Volkswagen Polo 1.6 TDI - car review

Volkswagen's Polo is a car that should be at its best with an economical diesel engine installed. Steve Walker checks out the 1.6 TDI

We’re told the fifth generation Polo is sharper, safer, stronger, larger, more refined, more efficient and more technologically advanced than ever before and that it’s also lighter than the car it replaces.

There are two power options to consider, the 1.6-litre TDI being offered in 74bhp and 89bhp guises. The 89bhp version of the engine is usefully more sprightly with a 11.5s sprint and there’s extra torque as well – 230Nm at 1,500rpm.

There’s nothing to offend traditional Polo customers in the way the car looks but compared to some of the sector’s more adventurous styling efforts, this Volkswagen might be too reserved for some tastes. It certainly looks compact and nuggety but it’s also substantially larger than it predecessor.

Naturally, this Polo’s more generous dimensions, equate to a more spacious interior than the previous generation car. Passengers benefit from increased leg and headroom as well as more space in the rear to stow their luggage.  

Soft touch plastics and subtle aluminium detailing are the order of the day. Optional convenience features include an air-conditioned glovebox, an MP3 player connection point, a multifunction steering wheel and a touch screen satellite navigation system.

It’s available in three and five-door bodystyles with a choice of SE or SEL trim levels but the 1.6 TDI only becomes available with the mid-range SE grade. You get central locking, electric front windows and an MP3 compatible CD stereo with the basic S models but the SE is far more satisfying with alloy wheels, air-conditioning, remote central locking, a split-fold rear seat and an AUX socket for connecting an MP3 player to the stereo. Safety kit runs to ESP, a couple of airbags and ABS with brake assist on all Polo models.

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It’s a package that should be enough to keep the Polo in its default position near the top of the supermini sales charts.

Facts At A Glance

CAR: Volkswagen Polo 1.6 TDIPRICES: �12,605-�14,910 – on the roadINSURANCE GROUPS: 3-4CO2 EMISSIONS: 112g/kmPERFORMANCE: [89bhp] 0-60mph 11.5s / top speed 111mphFUEL CONSUMPTION: (urban) 54.3mpg / (extra urban) 76.3mpg / (combined) 65.7mpgSTANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: four airbags, ABS, ESPWILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/heightmm 3970/1682/1462

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