VW Polo SEL 1.4 DSG10 | 08 | 2010Scotcars rating

    VW's masterful supermini won't cost you a mint


    Say the word Polo and in most people’s mind it creates several images. It might be a white mint with a hole in the middle; the new town of East Kilbride, notorious for its vast collection of roundabouts and therefore known as ‘Polo Mint City’; or more probably, the supermini in the Volkswagen range. That’s because it’s been around for 35 years, is the second best-selling VW after the hugely popular Golf and is loved by every Polo owner I’ve ever met.

    The reason is simple. It’s versatile, it’s happy doing a range of jobs, it’s always been well priced and is renowned for holding its value when you trade it in, especially for a new one. Not just that, but it has appeal for young and old alike … and it’s incredibly reliable. So, put all that together and you have the perfect all round car.

    It’s versatile, it’s happy doing a range of jobs

    On the road

    The latest fifth generation made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in 2009 and outwardly it looks just like the little brother of the new sixth generation Golf. It’s got all the family features which you can now see throughout the range, including the Scirocco. It’s clever too by being wider and longer, but also lighter than the previous model. The test car was in the SEL spec with lots of chrome and other little comfort features as well as seven-speed DSG transmission which was very smooth, but a little slow in responsiveness.

    In fairness, this is not a performance model, and in fact it gets a lot from its 1.4-litre engine which turns out only 85bhp but I just felt I’d have liked a wee bit more punch. The 1.2-litre, with 105bhp, might have felt better; but I’m certainly glad it wasn’t the 1.2 with only 60bhp which takes more than 16-seconds to get to 62mph. Apart from its leisurely pace, the car feels sound and secure on the road and well able to deal with everything in the city streets.

    Comfort & Safety

    For its size it’s remarkably comfortable and VW have perfected the art of combining Teutonic functionality with some extra wee touches so that it’s easy to settle into what is, after all, a supermini, where the basics are generally all you can expect. For example there’s height and reach adjustable steering; front and rear electric windows; and electric heated door mirrors … some of which you don’t always get in cars several thousand pounds more expensive. A lot of attention has been given to the interior with some subtle changes — which only the Polo specialist would notice — over the previous model such as the blue dials, which now have white backlighting and the fuel gauge which is now digital.

    Should I buy one?

    For reliability, value for money and a great wee car … this is the one.

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £9910
    Engine / Power: 1390cc 16v / 85bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 11.9secs / Max 110mph
    How big/heavy?: H1462mm  W1682mm  L3970mm / 1104kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 48.7mpg / 135g CO2/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 9E / Band E, £110
    Alternatives: Ford Fiesta; Vauxhall Corsa; Citroen C1; Honda Jazz; Peugeot 107

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