When people talk about family cars, they often refer to MPVs or people carriers. The thing is, there will be times where you don't need to have such a large vehicle. Many parents with growing families get by with smaller hatchbacks.
There seems to be some unwritten rule that says parents can only have boring cars to drive. If you're a car enthusiast, this might sound soul-destroying to you. But, there's no reason why you can't have a practical AND fun car to drive!
One such example is the latest Volkswagen Polo GTi. It's one of the German firm's most popular models in its range. Other cars from the VW Group, such as the Skoda Fabia, get based on the Polo. The GTi trim is without a doubt one of the most fun hatchbacks you will ever own! So, what's it like to drive? Let me share with you some of the model's best features:
Plenty of power in a compact form
Lurking in the depths of the engine compartment is a TSI power plant. You can opt for the 1.4-litre or 1.8-litre version, depending on your need for speed!
The 1.4 TSI boasts 177 brake horsepower and has a zero to 60 mph time of 6.7 seconds. Fuel economy isn't too bad at 47 MPG combined, plus it has low CO2 emissions of 139 g/km.
Meanwhile, the bigger 1.8-litre engine offers 189 brake horsepower. It also has a slightly faster 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds. Fuel economy is far superior at 50 MPG combined, and CO2 emissions are lower than the 1.4 at 129 g/km! You can get both engines with a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed DSG.
On the road
Let's face it. You're not going to drive the car like you stole it. Especially when you've got precious cargo on board (i.e. your other half and children).
If you need performance for overtaking or joining motorways, the TSI engines are useful. The DSG is brilliant in either automatic or manual mode and is a welcome boon for city dwellers.
The thing I love about the Polo GTi is the way it handles on all kinds of tarmac. One criticism I have is that the steering can sometimes feel too light. But, that's something you'll find across the board with most VW cars.
When you're on the road, the 17-inch alloys keep you firmly planted to the floor. And it doesn't matter which choice of Volkswagen tyres you have. The suspension and stability control systems stop you from sliding around in adverse weather.
A simple dashboard layout
One of the things I love the most about the Volkswagen Polo GTi is the simplistic dash layout. Controls are easy to find, plus the dash doesn't look like the interior of a 747!
The infotainment system is easy to navigate and offers DAB digital radio as standard. The speaker setup is also brilliant for playing your favourite tunes!
Plenty of cabin space
Last, but not least, the cabin of the VW Golf GTi is rather cavernous. Sure, it's no seven-seater like the Vauxhall Zafira, for example. But, if you've got a couple of kids, there's ample room in the back for them.