Used Volkswagen Polo (09-18) long-term review

Does buying the last of the previous-generation Volkswagen Polo make more financial sense than a new one? And how does a small 1.0-litre engine cope with a myriad of real-world driving conditions...

Used Volkswagen Polo (09-18) long-term review
  • The car 2017 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 75 Match Edition
  • Run by Max Adams, used cars reporter
  • Why it’s here To find out if buying the old model makes better sense than the latest model
  • Needs to Cope with the daily commute on a mixture of motorway, dual carriageway and town traffic, along with occasional long-distance trips, and prove itself against the newer model

Price when new £15,505 Price on arrival £11,650Approx value now £10,069 Mileage on arrival 2276 Mileage now 7061Test fuel economy 47.9mpg Official fuel economy 58.9mpg

Prices based on a standard car with no optional extras

5 July 2018 – money, money, money

“That’s not much of a used car, is it?” said my esteemed colleague and photographer after I had revealed the mileage of our used VW Polo on arrival at the What Car? office – a mere 2276 miles. And, in some ways, he was right; in terms of a modern car that's designed to do many hundreds of thousands of miles, that’s the equivalent of driving the car out of the garage and then parking it back in again.

Fast forward six months and I’ve just been speaking to a dealer about his current inventory. He told me that while the manufacturer’s used programme includes vehicles up to 10 years old, the vast majority of his stock was less than five years of age. In fact, he showed me plenty of pre-registered cars on the forecourt with few miles on them and huge savings.


Used Volkswagen Polo (09-18) long-term review

As with most new car deals, manufacturers and dealers often put in a contribution towards your deposit and this often leads to very attractive monthly rates. So I thought I’d look into whether we’d have been better off going for a new or used Polo on PCP finance.

With VW’s Das WeltAuto scheme, you get a 12-month warranty, 12 months of roadside assistance (which covers the whole of Europe) and the 142-point check; but you can also organise finance.

Using the site, I found a typical used Polo in Match Edition spec, just like our car. However, I went with the larger 89bhp 1.2-litre engine because there were more of them available on the site. After one year and 12,720 miles, this car was up for £10,999. I put some details into the online finance calculator: a PCP deal over three years and 30,000 miles with a deposit of £750 came to £217.07 per month, with a final balloon payment of £5467.50 and a £10 admin fee. Remember those figures; we’ll get back to it later.

Then I had a look at the new car PCP offering. The model we prefer is the 1.0 95 SE and, over the same period and with a £1000 deposit contribution, the deal came to £254.23 per month and a final payment of £7218.90, plus of course that £10 admin fee. Even with a lower APR rating – 4.9% for new, 12.5% used – the used deal is ahead. But since that car is cheaper in the first place, that’s to be expected.


Used Volkswagen Polo (09-18) long-term review

One of the upsides to a PCP deal is that the value of the car often exceeds the final balloon payment, and this equity can be used to fund your next purchase. On the new car, after three years and 36,000 miles, it should be worth £7339.50, giving you £110.60 left over. The used car is predicted to be worth £5787.40, leaving you with £309.90. So you're about £200 better off by going for the used alternative. Makes you think, right?

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