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Ford Fiesta vs VW Polo: What’s The Better Car & Which One Should You Lease?

Date Posted 15th December 2020
Read Time 12 min read
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When people think about leasing a new car, it is almost a given that these two cars will crop up in your search.

The two absolute hallmarks of their brand, the Fiesta and the Polo, have come under an intense popularity rise over the last few decades, and for all the right reasons.

A recent study by The Times found that the Fiesta was actually the best selling car in the UK in terms of registrations this year, (driving.co.uk), whilst the Polo entered this list in ninth place. This seems a long way off the top, but at just under 24,000 over the year, it is still a very popular car.

The Fiesta has come on leaps and bounds in recent times. Going from a simple design in the 2000’s to becoming the ideal city car over the last decade with an eye-catching futuristic design, it is no wonder it’s popularity has risen greatly of recent.


And the Polo has followed a similar storyline, too. Deriving from the dull, second-hand feel that it donned in the early parts of the century, the Polo has been given a major facelift to become one of the best propositions Volkswagen has to offer.

However, which one is actually the better car to lease?

This all ultimately depends on your needs – if you are looking for a car which stands out from its competitors whilst also being nimble, then the Fiesta is for you.

Although, if you’re looking at a classic model which consistently gets better and suits the family feel more, the look no further than the Polo.

If you’re still unsure, we are here to help you through this decision with this detailed guide.

Design & styling

These two are the Ford and Volkswagen equivalent of one another. The two are extremely similar in size; with just 1.5cm separating both the width and length of each car, it is hard to differentiate between the two in that category, but that is the biggest similarity of the lot.

The Fiesta is slowly but surely becoming Ford’s most iconic car – especially in the UK – and it is no surprise. For a car that was so quintessentially substandard and living in the Focus’ shadow for the large part of the 2000’s, the various upgrades it has been dealt have propelled it to the summit.

Ford Fiesta Front View

Boasting an Aston Martin-esque grille and a large sporty, wide windscreen, it has a real slick feel to it. Alongside an incredible variation of chrome detailing to choose from, this car has gone from zero to hero in the space of fifteen years.

It fits well across so many demographics, too: proving popular to first car users, whilst also being a great option for commuters and a top choice for a sleek city car. Complete with 16” 8-Spoke Alloys, you really can have a party with this Fiesta.

As for the Polo, it hasn’t had a reputation to build up – which in a sense pays testament to how well VW have done to keep its reputation sky high over the years.

VW Polo Front View

It has come on leaps and bounds over the last few years, and once you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll see that it’s LED Headlights, chrome coating and interior comfort really does embellish this car.

Despite coming in at the same length and width as the Fiesta, the Polo is a lot chunkier; but don’t let this fool you – its nimbleness and agility comes with some surprise to some, and with its new and improved technological advancements , this is a car that has everything.

Essentially, the car which you feel is better suited to you depends on your personal preference. If you’d like a more nimble, sportier looking car with a hatchback, then look no further than the Fiesta.

If a chunkier, more robust yet also still manoeuvrable car is in your sights, then the Polo is definitely for you.

MPG, running costs & environmental impact

Both cars come with a 1.0-litre petrol engine, although Ford give you the option to go with the 1.5-litre diesel engine for the Fiesta.

This effectively means that from the off, these cars are cheap to run, easy on the environment due to their low CO2 emissions, and will inevitably fall into a lower insurance bracket – essentially making them even cheaper for you to lease than other cars.

The Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost provides incredibly well-run environmental statistics. Emitting just 116g/km in CO2 emissions, it also returns a maximum of 55.4mpg – making it cheaper than any of the Polo versions that have been created in 2020.

Ford Fiesta Side View

Other versions, such as the 1.0-litre mild hybrid model, are even better in terms of running costs, although they do come a bit more expensive than the EcoBoost. However, that 56.5mpg and 114g/km combination is really hard to ignore.

