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The Blue Motion is a much more cautious step from the company that brought us the Lupo 3L car, but it's a well-judged one. Shame it's not coming to the UK...

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Polo

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

26 July 2006

What is it?

 Economy is back in fashion. With fuel prices spiralling, we’re all becoming aware how much can be saved by taking a measured approach to everyday driving. Not that it’s much fun, mind you.But if Volkswagen has anything to do with it, we can achieve big cuts in consumption without dialling out too much of the fun. That’s the claim of the new Polo Blue Motion.Volkswagen is no stranger to the fuel miser ranks. Its advanced Lupo 3L – the aluminium and magnesium intensive 94mpg city runabout masterminded by former chairman Ferdinand Piech – proved just what is capable if a car maker is prepared to forgo profits for the honour of producing the world’s most economical production car.With 28,000 sales over six years, however, it was hardly a roaring success.The Polo Blue Motion sets out to achieve similar goals, but this time Volkswagen is determined to see that its most economical model pays for itself and becomes a proper part of its line-up. As a result, the developments brought to the new car are not quite as dramatic as those applied to the Lupo 3L. Still, they are highly effective.

What's it like?

With 80bhp at 4000rpm and 143lb ft of torque at 1800rpm, the standard 1.4 TDi is nothing out of the small car norm. But with a reworked five-speed gearbox boasting longer ratios – fifth is extended by a whopping 24 per cent, there's an optimised aerodynamic package and low rolling resistance tyres - it returns a highly impressive 72.4mpg on the combined European cycle.That’s over 10mpg better than the standard model and relates and gives a range of over 717 miles on the 45-litre tank.That gets even better if you’re prepared to apply a couple of tricks, as indicated by the 80.7mpg we managed over Volkswagen’s test route. The Polo Blue Motion is no screamer. But with a 0-60mph time of 12.8sec, it is acceptably paced in urban environments, and you’re not left behind on the motorway, either.The Dunlop SP10 A 165/79 R14 tyres trade some grip for less rolling resistance, but it never feels overly compromised in the handling department with clearly defined limits, and ride quality is very impressive – far and away better than the old Lupo 3L.

Should I buy one?

More’s the pity, then, that Volkswagen is not planning to offer the new car in the UK in the short term. With a standard fit particulate filter, the Polo Blue Motion’s crucial CO2 rating has risen slightly over the standard Polo 1.4 TDI model to 102g/km, albeit with a big reduction in particulate emissions. That’s enough to convince that UK driver’s aren’t really concerned with economy. It’s a decision they might just come to rue.

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