Considering they’re pitched primarily younger buyers, it’s important that modern light cars have the latest in infotainment for tech-savvy and stream-happy buyers. Luckily for those youngsters, the Volkswagen Polo Launch Edition has just about every base covered.
Smartphone mirroring tech like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard fit too, and the display itself is mounted in the dash – rather than on top of it – for an integrated look.
Unlike some rivals, the Polo’s display has touch-capacitive shortcuts stacked on either side in the place of physical buttons, although there are rotary dials for volume and frequency tuning.
Additionally, all the necessary audio controls are on the steering wheel, while the voice control button activates Siri for Apple users when your smartphone is connected via CarPlay.
In terms of the interface, the Polo’s infotainment system is just like any other Volkswagen product, meaning the menus are easy to use, actions are completed swiftly, and the transitions between menus are smooth like a high-end smartphone.
What isn’t so flash, however, is that neither the Comfortline or top-spec Launch Edition we have here offer in-built satellite navigation despite it being available in overseas markets.
Now, before you ask “but you have CarPlay, why do you need inbuilt navigation for?”, we believe choice should be offered, especially on higher grades like this light car that is approaching $25,000 before on-road costs.
Constantly plugging and unplugging your phone is a little annoying, and sometimes Apple CarPlay can take a few moments to load when starting up, so you could be on your way before anything actually shows up on your screen.
Also, having experienced this in another vehicle recently, if you stray from the downloaded navigation path in an area with little or no reception – on a country road trip, for example – the smartphone’s maps app may not redirect you or offer prompts as it has nowhere to download directions from if you deviate from a route.
If you do a lot of driving in rural areas, and have a habit of punching in a destination last minute or on the move, this can be a bit of an annoyance in a vehicle with no factory navigation system.
The ironic part is, the Polo’s infotainment system is fitted with navigation in various trims of the Golf and Tiguan, so it’s not like it’s not available for that unit. Additionally, there’s no DAB+ digital radio functionality either.
Sound quality is decent, though. The Polo Launch Edition scores a six-speaker audio system, which for a car at this price point delivers pretty clear and crisp sound for music and phone calls.
What is worth mentioning is that the higher-spec Beats and GTI will bring added options for the Polo range in the coming months, including inbuilt navigation and the swish 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster – no doubt elevating the Volkswagen’s tech suite from its rivals further.
For what it’s worth, however, the Polo Launch Edition has a decent infotainment setup for the light car class. While it not be class-leading in terms of all-out features and functions, the execution and ease-of-use is right up there with the best.