THE Polo is Volkswagen’s second-best-selling model and its subtle facelift for 2014 has only added to its popularity.

In fact, more than 14 million Polos have been sold worldwide since it first went on sale in the 1970s.

This model may look a little on the bland side, but with prices from just £11k, the super sensible Polo is easy to drive, practical and inoffensive – and now much more fuel efficient too.

The engine line-up has been revised – petrol options are now two three-cylinder 1.0-litre MPI units; two 1.2-litre four-cylinder TSI engines and a 1.4-litre TSI engine with cylinder deactivation. There are two new three-cylinder 1.4-litre diesel engines.

External styling changes include a new front bumper with added structure and larger air ducts. The headlamps retain the same shape as before, although they are now available with an LED main beam function.

The interior has been refreshed too, but a new infotainment system is the key upgrade inside; even base models now get a 5.0-inch colour touchscreen, while SE models upwards get a more sophisticated 6.5-inch screen. This features a proximity sensor, so menus pop up as your hand is near, and it also responds to swipe gestures.

Ride and handling has also been improved thanks to an (optional) Sport Select suspension with two levels of damping stiffness along with a new electro-mechanical steering system.

As well as ESC electronic stability control, all new Polos are equipped with Hill Hold and – a first in this class – an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System which brakes the vehicle after a collision to reduce kinetic energy, thereby minimising the chance of a second impact.

Optional safety features include a Driver Alert System and Adaptive Cruise Control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, for £500.

I drove the SE trim, which came equipped with 15-inch ‘Lyon’ alloys; chrome-trimmed air intake; multifunction display; alarm; air conditioning; and a Composition Media System with the all-important iPod/MP3 connectivity.

Move up to the SE Design and you’ll get 16-inch alloys, front foglights and sports seats, while the range-topping SEL adds front and rear parking sensors and a front centre armrest.

A new Polo BlueMotion TSI – the first petrol BlueMotion model in Volkswagen’s line-up – will be available towards the end of the year.

Volkswagen Polo SE 1.0-litre
On the road: £13,065
Top speed: 100mph
0-62mph: 15.5 seconds
Fuel: 60.1mpg (combined)
CO2 emissions: 106g/km