The ideal ‘second’ car for families: part two

Welcome to part two of our series of articles looking at ideal second cars for families.

As much as many families could do without the expense of running a second car, and as much as many families really try to manage without, sometimes that just isn’t manageable. Work and schooling arrangements can make it impossible to only manage with one car.

Once you’ve accepted you need a second car though what are your options?

In this series we will be looking at some of the cars often pitched as ‘second’ cars and seeing just how practical they are. If you are looking for technical reviews on these cars, your’re in the wrong place, but if you want to know whether any of these cars will work for your family stay tuned.

The first car we looked at was the Volvo V40, you can read about that here.

What to consider when looking for a second car:

When you decide to take the plunge and go for that second car, what do you really need to think about? The main thing to consider is what you will need to MAINLY use the car for. Here’s a few things to ask yourself:

  • Will the car be used to commute on a long journey?
  • Will the car need to carry baby or toddler seats?
  • Will the car need to carry older children?
  • Will the boot need to hold a pushchair? If so will it fit?
  • Will you need to carry sports or music equipment for family members?
  • Will you ever need to fit the whole family in the car?
  • Will the car JUST be used for the school run and general running around?
  • Will you be driving the car into a city?

The second car we are looking at in this series is the Volkswagen Polo Match. The Polo Match is known for being safe and tough and it is reassuringly built with a galvanised body and steel hinges, a winner at the Auto Express Awards multiple times – but can it offer more?

polo match

Fitted as standard to every Polo Match:

  • Safety and security
  • ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist); ESC (Electronic Stability Control)
    including EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and ASR (Traction Control)
  • airbags – driver’s and front passengers; side head/thorax airbag system from front passengers
  • automatic post collision braking system
  • driver’s and front passenger’s safety-optimised head restraints
  • alarm with interior protection; electronic engine immobiliser; remote central locking
  • driver alert system
  • tyre pressure loss indicator
  • Isofix child seat preparation for two rear child seats
  • Comfort and convenience
  • hill hold function
  • stop/start function
  • battery regeneration (recuperation – energy recovery during braking)
  • multifunction computer – includes visual gear change recommendation for optimum fuel consumption
  • manual air conditioning with dust and pollen filter
  • electric windows, front and rear
  • electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors
  • interior lighting with delayed switch-off; illuminated vanity mirrors
  • reading lights: two front and one rear
  • driver’s and front passenger’s comfort seats with height adjustment
  • two front cupholders; sunglasses holder; bag hooks in luggage compartment
  • height / reach adjustable steering wheel; power-assisted steering
  • split folding rear seat backrest 60:40; load-through provision
  • In-car entertainment and communications
  • Composition Media system with 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, DAB radio receiver, CD player, eight
    speakers, SD card reader, music playback from MP3, WMA and AAC files, aux-in socket for
    connection to an external multimedia source, MDI (Multi Device Interface) via USB connection
  • Bluetooth telephone and audio connection for compatible devices
  • Wheels and suspension
  • alloy wheels, 6J x 15” ‘Stratford’ with 185/60 R15 tyres and anti-theft wheel bolts
  • full size steel spare wheel
  • External design
  • halogen headlights, range adjustable with separate daytime running lights
  • heat insulating green tinted glass
  • body-coloured door mirrors with integrated indicators
  • Interior design
  • upholstery – ‘Rail’ cloth
  • leather trimmed gear knob, handbrake grip and multifunction steering wheel
  • luggage compartment with variable load floor
  • ‘Matt Chrome’ air vent surround, gear lever gaiter surround and handbrake grip button

polo match with two isofix seats

We have been driving the Polo Match 1.0-litre 75 PS 5spd mannual 5dr

  • Car-Net App-Connect
  • Flash Red with Titan Black cloth upholstery

polo match boot with pushchair

Why it makes a great second car:

  • With a basic on the road price of £14,085 it’s a much more affordable second car than the Volvo V40
  • Feels solid
  • Well built sturdy construction
  • Isofix in rear seats
  • Looks smart
  • Comfortable for a small car
  • Comfortable for two adults and two toddlers with Isofix seats or two older children across the back – three is a squeeze though
  • Reasonable boot space for the size of car – you would probably only fit a small stroller in the boot though easily
  • Easy to park and manoeuvre and generally handles well, great for busy school car parks or tight multi-storey car parks!
  • Compact but doesn’t have that ‘tiny’ feeling of some small cars
  • Great for nipping about and for school runs etc
  • Spare tyre – just makes me feel at ease!

polo match with one isofix car seat

What you might want to think about: 

  • Not great fuel economy on a long journey, but if you were using it for short distances this wouldn’t be such and issue
  • You can’t easily get a guitar in the boot – Yup, tried it!
  • You can’t easily fit a bulky pushchair in the boot – see above!
  • Under powered for long journeys, and sometimes when pulling out, so go for a different engine to the one we tried

polo match with children in back

If you want a second car for short school runs, or trips to work that aren’t too far then the Polo Match would be ideal. However, for up and down the motorway on a regular basis you will need to consider some other options.


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