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Volkswagen Polo

(2001 - 2005) 

Volkswagen Polo

The Volkswagen Polo has a classy image and a wide range of engines

Engine Engine power Fuel consumption Fuel type 0-100 (0-60) Top speed
1.2 54 hp 6.3 l/100km Petrol 17.5 s 152 km/h
1.2 12V 64 hp 6.4 l/100km Petrol 14.9 s 162 km/h
1.9 SDI 64 hp 5.1 l/100km Diesel 17 s 160 km/h
1.4 TDI 75 hp 4.7 l/100km Diesel 13.6 s 170 km/h
1.4 16V 75 hp 6.9 l/100km Petrol 12.9 s 172 km/h
1.4 FSI 86 hp 6.2 l/100km Petrol 12.1 s 178 km/h
1.4 16V 100 hp 7.5 l/100km Petrol 10 s 188 km/h
1.9 TDI 101 hp 5.2 l/100km Diesel 10.7 s 188 km/h
1.6 16V GTI 125 hp 7.7 l/100km Petrol 8 s 205 km/h
1.9 TDI 130 hp 5.4 l/100km Diesel 9.3 s 206 km/h

Body type Hatchback/Sedan
Number of doors 3/4/5
Number of seats 5
Engine position Front
Driven wheels Front
Length 3 897 mm
Width 1 650 mm
Height 1 465 mm
Wheelbase 2 460 mm
Ground clearance 110 mm
Weight (normal) 980 kg
Weight (max) 1 530 kg
Boot space (min) 270 l
Boot space (max) 1 030 l
Fuel capacity 45 l


   Production of this model began in 2001 although it's sales started only in early 2002. The Volkswagen Polo is available as a 3- or 5-door hatchback or 4-door sedan.

   The base engine is a 1.2 petrol that delivers either 54- or 64 hp. It's sweet and strong, although you need to plan overtaking moves early. There is a 75 hp 1.4 turbodiesel and three 1.4 petrols, all of which are eager and frugal, plus 1.9 turbodiesels with 101- or 130 hp.

   The Polo uses the same platform as the Skoda Fabia and SEAT Ibiza, but feels quite different. It rides well on most surfaces, but the soft suspension doesn't control body movement well, so the Polo lurches through corners and over larger bumps. The steering, with electronic power assistance, is light, but low on feedback.

   All models are reasonably refined. The diesel is rather noisy, but only when you're accelerating hard. The big surprise is the quietness and smoothness of the three-cylinder 1.2 petrols. Wind noise is noticeable at motorway speeds and there's some suspension thump over sudden surface changes.

   Polo prices aren't cheap, but residual values are strong, if not as brilliant as those of the Honda Fit/Jazz. With four diesels in the range and a frugal 1.2 petrol engine, economy figures are impresive for most models. Insurance costs are low for all but the higher-powered diesel models.

   The interior has some soft-touch surfaces and nicely damped switches and controls. The new Polo does all the things expected from the VW, although there are one or two hard edges, such as on the underseat storage trays.

   The Polo comes with front airbags and anti-lock brakes as standard. Side and curtain airbags are cost options. A stability control system is optional for higher-powered models.

   All models have two-way steering adjustment, but not all of them have seat-height movement. There's plenty of space for the driver and the front passenger, and a reasonable view out. All of the controls and instruments are easy to read and sensibly laid out.

   The Polo copes adequately with four adults, but many rivals offer considerable extra cabin space. The boot is decently sized and well shaped, but the floor is not flush with the opening, which affects access.

   The Polo's equipment list looks miserly compared to most rivals. Entry-level E models have a CD player, but you have to step up to S to gain air-conditioning, alloy wheels and electric front windows and SE to add remote central locking and driver's seat height adjustment. Sport models include lowered suspension and fog lights.

   In 2005 the VW Polo was face-lifted with a Passat style head- and taillights and a different hatch.


   Advantages: Classy image, a wide engine range and cushy ride.

   Disadvantages: Cabin is bland, prices are high and the drive disappointing.

   Verdict: Costs more to buy than many rivals, but it rewards with top-drawer quality and keeps it's value.

   Also consider: Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia.


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Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen Polo

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