With the Polo, you are offered the 1.0-litre or the 1.0-litre TSI, both of which boast a 5-speed manual and emit fairly average levels of CO2 – at 125g and 120g per km, respectively.

Alternatively, if you decide to lease the TSI model with 7-speed DSG, you’ll feel a slight benefit in your driving experience, although this does come at the cost of 128g/km in emission, which of course isn’t desirable. All three of these models are similar in mpg, too – the TSI 5-speed model is your best bet in terms of running costs at 53.3mpg, whilst the 7-speed falls in last place with 50.2mpg – not significant, but over time it all adds up.

Out of the two cars, the Fiesta is definitely cheaper to run.

Many of the Polo trims fall into insurance group two though, making it extremely cheap to insure as opposed to just the two Fiesta trims that fall into the same category – and it is hard to compare the two, meaning you are getting good value for money no matter what.

Engines, drive & performance

The Ford Fiesta is extremely versatile. It comes with many options in the engine, be it entry-level petrol and diesel options, making sure you can fine tune the correct trim to your suited needs. However, this isn’t even the main selling point.

It seems only fair that the Fiesta is shown off with the mention of the EcoBoost. It is now almost  common knowledge that the Ford EcoBoost is by far and away the best in its competitive field – and it is simple for all to see that the Fiesta reigns supreme when looking at the statistics.

The Fiesta boasts a 94bhp and 123bhp option for starters, or alternatively you can pick up the mild-hybrid option, which is available with either a 123bhp and 153bhp petrol-electric mix (excluding the ST line), meaning that no matter which version you decide to lease, you aren’t going to be disappointed with your decision.

And, if you’re looking for that extra, sporty feel, then there is the ST-3 Line – featuring a 1.5-litre engine reaching astronomical highs of 197bhp – taking just 6.5 seconds to hit 60mph.

Its perfectly balanced chassis ensure you can push the limit in the corners, making mind-numbingly boring commutes enjoyable. And, if you want you experience to become even better, the ST line’s suspension gives you more control at high speeds, even with the 1.0-litre engine. A true dream of a car.

That isn’t to take anything away from the Polo, though; it’s lowest priced model also checks in at 94bph, with its 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. The turbocharger boost pull you strongly from low revs around town, yet also allow you to sit comfortably on the motorway – meaning optimum output. The cheapest range only hits 0-60 in 15 seconds, however if you opt for the 1.4-litre GTI 5dr, you can hit that target in a smooth 6.9 seconds – showing that the Polo does pack a surprise.

It is also one of the smoother riding cars in its class; dealing with divot-ridden roads way better than the Fiesta, its bigger design finally comes in handy. Handling is similar, too, and although it may not be as agile as the Fiesta, giving it plenty of grip and well-weighted steering which allows you to meander comfortably along the winding country roads, or the sharp city corners in general.

Overall, though, the Fiesta wins this one due to its complete nimbleness in and around the many scenarios driving throws up.

Interior

The Fiesta has seen one of the biggest shake-ups in the entirety of the car industry over the last few years. Having ashamedly endured the era of cheap, scratchy plastic becoming synonymous with the car, it’s inclusion of properly plush leather seating and the removal of the cheap plastic has almost made the Ford feel somewhat deluxe inside, even in the lower specifications.

The general feel of the interior is also generally a lot more sophisticated than ever seen before in a Fiesta. Of course, as is now a given with 21st century cars, the Fiesta comes with the Ford SYNC – an 8-inch touchscreen, showcasing Apple CarPlay, 2x USB Sockets and 6-speakers – making it a car for all ages.

Ford Fiesta Interior

The Quickclear heated windscreen, NCAP pack and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) are all great features which will also stand you in good stead when making the purchase, ensuring you won’t be let down with the Fiesta due to the amount of top-quality equipment available.

