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They’re two of the most popular hatchbacks from the Volkswagen brand. But what’s the difference between them? Read our side-by-side comparison for all you need to know.
Vertu Motors

Volkswagen Golf Vs Volkswagen Polo: Used Car Comparison

Volkswagen Golf Vs Volkswagen Polo: Used Car Comparison

They’re two of the most popular hatchbacks from the Volkswagen brand. But what’s the difference between them? Read our side-by-side comparison for all you need to know.

Ever since their release in the mid-1970s, the Volkswagen Golf and VW Polo have both been popular options in the hatchback category.

By the time specs and trims are added on, both can involve a more costly price tag when buying from new. Used models however offer a far more affordable way of getting your ideal Volkswagen.

With this in mind, we’ll look at the differences between the Golf and Polo models, and how either of these could make a great used car choice.


VW Golf and Polo history

Before we get into the differences, you may be interested to know a little about the history of these models. Let’s start with the VW Golf.

Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf was first launched in 1974 as the Golf Mk 1 – a replacement for the classic Beetle. Offering impressive performance, easy handling, and sporty style, it was a major hit with motorists alike. Over 45 years and eight generations later, it still remains one of the most beloved hatchbacks worldwide.

As for the VW Polo, this was released a year later in 1975. A smaller, more compact model than the Golf, the original Polo measured only 3.50 metres and weighed just 685kg. It was advertised as ‘Small on the outside. Big on the inside’, offering plenty of space for the average family.


Volkswagen Polo


Today, both models continue to remain a success, with over 37 million Golf sales, and more than 18 million for the Polo. So, what are the differences between these two models?


VW Golf vs Polo features

As far as these two models go, there aren’t actually a lot of major differences in features. The VW Polo is often described as simply a smaller version of the VW Golf. Otherwise, both models share a lot of the same features.

Both the VW Polo and Golf come with five doors, making them easy to get in and out of. They also offer excellent boot space despite their compact body styles.

The VW Polo offers 351 litres (increased to 1,125 with rear seats folded), while the Golf provides 380 litres (or up to 1,237 with rear seats folded). If you’re looking for maximum space and storage, then the Golf may be your go-to.

Dimensions for each model are as follows:

Volkswagen Golf
Volkswagen Polo
Length (mm) 4,284 4,074
Width (mm) 1,789 1,751
Height (mm) 1,458 1,431


When it comes to trim options, there are some slight differences between the two hatchbacks. Both are available in the ‘R Line’ and ‘GTI’ trims, though only the Golf is available in the ‘R’ trim. This leads to some variances in performance, which we’ll come onto later.

In terms of style, both the VW Golf and Polo offer a similar design theme, with a fresh, modern look. Highlights include metallic body paints, alloy wheels, plus body-coloured handles and bumpers. They also share in common a black grille with a chrome surround for a higher-end look.

With a used VW Polo or Golf, you’ll also enjoy lots of modern features for a much lower price. These include parking sensors, Cruise Control, air conditioning, and more. Plus, you’ll also get top-of-the range connectivity with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.


VW Golf vs Polo performance

Getting down to performance, both the VW Golf and Polo offer impressive performance – another thing that makes them a great used car choice.

The Golf is widely renowned for prioritising the driver, with its smooth handling and economical engine. With more driver assistance features in newer models, the Golf is as confident handling longer journeys as it is shorter commutes.

Meanwhile, a used VW Polo also offers a fun, enjoyable driving experience. Thanks to its compact proportions, it is perfectly suited for nipping around the high street, being much easier to park. No wonder it’s one of the top used first cars for new drivers!

With a used VW Golf, you’ll have petrol, diesel, hybrid, and electric powertrains to choose from. With a used VW Polo however, you’ll have a simpler selection of petrol and diesel engines available.

As mentioned earlier, both used models can be found with the ‘R Line’ and sportier ‘GTI’ trims. The Golf however is exclusively available with the ‘R’ trim, which offers the highest level of performance.

With a 2.0-litre engine producing 315bhp, it reaches 0-62mph in just 4.7 seconds, making it the sure-fire choice for those looking for speed.

We’ve listed an overview of each trim available in the table below:

Fuel economy (Approx.)
VW Golf R Line 1.5-litre petrol Six-speed manual (FWD) 8.9 seconds 51mpg
VW Golf GTI 2.0-litre petrol Seven-speed automatic (FWD) 6.2 seconds 38mpg
VW Golf R 2.0-litre petrol Seven-speed automatic (AWD) 4.7 seconds 35mpg
VW Polo Life 1.0-litre petrol Six-speed manual (FWD) 10.5-15 seconds 50-55mpg
VW Polo R-Line 1.0-litre petrol Six-speed manual/seven-speed automatic (FWD) 9.6 seconds 50mpg
VW Polo GTI 2.0-litre petrol Seven-speed automatic (FWD) 6.5 seconds 38mpg


Whichever trim you choose with a used VW Golf or Polo, you’re sure to enjoy punchy performance and good fuel economy.


Used VW Golf or used VW Polo - which is better?

In terms of value, both a used VW Golf and Polo will have lots to offer. A used VW Golf will be the more obvious choice if space is more of a priority, with the R trim providing the best performance.

However, the GTI trim available with both models will offer everything you need for a practical, enjoyable drive for less. The Polo GTI in particular is a great budget-friendly alternative if you’re looking to save more money.

It’s also worth noting that while the Golf remains the more popular go-to hatchback of the two, the Polo is gaining its own attention. Newer models released show the Polo becoming more sophisticated and mature, effectively closing the gap between the two models.

Ultimately, the answer to whether a used VW Golf or used VW Polo is right for you depends on your needs. If you’re looking for a more affordable VW with all the technology and style for less, a used Polo will make a great choice. Similarly, a used Golf will be perfect for you if you’re looking for something with more space and a wider choice of powertrains.


Shop used VW Golf and used VW Polo cars for sale

Looking for a used VW Golf or Polo? At Vertu Motors, we sell a wide range of used Volkswagen and approved used Volkswagen cars.

With each prepared to the highest standards, you’re sure to get that ‘new car’ feeling, which you can read more about in our used car preparation policy.


Plus, with our competitive pricing and flexible finance offers, you can get it for even less! Shop our latest deals available below or book an appointment at your local dealership to find your perfect used Volkswagen.

Used Volkswagen Golf

Used Volkswagen Polo


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