While SUVs and crossovers might have captured the public attention in recent years, the supermini remains the most popular choice for UK motorists and accounts for three out of the top 10 new cars sold in 2021.
Out of those three, both the Volkswagen Polo and Vauxhall Corsa placed highly (fifth and first respectively) while the reliable Ford Fiesta, which had taken the top spot for several years prior, dropped out of the top 10 completely last year.
These facts make this week’s triple-threat head-to-head all the more intriguing as we find out which used supermini is best to lease.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa: Exterior
It’s telling of the subtle evolution of car design that you can perceive which of the above models are the oldest and which is the newest.
Though the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta will both offer new generation models this year, the fact the current ranges are now five years old and showing their age is obvious compared to the more modern Vauxhall Corsa (released in 2020).
The Corsa is more streamlined, with sleek flowing lines, dynamic curves and a bold new front grille with LED lights. Add to this it’s two-tone floating roof design and it makes the Fiesta and Polo look relatively ancient.
But while the Fiesta and Polo may now be a generation behind in styling, the fact remains they’re timeless. When the Fiesta was initially released, Ford already knew it had a winning formula and so played it safe with the headlights slimmed and the rear subtly redesigned. The Polo on the other hand was subtly stylish with an air of the upmarket thanks to using the same grille and headlights design as VW’s flagship Arteon.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa: Interior and storage
While you might have expected a similar result to the above when it comes to the interiors of the three superminis, things become a little bit more competitive.
While the Vauxhall Corsa might be the more modern interior, it is relatively unremarkable albeit clean and tidy. As a result it can’t compete with the VW Polo’s larger and more upmarket feel, with quality and comfort at an optimum for this segment.
But, when it comes to a driver-focused cabin, the Fiesta has something a little bit extra to offer over both: it’s driver-centric and is class-leading in layout and design in our opinion, with its smart-feeling steering wheel, soft touch plastics around the cabin, and racer-esque gearstick making any driver feel at home.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa: Infotainment
While infotainment is much of a muchness (looking at the examples above it’s like playing the world’s hardest game of spot the difference) we appreciate how important infotainment and the ability to mirror your smartphone via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is to the modern motorist. As such we’ll be looking at which is the most navigable and response tech on offer.
The Ford Fiesta’s infotainment unit is probably one of the easiest to navigate thanks to being a floating unit with manual dials and buttons rather than integrated like the other two. However, while it’s crisp and clear, it can be a bit unresponsive and not very user-intuitive to use.
In comparison, the VW Polo has an eight-inch touchscreen integrated into the dashboard as standard. It is responsive and offers clean and crisp graphics that compliment the mood and feel of the supermini’s interior.
The Vauxhall Corsa follows a similar path, offering a colour touchscreen and smartphone integration across the range albeit it’s slightly smaller as standard (7-inch). What hampers it slightly on top of that is its menu layout isn’t very user intuitive compared to the Polo. It does provide physical shortcut buttons and knobs and so is less distracting to use when on the move however.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa: Engines and efficiency
In the current climate of engine downsizing for maximum efficiency (and to ensure the manufacturer’s fall within the legal CO2 emissions framework), there’s not a whole lot to differentiate between the three cars when it comes to engines and efficiency.
The 2021 refresh of the Ford Fiesta range saw the introduction of a 1.0-litre EcoBoost Hybrid engine available with 125 PS and 155 PS power outputs, combined with a six-speed manual transmission offering fuel efficiency from 48 mpg and CO2 emissions from 111 g/km2.
A 125 PS EcoBoost Hybrid was also offered with a seven-speed, Powershift dual-clutch automatic transmission, delivering seamless gear changes for optimised refinement and from 45.2 mpg fuel efficiency and 117 g/km CO2.
Those looking for a non-hybrid version had to settle for the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine which offered 100 PS, delivering from 45.2 mpg and 118 g/km CO2.
The Volkswagen Polo on the other hand had its most recent refresh in 2020 and similar to Ford only offers a 1.0-litre TSI engine in various states of tune. These include a five-speed manual offering 53.9 mpg and 119 g/km CO2 as well as a seven-speed automatic offering 50.6 mpg and 127 g/km CO2, both with 95 PS power.
A 110 PS seven-speed automatic with 50.2 mpg is the most potent offering unless you want to opt for the GTI.
Finally, the Vauxhall Corsa engine range kicks off with the 1.2 litre (75 PS) petrol unit offering 53 mpg. Next up – a nippy, award-winning, direct-injection turbocharged 1.2 litre (100 PS) model with 54.3 mpg. Vauxhall is one of the few manufacturers left who still offer a diesel engine in the range too, with the 1.5 litre diesel pushing 102 PS with maximum torque of 250Nm and 68.9 mpg.
Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo vs Vauxhall Corsa: Which is the best supermini to lease?
While each model offers something unique depending on what your priorities are, for pure breadth of choice the Vauxhall Corsa just edges past the Volkswagen Polo and Ford Fiesta to be our choice of best supermini.
No wonder it was our second most popular car in 2021.