Picture this. You want a car that’s compact, technology packed, with 5-star safety, that’s punchy around corners, and really affordable. Some will say “You’re dreaming”, but not Volkswagen, instead, they’ll show you the 2022 Polo 85TSI Life.
From the outset, it’s a nice, neat, and small package. A shallow bonnet is met with stylish LED headlights, which cleverly include LED illuminated grille strips, pairing up seamlessly with a chrome strip that spans from headlight to headlight.
It’s quite the sharp look. Below this, you’ll find an understated bumper, with fog lamps integrated into the grille. We wouldn’t call the look head turning, but it is tastefully done. The side view reveals the spirit of the Polo, compact yet stylish.
Distinct lines are carved into the panels, continuing seamlessly to the rear. Folding side mirrors when car is locked are a welcome feature. Volkswagen have made a great choice with their wheel design too, and it does have an eye-catching factor.
15-inch alloys come standard too, and if there’s a downside to the the exterior design it’s the lack of shark fin antenna, with the Life instead scoring the older style “remote control car” variety.
As a compact hatch, you don’t expect too much in terms of interior space, and that’s confirmed when you hop into the driver’s seat. Adjusting the front seats for regular adults will cause the rear seats to become quite cosy for adult rear passengers.
That said, the seats are reasonably comfortable and sturdy. A 3-spoke leather covered steering wheel, with an abundance of controls, also features, alongside a super impressive suite of technology.
A digital cockpit display sits behind the steering wheel, which has changeable views for the speedo, tacho, navigation, audio, and more. What makes that impressive is this is the base model in the new Polo range.
Off to the centre of the dashboard, sits an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, that includes wired Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (you can opt for wireless, but it is an extra). There’s four USB-C ports too, a duo up front and the same in the rear.
You’ll also find a decent, but not great, 6-speaker sound system. Overall though, the comfort and technology offered in the 2022 Volkswagen Polo Life was more than we had expected.
But style and a half-way decent interior aren’t the highlight for Volkswagen’s compact hatch. Rather, it’s the driving experience that impresses the most, with the 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder inline turbocharged petrol engine punching out 85kW and 200Nm.
Delivered through a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox, this auto only version of the Life bares the 85TSI moniker. The gearbox is essentially an optional extra, while the 70TSI variety has a 5-speed manual as standard and only offers 70kW and 175Nm.
The choice to go auto is well worth it. Fuel efficiency is quite remarkable too, at an economical 5.2-litres/100km (real world testing). On the road, we found the drive of the Polo Life quite spirited, agile, and fun around corners.
Thanks to the small and lightweight body, a foot down on the pedal presents incredible, responsive movement. It’ll genuinely make you smile.
We did notice the brakes were quite sensitive and found ourselves stopping more abruptly than expected, when touching the pedal, though it would just take some getting used to if you owned one.
On the safety tech front, you’ll find cruise control, driver fatigue detection, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, a beautifully clear rear view camera, airbags (of course), ABS, brake assist, hill start assist, and emergency braking.
You’ll also find two ISOFIX child seat anchors for the outer rear seats, as well as three top tether anchor points, mounted on rear seat backs. The 2022 Volkswagen Polo Life has a 5-star ANCAP safety rating too.
All-in-all it’s a nice little package for a compact hatch; a thrill on the pedal with great tech. Throw in the incredible fuel economy, and some cool colours, including Pure White, Vibrant Violet Metallic, Reflex Silver Metallic and Smokey Grey Metallic, and it’s hard to go past.
There’s also Reef Blue Metallic (as tested) and Deep Black Pearl Effect. You can pick one up, with the DSG option for $33,141 drive away, which is exceptional value. It comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and 1-year roadside assist.
Our test vehicle was provided by Volkswagen Australia. To find out more about the 2022 Volkswagen Polo Life, contact your local Volkswagen dealer.