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VOLKSWAGEN has enhanced the specification and reduced the prices of certain new Polo models, only three months after the car went on sale. It has also made changes to the Passat.

The manufacturer claims the move is part of its 2003 model upgrade programme 'offering better value for money', and denied that it had acted so soon after the launch of Polo because of disappointing sales.

The new Polo has sold just under 10,000 models since going on sale in early February. Volkswagen admitted the Polo appeared to have had a slow start in February and March, which it puts down to the time of year the model was launched and buyers waiting for the plate change.

All Polos except the base spec E models now get semi-automatic air conditioning, while S A/C models, redesignated S, have a £395 price reduction to bring them into line with the air con addition across the rest of the range.

A leather steering wheel and gearknob and split rear seats are now also standard on the S. Alloy wheels worth £375 have been added to the SE, while the Sport models get a dash-mounted six disc CD autochanger at no extra cost.

Volkswagen has also made a number of changes to its Passat range, replacing its entry-level eight valve 2.0-litre 115bhp petrol engine with a 20-valve 130bhp unit, increasing power and torque by nearly 15%, while reducing CO2 emissions from 206g/km to 194g/km. All Passats also get a curtain airbag system, brake assist, third rear three-point seatbelt and head restraint. Previously such extras would have cost £450, with brake assist unavailable. Prices for Passat estate and saloon S models rise £155 as a result.

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