The Polo, meanwhile, has also seen an upturn in sleekness. Stereotypically seen as one of the more sensible cars around, it does pack a surprise – and this is no surprise given how well it has done to remain at the top of its competition class, looking as lively as it ever has.

Volkswagen Polo Interior

Perhaps the neatest inclusion is the overall tidy-up in terms of the appearance in the front – the touchscreen is a lot closer to the driver’s side, which improves performance, and the option of heated seats is a real deal clincher.

The seats have seen a genuine improvement in fabrics, too – gone are the days of cheap padding, with a much more comfortable set of materials being introduced

The general trim finishes inside are top-notch – the dashboard comes with much more variation, there are parking sensors which were never there before and again, it boasts the 8-inch touchscreen the Fiesta does. Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, you name it – the Polo has it, too.

It is really tough to pick a winner, in all honesty – however, if we had to choose one the Polo would edge it. And we really mean edge it, as both tick all the boxes.

Practicality

The Fiesta has grown to levels way beyond its wildest imaginations. Having been classed as the ‘small’ city car over the years, the growth it has seen in the general exterior and bodywork of the model means that it’s newfound practicality has also seen a major increase, too.

With the seats up, the Fiesta holds an impressive 311 litres of boot room, growing to an incredible 1093 litres with seats up, which is enough to fit 10 fairly large suitcases – ideal if you’re making a grand voyage for a vacation.

This isn’t taking up any legroom, either – despite the large trunk, there is still more than enough legroom, many storage compartments and more, meaning absolute comfort for all passengers.

The Polo, it could be argued, goes one better than the Fiesta in terms of practicality, due to its supermini outlook.

VW Polo Side View

Weighing in with 351-litres of space with the rear seats raised, it is a far-cry from the Polo’s of old, where it held just 280-litres of boot space – a huge 20% increase.

And, once the seats are folded down to give maximum capacity, it reaches 1,125 litres of room – which is even more impressive when you take into account that the seats don’t fully go down/

And yet again, there is no complaints about potential leg room and comfort, as the Polo is noted for its family friendliness, and therefore the Polo takes the practicality crown – although the Fiesta, given its size, is not far behind in this contest.

Reliability

As two of the largest car manufacturers in the world, Ford and VW are known for their commitment to reliability.

And as years have gone by, companies have had to make big changes within their designs due to technological advances, and market competition.

Yet although these two cars have had their hiccups in the past, the latest versions of these cars have aged like a fine wine – getting better and better as they go along, with absolutely minimal teething problems.

The latest versions of the Fiesta and the Polo both score 5 stars on the EuroNCAP website too, therefore portraying the maximum level that is exemplary of these two powerhouses.

Cost & deals

As shown before, we have already heavily documented how much it costs to run the Fiesta and the Polo.


However, insurance premiums must also be taken into consideration.

The entry-level Fiesta clocks in rather lowly, in just the 4th band of insurance premiums. This slowly rises to a maximum of group 15 for a standardised Fiesta, which is the 1.5-litre ST Line model.

However, the popular model can rise to as high as insurance group 30, which is seen in the ST-Performance EcoBoost edition.

Meanwhile, the Polo shares a similar story.

The entry-level version falls into the lowest bracket available – 1 – however, this is the most standard car there, at just 1.0-litre and with a measly 65bhp.


This varies massively, because when you compare it to the GTI+ – its much quicker counterpart – this falls under Insurance Group 28, although it is easy to see why with the 2.0-litre TSI, which is three times quicker than the Insurance Group 1 line.

Once again, it is incredibly hard to split the two, and as long as you are money savvy, you can find some trustworthy cars for an incredibly cheap insurance-friendly price – although the Polo nabs it here for us, with its ability to fall into the lowest possible rating.

And, to help you save more, you have us here at Hippo, where you can lease the pair incredibly cheaply.

You can lease the Fiesta from as little as £152 per month.

Or if the Polo has turned your head after reading this, you can do the same at just £153 monthly.