Which is better fast or VW Polo

Comparison test: VW Polo, Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Nissan Micra

Small cars are no longer toy cars, but serious alternatives to the VW Golf and Opel Astra - and not just for short journeys. Polo, Fiesta, Rio and Micra put to the test. Who is the best?

Can children's eyes still shine these days when a model car is under the Christmas tree? At least that's how it used to be. Fire engine, Porsche 911 or a bright yellow ADAC mobile had their special charm. Back then, as now, a completely normal small car was certainly not at the top of the wish list for the little ones.

A real mistake. If the children knew what current small cars can do, they would be absolutely thrilled! At around four meters, they offer astonishingly good space - at least four of them. Whether emergency brake assist, drowsiness or blind spot warning: there is no lack of electronics for more driving safety. Reversing cameras ensure a good view to the rear. And a heated steering wheel often helps against cold hands in winter.

In short: if you don't rely on the space of a van or station wagon, you don't actually need a larger car and should be happy with a small car. But which one should it be? The ADAC tested four new models.

VW Polo

Visually, little has changed

The VW Polo is Germany's best-selling small car. Perhaps that is why the Wolfsburg-based company didn't want to take any chances and has only carefully developed the design. The new model, which has been available since autumn, looks very similar to its predecessor. At least outside, inside a lot is new. As with other VW models, it is possible, for example, to replace the analog instruments with a screen for € 400. Advantage: The display can be configured individually so that the navigation map, for example, can be brought into direct view.

As with the competition - with small restrictions for the Nissan - smartphones can not only be charged wirelessly (from € 120), but can also be coupled well with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (from € 225). The black framed touchscreen looks classy and is easy to use, colored applications add a kick. When it comes to the quality of the materials in the interior, the Polo does not stand out from its competitors: hard plastic testifies to the sharp pencil, as do omitted handles on the roof (as in the Fiesta).

Because the Polo has become eight centimeters longer and six wider, there is noticeably more space inside than in the predecessor. None of the competitors can keep up with that, most likely the Kia Rio, on whose back seat you can sit comfortably.

When it comes to comfort, the Polo sets standards; it springs almost as well as a big one. However, the demanding ADAC evasive test pushes the car to its limits: The rear gets nervous, so that although ESP has a lot to do and could intervene earlier, it ultimately prevents it from skidding. Ford and Kia master the maneuver more confidently.

You can find one heredetailed test report of the VW Polo.

Nissan Micra

The Nissan Micra fails in the evasion test

The Nissan Micra shows considerable weaknesses in the evasion test. Which is all the more surprising as it looks quite active in everyday driving and, with its rather stiff chassis, does not need to shy away from brisk corners. In the emergency situation simulated by the ADAC, however, the rear pushes outwards and can only be caught again by an experienced driver. A spontaneous evasive maneuver in front of an obstacle could end up in the ditch!

Faced with the unpleasant result, Nissan promised to improve and re-tune the ESP system.

Overall, the Micra lacks fine-tuning - despite the progressive look. There is little space at the rear and the rear door handles hidden in the C-pillar are difficult to grip. After folding down the rear seats, there is a step. The 90 hp three-cylinder engine is not quiet, consumes a comparatively high amount of 6.0 liters of super and is annoying in everyday life with its inharmonious power delivery. Less than 2000 tours happen at first - the competitors can do that better.

Good: an emergency brake assistant that also recognizes pedestrians is standard, and the controls are functional. And the equipment of the N-Connecta is also impressive with its standard navigation system and automatic air conditioning.

You can find a current one hereDriving report of the Nissan Micra with the new 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine.

Ford Fiesta

Chassis top, space flop

The Ford Fiesta is no longer designed as extravagantly as its predecessor, both outside and inside. This is good for operation: you can find your way around faster in the new model. The touchscreen with large pushbuttons, standard hands-free system and a sensible smartphone connection via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is particularly successful.

Music streaming services can be operated via the display, for example. Thanks to its pleasant suspension, the uncritical driving behavior and the low noise level, the Fiesta is also very suitable for long journeys, provided you don't want to overcrowd the car. Because the space has remained rather tight, especially in the rear and trunk, and the seats could be a little wider at the front.

Its three-cylinder engine with 100 hp leaves an ambivalent impression. It is just as economical as the drive of the Polo (5.4 l Super / 100 km) and runs well overall. But below 1900 revs it hums so much that you don't like to stroll in high gear and prefer to engage a lower gear - with corresponding consequences for fuel consumption.

When it comes to assistance systems, the Fiesta is well equipped and offers everything that is up to date in higher classes, even if only at an additional cost: for example, traffic sign recognition or emergency brake, high beam and lane assistant.

You can find a detailed one hereTest of the Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost.

Kia Rio

Seven year guarantee

And the Kia Rio? It cannot be ordered with so many helpers, it is limited to the emergency braking and lane keeping system. Apart from that, it delivers a solid performance with the shortest braking distance in comparison, plenty of space and decent comfort equipment - there is little to complain about.

A seven-year guarantee is a weighty argument for many. And if the pleasantly lively engine were not so loud and a little more economical (5.7 liters on average), the Rio would have what it takes to overtake the Ford Fiesta. But it remains tied with an overall grade of 2.7 and a second place.

The current Rio demonstrates that there is quality but not at a dumping price. While its predecessors were still real bargains, the tested version of the Korean version is now on par with the competition at € 18,790.

However, today small cars with a reasonable engine and good equipment are no longer special offers anyway - those who diligently rummage through the surcharge lists will quickly crack the € 20,000 threshold. But there is still a considerable gap of a few thousand euros to the next higher class. Rational customers can therefore save themselves the price jump on VW Golf, Ford Focus & Co.

Here you can find the PDF of theCar tests of the Kia Rio.

Mini SUV in the comparison test: who wins?

Hyundai Kona, Kia Stonic, Seat Arona and Opel Crossland X are great fun with their fresh design and lively engines. Four new mini SUVs in comparison. Who is in the lead?

You can find the test results here

The VW Polo takes first place

Despite weaknesses in the ADAC evasion test, the VW Polo wins. It is the best all-rounder, has a lot of space, consumes little and drives comfortably. Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio are also recommendable small cars. The Nissan Micra only with revised ESP.

ADAC judgment / ADAC EcoTest (maximum 5 stars)


1st place - VW Polo 1.0 TSI Comfortline

2,5 / ✶✶✶✶

  • Very cheap to maintain. Good space. To have many assistance systems. Good steering.
  • Moderate halogen light. Weaknesses in the ADAC evasion test.

2nd place - Ford Fiesta 1.0
ecoboost Titanium

2,7 / ✶✶✶✶

  • Inexpensive to maintain. Safe and agile driving behavior. To have many assistance systems.
  • Moderate halogen light. Little space in the rear. Grumpy engine.

2nd place - Kia Rio 1.0 T-GDI 100 Spirit

2,7 / ✶✶✶

  • Inexpensive to maintain. Safe driving behavior. 7 year guarantee.
  • Relatively high noise level. Hard, scratch-sensitive plastics on the dashboard.

4th place - Nissan Micra 0.9 IG-T N-Connecta

3,0 / ✶✶✶

  • Inexpensive to maintain. Good steering. Standard emergency brake assistant.
  • Very critical behavior in the evasion test. Uncultivated engine. Increased particle emissions.

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