VW Polo- Still the Small Car to Beat
A recent TV commercial for the Volkswagen Polo featured a singing dog that was strutting around full of self-confidence whilst it was a passenger in the Polo but as soon as it left the car for different surroundings it became a nervous wreck The closing caption of the commercial read ?Polo ConfidenceA recent TV commercial for the Volkswagen Polo featured a singing dog that was strutting around full of self-confidence whilst it was a passenger in the Polo but as soon as it left the car for different surroundings it became a nervous wreck. The closing caption of the commercial read ?Polo Confidence.?
I guess they were conveying the fact that the dog was unhappy when removed from its comfort zone. The same could be said for people too although maybe not to the same degree as the poor old dog. Cars mean a lot to some people and they often feel immersed in their own little world listening to their favourite song and safe from harm.
This feeling can be hard to achieve in a small car but thanks to its solid build quality and good insulation VW has managed this with the Polo.
For many years the Volkswagen Polo set the benchmark by which all other small hatchbacks were measured. Today the competition has just about caught up and if you are buying a new small car the Polo has competition from a number of other manufacturers. On the other hand though, with an illustrious 23 years of production behind it and more than 500,000 Polos sold in the UK, the Polo is still a force to be reckoned with.
If you are looking for a used Polo a budget of around ?2,500 will buy you quite a reasonable example. Equipment levels were rather sparse on early versions however with power-assisted steering as standard only available on CL models upwards.
It?s probably best to avoid the rather under powered 1 litre examples. Whilst they are quite cheap to insure, performance from the 45bhp engine is not terribly good and cabin noise levels are high because the engine has to work hard all the time to get you anywhere, a better choice would be the 1.4 or 1.6 with 60bhp and 75bhp respectively.
Volkswagen reliability is legendary, but unfortunately that was not always the case and there are a few Friday afternoon examples around. Owners complained of problems with gearboxes, premature failure of front discs and pads and even some rust problems. Whilst these problems are not found on every car they should be checked for closely when buying a used example.
On the plus side the Polo does drive well. It has a more solid feel than many of its competitors and interior space is good. The cabin has a reassuring quality feel about it, and if serviced correctly the engines rarely cause problems.
The Polo was given a face lift in 2000 and while the external changes were fairly minor, new larger clear-glass headlamps and a deeper front spoiler, there were bigger changes under the skin. VW claimed it to have 70% new components and was effectively a new model, these cars have a wider front track, giving improved handling, a fully galvanised body shell and antilock braking, twin airbags and power-assisted steering as standard.
At the same time the engine line up was changed and the 1.4 litre unit was boosted to 75bhp. VW also introduced a new diesel engine, the three-cylinder 1.4 TDI also found in the Audi A2 meaning that the Polo finally had a diesel engine to match the competition from such rivals as Peugeot and Renault. Giving 75bhp and plenty of torque, it competes well with a 1.4 petrol engine on acceleration and is still capable of more than 60mpg.
Whilst other manufacturers such as BMW with the Mini have come close, the Polo can still claim to set the standard for small cars.
Jon Barlow reflects on the Volkswagen Polo which has played a large part in Volkswagen's success in recent years, for more information on the VW Polo visit Alan Day VW