Fleet News

Volkswagen Polo 1.4 TDI SE - 6,101 miles



IT IS rare to get behind the wheel of one of our long-term test cars and find little to grumble about but this is what has happened after taking the keys to the Volkswagen Polo.

With plenty of power, excellent fuel economy and enough space to fit four adults more than comfortably, it has certainly won my vote.

For me the most striking point of our supermini has got to be its performance. Bearing in mind it produces 74bhp from its 1.4-litre TDI diesel engine it feels punchy from the word go and comfortable at motorway speeds. Even from low revs it sprints away, making overtaking a breeze and once up to the 70mph mark it settles down nicely.

Even passengers have commented on its performance and all have been suitably shocked that it only has a 1.4-litre engine. However, that 74bhp figure is deceptive. As the Polo is a diesel, it has plenty of mid-range punch – a class-leading 144lb-ft of torque to be precise.

Its sprightly performance also makes the Polo an ideal car for longer journeys.

Usually if one of the team has got a mammoth jaunt, they'll request one of the larger vehicles on our test fleet.

But I have been racking up the miles in the Polo and would be more than happy to cover more. It handles country roads with ease, is nippy through towns and cities and cheerfully cruises along the motorway.

The Polo is currently achieving average fuel economy of 51.6mpg. Although this is impressive it is still to reach Volkswagen's claimed figure of 61.4mpg, but I am hoping to be closer to the mark before handing the keys over.

Volkswagen has also got the styling spot on, both on the interior and exterior. Inside, its sober layout might be a little tame compared with more jazzy designs such as the Nissan Micra and Toyota Yaris, but the high-grade plastics are a Volkswagen trademark and are reassuring to find in the supermini sector.

However, despite my praise for the Polo, there is one small matter that might be a sticking point, and that's the price.

You might well see the return in three years' time thanks to its better residual value prediction, but a five-door Polo SE for a little under £12,000 on-the-road is still difficult to swallow, especially when you look at the Toyota Yaris 1.4 D-4D T3 at £9,800, the Ford Fiesta 1.4 TDCi Zetec at £10,600 and the Peugeot 206 1.4 HDI LX at £10,470.

Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% tax-payer): £39 per month

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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