VW Polo, Ford Fiesta or Toyota Corolla: comparing apples to oranges, which car should I buy?

Choosing between three favourites: Toyota Corolla vs. Ford Fiesta vs. Volkswagen Polo (Wheels24)
Choosing between three favourites: Toyota Corolla vs. Ford Fiesta vs. Volkswagen Polo (Wheels24)

• We help a reader decide between a Polo, Fiesta, and Corolla.

• Polo and Fiesta compete in a lower segment than Corolla.

• Corolla carries the highest price at R369 100.

For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za

Recently, a Wheels24 reader reached out with a somewhat unusual question: Which car should he purchase between a Volkswagen Polo, Ford Fiesta, and Toyota Corolla?

It sparked an interesting debate because the Corolla does not compete in the same segment as the Polo and Fiesta. Not only that, but the Toyota is a bigger car than the other two options.

Pressed on what his budget is, the reader was quick to point out that the Corolla's entry-level model should indicate as to how far he can make his money stretch.

If you are in a similar predicament, hopefully, the analysis below will ease the decision-making process.

Ford Fiesta

2020 Ford Fiesta (QuickPic)

Pricing and Warranty

Going on the fact that the entry-level Corolla, at R369 100, is equipped with a manual gearbox, we looked at the models from the Fiesta and Polo ranges that come close to it. The Fiesta 1.0T Titanium comes in at R344 500, whereas the Polo 1.0 TSI Highline R-Line retails for R356 800.

The Corolla does carry a premium over the two cars it comes up against in our list, but it also has a better service plan. At six-years or 90 000km, it bests the service plans of both the Polo (three-year or 45 000km) and Fiesta (four-years or 60 000km).

When it comes to the warranties, though, Ford has the upper hand. The Fiesta comes standard with a four-year or 120 000km warranty, whereas both the other two offer three years. The Polo's warranty covers 120 000km to the Corolla's 100 000km.

The automatic versions of both the Fiesta and Polo carry a slight premium and places each around the Corolla's price.

Toyota Corolla

2020 Toyota Corolla (MotorPress)

Engine and consumption

The Polo and Fiesta are powered by three-cylinder engines, whereas the Corolla uses a four-cylinder motor. Size-wise, the two cars mentioned first are powered by 1.0-litre engines that produce 85kW/200Nm and 92kW/170Nm, respectively. From its 1.2-litre engine, the Corolla draws 85kW and 185Nm.

All three engines are turbocharged, and six-speed manual gearboxes send power to the front wheels. All three engines have healthy power bands, but the Polo produces its torque in the smallest window of the trio: 2000 - 3500rpm.

READ: Forget about calling it an appliance, the new Toyota Corolla family is everything, and more

Regardless of the car, fuel consumption is strong suits in all. Toyota claims 6.1-litres/100km, which is a bit heavier than the Polo (4.7-litres/100km) and Fiesta (4.3-litres/100km). Though heavier on fuel, the Corolla does have the biggest fuel tank - which helps it claw back some ground when the total (theoretical) range is calculated. But at 820km, the Polo (851km) and Fiesta (977km) still beats it.

Volkswagen Polo

2020 Volkswagen Polo (QuickPic)

In summary

All three cars are kitted with several features, ranging from ABS and brake assist to stability control. The Polo and Fiesta do come with satellite navigation, whereas the Corolla doesn't. One must keep in mind that the Polo and Fiesta are the top-of-the-range models versus the entry-level Corolla. And they compete in different segments.

So where does one spend your hard-earned money? Polo, Fiesta, or Corolla?

Firstly, it depends on which segment you want to buy into. The Corolla is slightly bigger than the other two and boasts with the biggest load volume capacity at 503L. If size is what you're after, then the Toyota has that one covered. But in this unlikely comparison, it does pull on the shortest end of the stick when it comes to price.

The Volkswagen and Ford have that covered, primarily because of their segment. This will be a huge factor when installments are calculated.

If the Corolla is just as much an option as the Polo and Fiesta, keep in mind that 1) it is slightly more expensive than the manual Polo and Fiesta, and 2) it does not have some of the features as the other two. This is because you are comparing an entry-level car to two top models, albeit from a different segment.

In essence: If your preference is towards a top model, either the Polo or Fiesta will meet the requirements. But if you want something bigger and find moving between points A and B more important, then the Corolla might be your choice.

Which car, between these three, would be your choice? Email us with your reasons.

Toyota Corolla

2020 Toyota Corolla (QuickPic)

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post says: "When you're in the market shopping for a new vehicle, it's important not only to look at the price of the vehicle and working out a monthly installment. Make sure to factor in vehicle insurance, fuel costs and maintenance.

"So many times consumers overlook these factors and find themselves in a predicament because the cost of owning a vehicle is more than they had anticipated. However, that should not put buyers off but encourage them to check all the boxes and do a bit more ground work to find the right car to suite all your needs." 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Brought to you by
Voting Booth
Do you think Mercedes will return to form later in the 2022 F1 season after two poor races?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, don't discredit them.
33% - 456 votes
Who cares, F1 is exciting again!
44% - 594 votes
No, it's Ferrari's turn to dominate again.
23% - 314 votes