needn’t break the bank. This is in addition to a five-year/unlimited-kilometre warranty and 12 months of roadside assistance coverage every time you service within the Volkswagen network.

For these reasons, the Volkswagen Polo represents the best of its segment in 2024 and is crowned our Drive Car of the Year Best Urban Car Under $30,000.