On the face of it, the Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion offers a win-win solution for fleet managers, drivers and the environment.
Its CO2 emissions of 99g/km and 1.4-litre diesel engine, which gives 74.3mpg on the combined cycle, offer a host of benefits.
For the fleet manager, it is exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty and qualifies for special capital allowance incentives.
For the driver, it makes filling up at the pumps a little more bearable, because you could be replenishing the tank just once every 700 miles.
I am still on my first tankful after 550 miles as a result of some committed economy-focused driving.
The trip computer currently estimates I am achieving an average of 65mpg.
This has required a single-minded approach, but that comes with the territory.
An environmentally-friendly car will give back in benefits what you put in in terms of effort.
However, this does come at a cost, as our BlueMotion 2 test model is priced at £13,565 (and it nearly touches £14,000 with the optional metallic paint at £350) – a hefty premium compared to the £12,455 Polo 1.4 TDI SE.
Your extra investment helps pay for some external paraphernalia designed to make the Polo as aerodynamic as possible, including energy-saving tyres, a different front grille and a small rear spoiler.
Also, the five-speed gearbox has longer ratios for third, fourth and fifth gears to reduce engine speeds.
This allows the BlueMotion to offer a realistic 70mpg target, compared to ‘just’ 62.8mpg offered by the untweaked model, but you will still have to cover thousands of miles to cover the price difference in fuel savings.
According to the Fleet News running costs, the BlueMotion costs 25.04 pence per mile to run over three years/60,000 miles, compared to the SE’s 24.65ppm.
Although some fleet experts might discourage high mileages in small cars, I haven’t found any shortcomings yet.
Acceleration is brisk enough, taking 12.8 seconds to 62mph and, once up to speed, it offers an incredibly quiet ride.
There is plenty of room front and back and the driver’s seating position is excellent, while there’s enough standard equipment to prove this isn’t a poor man’s Polo, with an MP3-compatible CD player, electric mirrors and windows, air conditioning, automatic dimming rear view mirror and alloy wheels.
The BlueMotion seems to have a lot going for it, with low emissions without a significant performance penalty, but it needs to live up to its promises in the long-term if it is going to justify Volkswagen’s claims – and that price tag.
By the time of the next test, we should see whether its green halo is slipping – or not.