ENGINES – Realistically, if you don’t plan on racking up the miles, one of the small capacity petrol motors will be fine. They are quiet, refined and surprisingly frugal. Mile munchers will appreciate the frugal nature of the diesel units, although some rival offerings are quieter.
EXTERIOR – This generation Polo is possibly the most mature-looking to date, although it retains al the familiar VW styling cues. Larger than you initially think, the hatchback towers above some so-called city cars.
INTERIOR – The Polo offers passengers a quality cabin and trim materials that’s easily equal to that of much larger and more expensive cars. It’s also a spacious cabin, and getting two adults in the back should be a straightforward exercise – even in he three-door model.
DRIVING – Never promoted as a sporting car, this version of the Polo is likely to appeal mainly to mature or undemanding drivers. Think Golf (refined, capable) and you’ve got the idea. The various engines all prove willing, although the older technology diesel units can sound noisy when cold. And despite its size, the Polo is a surprisingly good long distance cruiser.
OWNERSHIP – A solid and dependable car, the Polo is unlikely to let you down. It might lack the frills or surprise features of some rivals, but it will do whatever you ask of it. Unlike some cheaper offerings, the Polo feels like a premium car that’s been shrunk in the wash.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR – Used by many as a city car, parking dents, kerbed wheels and general signs of abuse should be your priority. Unusual noises from the steering or suspension could signal accelerated wear and tear, while a tired interior and gaps in the service history should have you looking elsewhere.
2002: Volkswagen launches new Polo compact hatch. Good range of petrol and diesel engines offered, alongside big-car levels of build quality and refinement. Modest levels of standard kit, although long list of options available.
REASONS TO BUY – solid build quality, high-class cabin, engine choice, image
REASONS TO BEWARE – modest standard equipment, conservative looks
PICK OF THE RANGE – Polo 1.2 Match 3dr.
WHAT TO PAY
2008 08 4,815
2008 58 5,000
2009 09 5,665
2009 59 5,885
2010 10 6,505
Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.