British motoring magazines were already impressed, with What Car? claiming the Polo was its “nomination for the world’s best small car”. But VW had to convince the buying public that the Polo was not only competent but that it also possessed traditional Volkswagen virtues.

That’s why VW stressed “the Polo is painted in the same manner as the legendary Beetle”. And the company was confident of the newcomer’s longevity: “Remember all those ‘100,000 miles without a hitch’ stories you heard about the Beetle? Well, in a few years you should start hearing some about the Polo too.” Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for the Polo to establish its own small-car niche.