When I'm shopping for a car there are a number of things I take into consideration. A car should somehow combine style - a sense of design - with practicality - a sense of safety. I want a car that will hold all my food shopping on a Saturday morning, all my clothes shopping on a Saturday afternoon and not slow me down when I'm trying to nip into that last parking space in the multistorey. I need a nippy little engine - a pouncing tiger hidden in a purring pussy cat's outer shell. And the car that successfully combines all of these for me is the VW Polo.
The Polo has undergone several transformations over the years. The current incarnation was launched in 2002, but underwent an important facelift in 2005 when it evolved into the sleeker, sexier design we know and love. The new 2009 models have taken on elements of their cousin, the VW Golf, in particular the front end.
The slinky look, however, does not detract from the solid stability of the Polo, which retains a reassuringly chunky edge. It is in this edge that the reliability lies - that feeling that there's something solid beneath your feet (or pedals, in this case!) that won't give out and leave you stranded roadside in the dark. The Polo is in fact one of the more reliable cars out there, painless to run and, when they are necessary, boasting low-cost repairs. Which means more money for me and my shoe closet!
Speaking of which, the boot may not be the biggest in the business, but it's plenty big enough, even for my shopping habits! It also has a removable false bottom, beneath which is a tardis-like expanse of space for storing sensible walking shoes and wellies - just in case you do get caught out in snow, or suddenly and unexpectedly have to chase a man up a mountain...
And the glove box is sizeable enough for gloves hats and scarves, all my paperwork, my emergency make-up bag, the usual endless (I'm convinced they're breeding!) packs of travel tissues and my mobile phone charger. In fact, it's thanks to the glove box that I'm able to keep the rest of the car so spotless - which is a relief, as I wouldn't want my clutter to detract from the lovely blue-lit dashboard with it's neat instrumentation.
As for the Pouncing Tiger Purring Pussy Cat, this car really is great for zipping around town in. The turbo-charged engine makes pulling out into moving traffic as easy as stepping out of your front door, and the excellent all-round visibility makes parking an absolute doddle. Yup, the VW Polo truly is a shopaholic's best friend!
Pete J Ridgard is a writer and a car enthusiast. He currently writes for the automotive industry. Here he discusses VW Polo cars.