Volkswagen Polo 1.6 TDI Review « The Wheel Deal

23 Aug 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Volkswagen Polo 1.6 TDI Review « The Wheel Deal

Volkswagen Polo

1.6 TDI Review

Posted: May 26th, 2010 | By Thomas Falkiner

VW #8216;s new oil-burning Polo TDI may not be as sharp as Ford#8217;s Fiesta but it#8217;s priced right, practical and supremely competent, writes The Wheel Deal.

Back when I was in high school and the venerable Citi Golf and Toyota Tazz ruled the roost, buying a hatchback was a simple exercise. But today, with most manufacturers waking up to the fact that modern takes of these legendary compacts are essential for securing international sales figures, well, the choice within this booming segment has made it tricky to say the least.

From the Ford Fiesta and Renault Clio to the recently released Citroen DS3 and Suzuki Swift, there’s a plethora of models to choose from. And now, thanks to Volkswagen’s brand new Polo, those hatch-seeking motorists among us have yet another brochure to pour over and consider. And indeed, in fuel-sipping TDI form, this classy German makes a strong case for itself.

For unlike most of its rivals, this miniature Teuton trades up those usual in-your-face small car looks for a silhouette shaped by smooth, understated lines and the sort of design detailing you’d normally associate with members of a far more expensive class of machinery. Of course some people may find this approach somewhat somber, and perhaps even a little boring, but there is no debating that the efforts of Volkswagen’s sculptors will appeal to those wishing to avoid looking like a beer-guzzling boy-racer from the West Rand.

Undeniably sleek and sophisticated on the outside, this classy approach has likewise been carried through into the interior; a move that makes you feel as if you’re actually sitting inside a miniature Golf VI when perched behind the Polo’s leather-stitched steering wheel. Ergonomics are equally well sorted and the generous adjustability of the driver’s seat means that even lanky six-foot metabolic freaks like myself can get comfortable before firing up that oil-burning lump and heading off down the road.

To be expected from all current Volkswagen products, overall build quality is exceptional and features like the squishy soft-touch dashboard certainly bode well for a lifetime of inner-city use and abuse. In terms of tech goodies, this TDI model does come loaded with a fairly cushy spread of electro paraphernalia including air-conditioning, a decent MP3/CD sound system and switchable (thankfully) Electronic Stability Control. Our test model also came with the Park Distance Control (R3 510) but, with due respect, anyone who fits their Polo with this system shouldn’t be allowed within 20m of a motor vehicle; let alone try and position one outside their favourite sidewalk bistro.

Predictably, out on the black stuff the new Polo TDI stays true to its cultured image by dishing out a driving experience that’s refined rather than exciting. It’s certainly not as sharp – or as fun to throw around – as Ford’s whiptastic little Fiesta but as hatchbacks go it scores well across a number of different motoring disciplines.

Cool and composed at speed when out on the highway thanks to a forgiving suspension setup, it’s also a cinch to maneuver around town due to the general degree of slickness worked into the car’s controls. Personally I found the steering and clutch a little too light but these qualities will no doubt be enjoyed by 99% of the Polo’s prospective customer base.

What did flick my switch, however, was the brand new common-rail diesel engine that pumps out a healthy chunk of power and torque. Smooth-revving all the way up to its redline – although in practice it’s pretty pointless taking it past the 4000rpm mark – it suits the Polo’s character down to a tee and impresses with its all-round flexibility and considerable fuel economy.  In fact, for the time being of course, it’s probably the best lump in the new Polo range.

Priced right, practical and extremely competent, the grownup Volkswagen Polo TDI is definitely the car worth throwing your money at if you’re after a supermini that places stylish sensibilities above the more shouty styling cues that mould most other members of the current small hatch brigade. Sure, the less expensive Fiesta still pips it dynamically but in terms of everyday acceptability, the Polo walks away with the cup. Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Volkswagen Polo 1.6 TDI Fast Facts:

Engine: 1598cc four-cylinder turbo-diesel

Power: 77kW at 4400rpm

Torque: 250Nm from 1500 – 2500rpm

0-100km/h: 10.4 seconds (claimed)

Top Speed: 189km/h (claimed)

Fuel Consumption: 4.2l/100km (claimed combined)

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