Volkswagen Polo Vs Ford Fiesta< Back to blog
The Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta are iconic superminis which are top of their class, yet both are two very different cars. The Polo has comfort and class on its side, while the Fiesta goes for a fun-to-drive dynamic that can be hard to dismiss.
Need to find out more before deciding on your next hatchback? We compare the Polo and the Fiesta to see how they compete when it comes to design, standard features, practicality and driving experience.
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Side-by-side, the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta differ massively in terms of their overall look and feel. The Polo is a more mature, ironed-out design that rarely excites, but is unmistakebly classy. However, sportier R-Line and GTI trims throw in a bit more aggression in the form of heavier styled bumpers, chunkier alloy wheels .
On the other hand, the Fiesta has a more angular, sporty shape that is raised at the back, but then slopes into a more aerodynamic nose at the front. Again, you can spec the Fiesta to be more of a hot hatch by looking to trims such as the ST-Line Edition or range-topping ST.
In our opinion, most people can get a lot out of both these cars by considering some of the standard trim levels. Check out our comparison table below showing exterior features of the most popular Fiesta and Polo models.
Volkswagen Polo design features
Ford Fiesta design features
Interior design and space
The cabin area of the Polo is laced with soft-touch materials along the dashboard, while there’s a leather steering wheel and gearknob as standard. It’s very upmarket and everything feels well screwed together.
The Fiesta has a fairly decent interior build for the parts that you touch often, such as the steering wheel, gearknob and indicator stalks. However, there are more harder plastics knocking about here than in the Polo which mean it lags behind it’s VW rival. You can choose higher trims like the top-spec Vignale model for plusher-feeling materials, but it’ll be cheaper to look at an entry- to mid-level Polo.
When it comes to the infotainment systems, both the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta come with an 8.0in touchscreen as standard. The one in the Polo is one of the best in the business, with crisp graphics and a very intuitive touch control. Unfortunately it is quite distracting to use on the move and you’ll need to pay extra for voice control. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity are standard too, meaning you can mirror your smartphone’s display onto the screen and use your favourite apps like Spotify for your music or navigate using Google or Apple Maps.
You also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the Ford Fiesta as standard.
The Tardis-like Volkswagen Polo is one of the roomiest small cars on the market and its high quality build means it’s a great little family car. Space is very good in the front and back of the Polo too, with loads of driver seat and steering wheel adjustment, plus cushioning upholstery which makes long-distance driving comfortable.
If you struggle with back problems, we’d recommend looking at Match and R-Line trims as they include lumbar support as standard. This makes the spaces in the front even more cushioning, particularly the base where some drivers may find standard editions a bit firm.
What about storage? Well the door bins are a good size, as too is the glovebox and you’ll also get a handy cubby in front of the gearknob.
If you’re having passengers in the back, fitting three will be less of a squeeze than it would be in the Fiesta thanks to the car being wider. There’s also plenty of room for a couple of six-footers to sit for long journeys without being uncomfortable.
As for the Ford Fiesta, well you won’t struggle for headroom even if you’re tall, but this changes if you choose the panoramic glass roof. Even though the Fiesta isn’t as wide as the Polo, you won’t be brushing elbows with the person sat next to you up front.
Storage is good up front in the Fiesta as well. An accommodating glovebox is paired with a cubby area in front of the gearknob that’ll fit a smartphone. On top of this you’ve got door pockets that hold a small bottle, plus cupholders between the seats.
Boot space is better in the Volkswagen Polo than it is in the Ford Fiesta – namely there’s 351 litres back there, versus 311 litres in the Fiesta.
With a big square opening and a flat load bay, it’s also very handy for putting larger items in the back. You’ll still be able to fit a good amount of luggage in the Fiesta’s boot, even if it’s not as big as the Polo’s.
Performance and price
The great things about these two superminis are how sophisticated they are out on the road. Despite their size, their comfortable ride experience is phenomenally smooth, to the point where you’ll think you’re driving something much bigger.
Out of both these cars, the Polo is by far the smoothest-riding car. It deals with cracks, bumps and uneven surfaces much better than the Fiesta. There’s even a notable hushed cabin experience in terms of engine and wind noise, especially on the motorway even when you’re driving at higher speeds.
This isn’t to say that the Fiesta is overtly noisy – in fact, it’s far from it. The small petrol engines with mild hybrid tech are smooth and quiet. But it slightly falls short of the Polo because of how the manufacturer has put emphasis on instilling the Fiesta with a fun-to-drive setup that is less supple.
Whichever Ford Fiesta trim you choose, you’re bound to enjoy the precise handling and predictability of its drive. Choose the sportier ST-Line trim and this is taken one step further, adding a firmer suspension that delivers a lower ride height to make it feel even more engaging.
There are plenty of engines to choose from when you opt for a Polo or Fiesta, but the entry-level ones in the Fiesta offer a bite more poke. We’d avoid the Polo’s 1.0 80 Evo unit because it only has 80bhp and, while it’s cheap to insure, it feels significantly underpowered, especially because it comes without turbocharging too. Go with the turbocharged 1.0 TSI 95 engine instead and the Polo becomes much more adept at accelerating and getting extra ‘oomph’ which makes it much more enjoyable.
To transform the Polo into a hot hatch, check out the GTI version which comes with its own 2.0-litre 200bhp engine which is even quicker than the Ford Fiesta ST’s.
Speaking of the Ford Fiesta, there are a plethora of solid petrol engines available throughout its range. However, like the Polo there’s a rather disappointing entry-level unit (badged ‘1.1 75’) which has no turbocharging so is very dull. Look at the EcoBoost 100, 125 and 155 engines for the proper zippiness you need, while retaining the efficiency you need to keep running costs reasonable.