Fleet News

Volkswagen Polo 1.4 TDI SE - 7,237 miles

Volkswagen

Review

I AM writing a letter to the boss of Volkswagen: 'Dear Dr Pischetsrieder, help yourself to my leather seats, my electric windows, take away the electric sunroof, the integrated child seat and don't bother with your clasping, robotic claw-like cup holder.

'These things are mere diversions and impact little on my mood while behind the wheel of your latest incarnation of the Polo. But please give me a CD player!

'You are forcing me to face my past in the form of a sub- sock level drawer in a chest of drawers that contains dusty tapes with words like Tull, Topographical and Richard Burton reads the Tale of the Ancient Mariner. And it's not proving a happy reconciliation. I look forward to your reply…'

It might seem a trifling complaint, but car manufacturers rightly claim to be at the cutting edge of transport technology and yet, like many of its peers, Volkswagen insists on kicking you back in time when it comes to the in-car stereo. So come on Volkswagen, can the cassette.

Ranting aside, fleet drivers frustrated to be denied the delights of that corporate workhorse, the Golf, should take heart that the Polo is a miniature version, offering many of the delights of its bigger brother.

The quality of finish and plastics is just as high and comfort levels are top notch and reflect exactly the kind of ambience you'd expect in the Golf, Bora, Passat and so on. While capable at motorway speeds and returning 50mpg at the moment, the engine doesn't perform too well from a standing start and, in trying to leave sliproads, it has proved very easy to red line the motor in a bid to reach a safe speed for joining an A-road.

The clutch pedal is particularly light too and a ballerina touch is recommended to avoid experiencing the 1.4-litre engine's full capability all at once.

While the three-cylinder pumpe duse engine is hi-tech, it's also very much an 'old school' diesel in some areas.

If you've been spoiled with the refinement of common rail technology, the engine noise could prove a rude re-acquaintance with the rattle and thump of yesterday.

Once over that, you'll enjoy the nostalgia as the engine is both frugal and feisty. Wholelife cost watchers should be aware that residual values for the Polo have slipped since the car was last reviewed, with CAP Monitor marking it down £200 and two percentage points from £4,875/41% it stood at in October.

Company car tax bill 2003/04 (22% tax-payer): £45 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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