Recently bought a 1 year old example,after driving a Seat Leon for the previous 6 years.Initial impression of the Polo,it is well specced,including heated door mirrors and alloys.Interior wise,VW have cut costs here,as the plastics are definitely lower quality from previous VW's,and fit and finish not especially high,the Leon was a class above in my opinion.Driving the car,you notice the sound of the three cylinder engine,road noise impedes,and while it takes care of road bumps,it does'nt cosset you.My petrol costs,which at this time are important,are averaging about 45 mpg.In conclusion,a reasonable super-mini,however VW seem to be living on past reputation,I don't expect to keep this as long as the Seat Leon,which in its new guise also seems to have down graded the interior quality,so the VW group need to be careful,as other manufacturers,such as Ford,seem to be making greater efforts with interior comfort,as well as driveability.
One of the problems highlighted previously is the engine. I've driven diesels in the past, and this sounds like something that's from the 1970s. The car was 1 year old with 13000 miles and it sounded dreadful, especially if you put your foot down.
One big negative for me is the fact that this car has been designed primarily as a long distance motorway car. It simply isn't suitable around town or for short journeys. A warning light was on the dash which indicated that the diesel particulate filter was saturated. The manual described the remedy as a 20 minute motorway journey in either 4th or 5th gear. I spend 90 minutes stuck in traffic trying to get out of London to get to Gatwick airport. The light stayed on until I had been on the motorway for only 1 minutes, then it went out. At least the manual was right. The reason why I highlight this, is because with the filter saturated, fuel consumption rises, emissions rise and perforance weakens. Which totally defeats the object of buying this car.
This car has no Stop/Start feature, no regenerative brakes, yet is touted as a green car. This car will not save you money if all you do is drive around town, which is where you want to make the savings.
Before I end, the car has no split fold seat (for a £13,500 small car!?!?!?) and no MP3 connection. I would not recommend this car.
I recently rented this car for a weekend. I'll list the positives first: The car is well built, everything feels solid and well put together. The controls are within easy reach on the dashboard and have the feel of typical VWs. The boot is adequate, if a little small. The engine is responsive from a standing start, but has no power at all below 2000rpms. The engine is quiet. The gearbox was a dream to use, with a short stubby gearstick and a great clean shift action.
As for the negatives, the engine is underpowered, but it is a 1.2. I often found myself driving at 3000-3500rpms (probably because the engine is so quiet). However, whilst the engine is quiet, the road noise isn't. The look of the car outside and on the inside is dull and out of date compared to newer models from other brands. It's great if you want a dependable car, but no 'fun'. Some annoying little details; the driver's sun visor is for left handed drivers (I'm sure the LHD car is set up for right handed drivers!). There is no MP3/ipod socket and the central locking has to be operated with a key. Whilst the car was relatively comfortable for shortish journeys, I was aching after a one and a half hour drive.
To sum up, the car is great and well equipped (climatic air-con, front elec windows, central locking, power windows, CD player), I would suggest a more powerful engine. However, I wouldn't buy one as the experience is so underwhelming. It's not cheeky enough and it doesn't shout "Drive Me!".
Recently purchased new from the very professional Caffyns VW at Goring-by-sea West Sussex. I had tested various makes over the last few months but now I have lived with my Polo for a short while its worth every penny, the attention to design detail and build is amazing for what is a mass produced car. Interior: Good quality seat fabric and supportive, excellent quality radio/CD and so easy to use a masters degree is not required, every dashboard control is so well placed and feels strong, excellent all round visability, when you shut the door theres no tinny sound, its certainly solid. I am more than happy with the E basic trim level as was not interested in air con or electric windows. Driving: The gear box is like spooning honey from a jar, the clutch is good, I like the sound of the three cylinder engine which is very nippy and I keep having to check my speedo, the 1.2 engine is chain driven so there is no need for expensive cam belt changes, hurray! sorry but the 1.4 has a cambelt. As the E model has "normal" tyres as I call them 165/70 that soak up the poor road surfaces you cannot go round a corner at break neck speed as with low profiles, but if you wanted to do that then you would be buying a GTi and not an E. The first weeks fuel consumption returned 49 to the gallon so I'm happy. Exterior: Waxed it all over so have examined every inch of paint and trim. You get what you pay for, go test drive one!
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