From £10,165
An excellent idea that's well executed but expensive to buy.

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?

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.

Jamie Corstorphine

Join the debate


22 November 2008

I looked at one of these, it was expensive considering the interior is hideous, vile striped seats and nasty plastics, looks like something from an old Yugo and a horrible place to spend time in. I used to own a previous generation Polo with the 1.4 TDi 75PS 3 cyl engine. It was lighter, but even that felt underpowered, get caught in the middle lane of a motorway and you were stuck there until a big gap in lane 3 opened up. Plus this engine is badly refined at idle, it was tolerable in a 2001 car, but not now. I also removed the standard fit energy saving tyres because they were dangerous on cold (ish) wet days and the vehicle would slide on roundabouts at very modest speeds. I hope those on this Polo are an improvement...

The combined MPG you got is also only 5 MPG higher than my almost twice as powerful Skoda Fabia vRS, so am very sceptical about this Polo Bluemotion, particularly the cost/benefit compared with more powerful variants.

24 November 2008

Absolutely. We also know that a Jag XJ TDVi does as many miles as one of those too. I'd rather have a second hand one of those. (Yes, I know it's slightly more than the VW)

24 November 2008

[quote Steve Steele]

Absolutely. We also know that a Jag XJ TDVi does as many miles as one of those too. I'd rather have a second hand one of those. (Yes, I know it's slightly more than the VW)


I think you are forgetting that the Jag has an 85% larger fuel tank than the Polo? It didn't do anywhere near as many MPG as the Polo in the Top gear test. It did do over 50 MPG though which would be good enough for me.

How about a Citroen C6 with the same V6 engine as a cheaper (?) alternative?

24 November 2008

[quote Lee23404]

How about a Citroen C6 with the same V6 engine as a cheaper (?) alternative?


Hmmm. A Jag or a Citroen. Let me thinkNOOOOOOOOOOO.

24 November 2008

Well I have to say I'd much rather have the C6. Looks better, rides beautifully and looks absolutely stunning!

"The creative adult is the child who survived."

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