Car Reviews

2017 Volkswagen Polo Beats Hatchback Review

We drive Volkswagen's special edition supermini, the Polo Beats


Pros: Superb sound system, nice styling details, stands out

Cons: Styling quite subjective, more expensive

The latest Volkswagen Polo has been one of the most popular cars in the supermini segment for quite some time now, but this is an interesting new model in the range, the Volkswagen Polo Beats. Equipped with a full Beats sounds system and decorated with different Beats styling details inside and out, the Polo Beats is a car that will appeal to music lovers and younger drivers alike. We spent a week with the Polo Beats to see just how it stands apart from the competition. 

What is it like?

Volkswagen has only subtly tweaked the styling of the Polo Beats to show that it is something a little special. From the outside, it has 16-inch Syenit alloy wheels that are a nice touch, along with Beats badges on the B pillars and white graphics running the length of the doors. We’re fond of this car’s “Flash Red” paint scheme and it also has electric folding mirrors as part of Volkswagen’s optional 171 upgrade pack. Rather than shouting out loud, the Polo Beats is quietly different to other models in the Polo range.   

The most notable difference inside is the addition of supportive sports seats which are emblazoned with Beats Sounds logos. There is also silver finishing around the centre console area which mightn’t be to everyone’s taste, along with a slick 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system and LED lighting in the foot wells. The stereo system is much improved as you’d expect offering more clarity and a bass-filled low end sound. Connecting a smartphone to stream music can be done either by Bluetooth or Apple Car Play and Mirrorlink, which present apps like Spotify very nicely indeed.

A 1.0-litre turbocharged three cylinder petrol engine and a five speed manual gearbox powers this car and it’s a good match given the size and weight of the Polo. Producing 75hp, it can cover 0-100km/h in 14.3 seconds which won’t set the world alight, but it is nippy around town and powerful enough to cruise comfortably at motorway speeds. Economy is rather good and while Volkswagen claims up to 59MPG, we could only manage 48MPG which is a decent return. Annual motor tax is low with a Band A3 emissions rating (€190 per year).

Despite the styling tweaks, there isn’t any changes to the suspension so it handles like any other Polo in the range, offering good comfort on most Irish roads and quiet cabin noise, even at higher motorway speeds. Out on the road, the Polo Beats offers one of the most refined drives in the supermini class, but it’s not quite as fun or engaging to drive as the latest Ford Fiesta, though most buyers won’t mind this. The Polo Beats is available in both three and five door guise, but we drove the five door and would recommend it for easier access to the rear seats. Boot space at 280 litres is reasonable but less than the new Skoda Fabia (330 litres).

Prices for the Polo Beats start from €20,120 or just over €219 per month on finance, putting it at the higher end of supermini price spectrum. It’s slightly more expensive than the similar spec Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo and over €1k cheaper than the Ford Fiesta ST-Line 1.0-litre Turbo. Standard specification is nonetheless strong however, with 16-inch alloy wheels, sports comfort seats, the upgraded Beats Sound System, App connect and tinted rear windows all included.  

Carzone verdict: 4/5

The Volkswagen Polo Beats stands apart from the supermini crowd with its superb upgraded sound system, excellent smartphone integration and much comfier sports seats. The added Beats badges and graphics won’t be to everyone’s taste however, and for that reason it is quite a niche proposition. The Polo is already one of the best cars in its class and we feel the Beats additions only strengthen its offering, but you’ll have to pay considerably more for the privilege.

Test Car Details:

Model driven: Volkswagen Polo Beats

Prices from: €20,120

Price as tested: €20,895

Annual Road Tax: €190

Engine: 999cc three-cylinder turbocharged petrol

Power/Torque: 75bhp, 95Nm

Top Speed: 220 km/h

0-100km/h: 14.3 seconds

Transmission: 5-Speed Automatic

Body style: Hatchback

Boot Space: 280 Litres