From £10,165
Amazing fuel consumption, and surprisingly normal to drive

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Polo
The Polo is a polished, mature-feeling, spacious supermini

The fifth-generation Volkswagen Polo has junior Golf looks, but is that enough?

14 May 2009

What is it?

It’s the new, super-economy version of the new VW Polo, still a year from British showrooms, but more or less complete. We drove a late prototype at VW’s launch for its other Polo models in Sardinia, Italy. If VW’s other BlueMotion models (Golf, Jetta, Caddy, Passat, Touran) are anything to go by, this will have a claim to being the world’s most frugal supermini.

The VW Polo BlueMotion is powered by an all-new 1.2 litre three-cylinder common-rail turbodiesel producing 75bhp, and driving through a five-speed manual gearbox with very widely spaced ratios and an tall (30mph/1000 rpm) fifth gear.

The engine stops when the car is stationary in traffic, then restarts when the driver selects first gear. There’s a smart alternator that does most of its battery charging the when the car is slowing, and the body is fitted with body bits to improve its aerodynamics (front splitter, flat undertray, side skirts, rear window fairing and a 10mm lower ride height).

What’s it like?

The VW Polo BlueMotion is downright amazing for the way it sips fuel; surprisingly normal for the way it drives. VW’s own combined fuel consumption figure is an extraordinary 85.6mpg, accompanied by 87gm/km of CO2.

But even more remarkable, we feel, is the fact that on a 25-mile route in Sardinia, driven at normal traffic speed with no exaggerated effort to save fuel, we were able to return an awesome 78.5mpg according to the fuel computer. Even if that were 10 per cent wrong, as some fuel computers are, it would still be an awesome performance. Senior editor Andrew Frankel did the same route, giving the BlueMotion the beans, and still returned 60mpg.

The Polo BlueMotion is virtually as refined and smooth as the ordinary models, and quite rewarding to drive, too. The steering isn’t quite as sensitive as the standard cars (given the hard-walled 15-inch low rolling resistance tyres) but the ride is fine. It takes a while to get used to the wide gear ratios, and to trust the change-up light which wills you to let the little engine lug. Once you train youirself, spectacular fuel mileage is simple. Most important, you could see yourself using one of these as practical transport every day.

Should I buy one?

Maybe, if you’re that sort of person. Just about everyone’s got an economy version of their new models now, but this is certainly one of the most effective. It’ll cost up to £900 more than the equivalent ordinary diesel model (we’d estimate £12,000) which is a pretty solid price. On the other hand, you’ll definitely be helping to cut greenhouse gases, and besides, driving for economy can be a lot of fun.

 

Join the debate

Comments
38

15 May 2009

At one end of the Volkswagen stable they produce vehicles such as the Q7- maybe the most hideous and pointless car on the planet, and at the other end they produce fantastic cars like this Polo Bluemotion- really proving the laws of equilibrium!

15 May 2009

Impressive, very impressive.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

15 May 2009

Sounds like an ideal commute/shopper. Maybe even fun to drive too. Should teach momentum conservation.

PS. Has the Monaco F1 gp been cancelled yet?

15 May 2009

I could be being slow here but why do eco cars seem to have five speed boxes? I thought that have a really long legged sixth would be appropriate, even if it adds a little extra weight?

15 May 2009

[quote RobotBoogie]

I could be being slow here but why do eco cars seem to have five speed boxes? I thought that have a really long legged sixth would be appropriate, even if it adds a little extra weight?

[/quote]

I think the entire gearbox is long legged, meaning that the eco versions only really start to come into their own once up to a decent speed.

15 May 2009

Whenever I read reports of these "eco" models, the same complaint crops up again and again... the ride and steering from using low rolling resistance tyres.

Am I missing a point here, or would it be possible to swap the tyres to normal ones when the they need replacing, restoring the ride/handling. Obviously this would increase the CO2, but most people don't really care about that and are just after the cheaper tax (there would be an effect on the mpg as well, but not a huge one), and surely when you come to pay for your road tax it is taken off the original CO2 outputs of the vehicle supplied. So in the case of this Polo, you can escape road tax because it is under 100g/km, but replace the tyres and have a better ride?!

Good to see the manufacturers making such huge improvements tho. Its sad to see the car been pointed at as the root of all evil, yet it is the car which arguably has made much of the biggest improvements in economy and efficiency!

15 May 2009

[quote N0077666]Am I missing a point here, or would it be possible to swap the tyres to normal ones when the they need replacing, restoring the ride/handling. Obviously this would increase the CO2, but most people don't really care about that and are just after the cheaper tax (there would be an effect on the mpg as well, but not a huge one), and surely when you come to pay for your road tax it is taken off the original CO2 outputs of the vehicle supplied. So in the case of this Polo, you can escape road tax because it is under 100g/km, but replace the tyres and have a better ride?![/quote]

thats why the EU has proposed a new law that all cars must use the same tyre type they came with from factory . i dont know if this will ever get passed though. not really enforcable.

15 May 2009

As ever with diesel cars its only relevant to mainland Europe where diesel fuel is cheaper.

For us in the UK, its cheaper to get a petrol, in the example for the Polo the current cheapest model is £8,345. A lot more economical that purchasing the diesel model. Diesel cars only make sense if they are cheaper to purchase than the cheapest petrol model of the same car.

15 May 2009

'Driving for economy can be fun': well that statement certainly made me laugh!

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