What is it?
This is the less powerful of the two 1.6-litre four-cylinder diesel versions of the latest Volkswagen Polo, with 74bhp and 144lb ft of torque. It’s the most frugal Polo available until the 1.2-litre three-cylinder BlueMotion version arrives. With a combined fuel economy figure of 65.7mpg and a CO2 output of 112g/km, the Polo 1.6 TDI is on a par with the Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi, making it one of the most fuel-efficient cars in its class.
What’s it like?
As we discovered during our original drive in late May, the latest Polo is very much a downsized Golf. It looks like a Mk6 Golf both inside and out (though its exterior styling is quite bland) and it moves the game on in terms of perceived quality, ride comfort and isolation from wind and road noise in this class; in many ways it really does feel like a much bigger, more expensive car.
However, the 1.6-litre diesel engine doesn’t suit the Polo especially well. In such an otherwise quiet and smooth environment the engine sounds and feels startlingly gruff, only becoming less intrusive at a steady cruise.
Work the five-speed manual gearbox a bit and the Polo is brisk enough, but like many small diesel engines it’s got a massive hole in its power delivery if it’s caught off boost at low revs, which makes it frustrating to drive around town.