Volkswagen Ireland has recently introduced the ‘Polo Beats’ special edition to the Volkswagen Polo range.
That is ‘Beats’ as in Beats by Dre, the ultra-hip audio business set up by rapper and producer Dr. Dre.
Maybe that means nothing to you. I had to explain to my Dad who Dr. Dre was and thus the significance of Polo Beats, but among a younger audience there is certainly some cachet to the brand.
So this is a powerful piece of repositioning for the Polo. The Volkswagen Polo is a perennial of the small car class but the image is a little staid. You might associate the Polo with a car your granny would drive. Polo Beats aims to change that image and appeal to a younger buyer.
On the outside the Polo has been ‘jazzed up’ with some questionable decals, coloured door mirrors, gloss black radiator grille, a gorgeous set of 16” alloys and a subtle ‘Beats’ logo on each B pillar.
The cabin is a two tone grey affair with beautiful seats with quilted fabric in the middle panel and Alcantara trim. The quality inside is excellent and Polo Beats really benefits from the pale grey interior. It’s a much brighter and more cheerful place than the usual black.
And of course there is THAT stereo. A typical Polo would have about an 80 watt stereo. This one is 300 watt with seven high-end speakers dotted around the cabin including a subwoofer in the boot! App Connect as standard means that you can quickly connect your smartphone to the car and listen to your music via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto so your Polo Beats will soon be bopping. The stereo really is great, especially if you love bass!
The Polo Beats also comes with other such notables as four electric windows, air con, leather steering wheel, front fog lights, LED footwell illumination and cruise control.
It all comes at a cost. The Polo Beats is five door only in Ireland and has a list price of €20,120, and comes with just the 1.0-litre petrol engine with 75hp. The Polo five door range starts at €16,370, while a similarly specced ‘Allstar’ Polo comes in at €19,495, albeit minus stereo.
Yet there is a lot of substance to the Volkswagen Polo meaning that for your €20,000 you are getting a decent car that doesn’t serve up any real niggles or irritants. It’s big inside for a car of its size. It drives well. And the refinement and comfort is truly commendable and puts it head and shoulders over the competition and knocking on the door of the class above.
The only caveat is that the Polo Beats with its 1.0-litre 75hp engine is not particularly fast. It is nippy at urban speeds and certainly won’t lag behind traffic, but it doesn’t have the punchy performance of a turbo unit. Overtaking manoeuvres will have to be planned in advance. On the motorway the revs run high but you would only know that from looking at the rev counter – there’s never a racket in the cabin, even at high speeds. However, it would make an excellent choice if you’re more of an urban driver.
To be honest, I approached the Volkswagen Polo Beats as just an expensive Polo with a fancy stereo. It is to a certain extent but after driving it and enjoying that stereo, it’s not the worst way you could spend €20,000!
Model tested: Volkswagen Polo Beats 1.0 75hp
Price: €20,120 (Range starts at €15,705)
Engine: 1.0-litre petrol
0-100km/h: 14.3 seconds
Claimed economy: 59mpg
CO2 emissions: 108g/km
Tax band: €190 per year