A world apart: with its excellent interior space and quality feel, the Volkswagen Polo is regarded as one of the best small VWs ever built with a comfortable driving position

EUROPEAN Car of the Year and now World Car of the Year. The VW Polo just keeps picking up awards. The recognition is well justified.

The Polo is a well engineered car, has good interior space for a car of its size, a top line-up of economical petrol and diesel engines and clean exterior lines. Add these up and you come out with a car that is bound to have very high residual values. So it is not surprising that the VW has come up with such recognition.

The Polo Trendline, the entry level model, is priced at €16,600 for the three-door version and knock the €1,500 government scrappage off that figure and you get excellent value with the 1.6 litre 75 bhp diesel engine. The five-door is priced at €17,000 less scrappage.

The quality feel built into the Polo has been commented on by European and World juries who have just placed the Polo in the top spot at a New York function. A test drive, even on the worst Irish roads will confirm the build quality and the engine, typically noisy at start-up, hums easily when on the move and gives a lively performance if you keep the revs up. Around town in more sedate driving expect up to 40 mpg. The C02 output is 112 g/km which means Band A, €104 road tax, and 16 per cent VRT.

The BlueMotion version at €19,220, less scrappage, puts out just 92 g/km of C02 and the VRT is down to 14 per cent. This model is for the hardline green brigade and comes very well kitted out with hill hold, low rolling resistance tyres, 15 alloy wheels, stop start and a different gearing ratio for even greater economy around town. There is also cruise control and ESP as standard. For weight-saving purposes the spare wheel is replaced by a repair kit.

For passengers in the Polo there is reasonable legroom for a supermini-sized car. Move up to the comfortline where the prices range from €16,725 to €18,220 and you will find under seat trays for storage, double cargo floor, air conditioning, a cooled gloovebox and four electric windows. The top of the range highline prices are €21,995 - €22,280 and you will find even more luxury touches here.

In the World Car of the Year contest, the Polo was chosen from an initial entry list of 30 cars nominated by jurors from 25 countries. The voting was based on safety, environment, significance and emotional appeal. In the summary the jury declared: "Holding its own in the most competitive market segment, the all-new Polo MkV is one of VW's star performers. Boasting best-in-segment packaging and handling, this supermini's blend of classy looks, reliability and quality has meant it's consistently been one the market's best-sellers."

"Draped in head-turning stylish curves, the Polo is certainly one of the classiest small VWs ever built. It's also safe; generating a maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating. Behind the wheel, the Polo demonstrates mature manners and boasts a superb driving position that's adjustable and, in common with the latest Golf. All the controls are well weighted and precise. The Polo is just one brilliant supermini."

The other contenders were the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the Toyota Prius.

There were further awards for VW at the event. The Blue motion technology in the Golf, Passat and Polo was voted the World Green Car 2010 because of their fuel saving/ low emission technology. The Audi R8 V10 took the World Performance Car title.

The Chevrolet Camaro took the World Car Design of the Year award.

Previous World Car of the Year winners were the Volkswagen Golf in 2009, the Mazda2 in 2008, the Lexus LS460 in 2007, the BMW 3-Series in 2006, and the Audi A6 in 2005.