First DriveNew convenience and safety gadgets, plus a great new TSI engine, help keep the Polo close to the top of the class
First DriveClever tech makes the Polo more economical, cleaner and safer, while new engines offer greater refinement but no more driving involvement
What is it?
BlueMotion is VW’s tag for its ultra efficient derivatives, so far limited to this Polo, but soon joined by a Passat version.
Greater economy comes from simultaneously improving the efficiency of the drivetrain and reducing the work it has to do. The standard three-cylinder 79bhp 1.4-litre diesel, available in other Polos, gets a variable geometry turbocharger in place of the standard unit, and there are taller gear ratios to reduce engine revolutions at speed.
To save the engine graft, the cabin has been stripped of weight, there’s a new more aerodynamically efficient bumper, grille and tailgate spoiler, and lightweight wheels with skinny tyres to reduce rolling resistance.
What's it like?
“Do us a favour and test the fuel economy on that trick BlueMotion Polo”, said the road test ed. No problem, I said, before I did the maths.
You see, our normal procedure for checking economy claims is to fill the tank, run the car practically dry, re-fill, then divide the miles travelled by fuel used. Trouble is, this little diesel supermini’s 45-litre tank and 72.4mpg claimed combined economy give a range of over 700 miles for each tank of diesel.
Like other Polos the Bluemotion feels robust and dependable, if a little joyless. The new turbo gives decent response from low revs, good for nipping around town and a reasonably refined motorway cruise.
And the economy? You’ll have to forgive us, but we didn't have two spare days to test the claimed 700-mile range.
However, we did test the Polo over a meaningful distance, taking in urban crawl, cross-country sections and a motorway slog – a true indication of what owners might expect on a day-to-day basis. Overall, the Polo managed a very impressive 56.5mpg. Add to that a low Co2 rating of 102g/km (22g/km lower than the standard car) and the Bluemotion notion makes a whole heap of sense.
Should I buy one?
If you need a super-cheap-to-run car that can also hack it on the motorway, the Polo does the job. It also produces lower emissions than a Toyota Prius.