For a 64bhp engine it is quite powerful especially from 0-40mph, but it revs very highly (3600rpm at 70mph) and the red line is just 5800rpm. The engine can be too gruff and this coupled to road noise which is more pronounced than in most volkswagens means its not great for long journeys- even our Peugeot 106 is a quieter car. The ride is also too firm-I think the cheap Kuhmo tyres that VW fit may be to blame. The drive train is smoother than in Honda's and Mazda's though- this is particularly evident in stop start traffic, making city driving impressively easy.
Spec is adequate given the price. The Polo is definitely not the most stylish small car, like most Volkswagens it has a bland shape with little design flair. The interior however amazed me at how sturdy it felt and the plastics and switch gear are top notch. The blue and red dash lights are nice at night, but spoilt by a cabin that is typically drab being black on black and with no sunroof it's pretty gloomy.
Handling is acceptable rather than entertaining, with numb, dull steering, but it is ever so competent. If VW's were as reliable as they used to be and as reliable as Japanese cars it would have more in its favour.