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Polo VW's Baby Has Grown Up

Jul 1, 2008
The VW polo has certainly improved with age since it was first launched way back in 1975 the year Lord Lucan disappeared and Bohemian Rhapsody topped the UK charts. Now in its 33rd year the latest generation Polo is arguably the best yet and is packed with a range of features you would normally expect to find on larger models. Together with VW's renowned build quality the Polo gives you the feel of large car protection in a small affordable package.

The Polo is available in a wide range of models from the base E through to the sizzling GTi which is the most powerful production Polo to date. A number of engine sizes also means that there should be no problem finding a model to suit.

Safety is also a big feature so with that in mind the Polo comes with ABS and HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist) Multi airbags and rear head restraints as well as Isofix child seat fittings. All of which gives the Polo an impressive 4-star Euro NCAP rating.

Solid engineering comes in the form of a laser-welded body shell that is galvanised to offer a 12 year protection warranty. Exceptional body rigidity is achieved with front and rear crumple zones to help absorb impact and side impact protection again with safety in mind.

The Polo incorporates design features such as body-coloured bumpers and mirrors, front fog lights and alloy wheels on most models. A blue instrument lighting panel adds a touch of style to the interior.

Moving to the interior an adjustable steering column and height-adjustable seat belt are a welcome addition often not found in smaller cars, handy if you possess a Jeremy Clarkson- like physique. Speed sensitive power steering gives reassuring control at higher speeds and adjusts accordingly for fine control when parking.

To drive the Polo is precise and linear into corners and with ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) available should you overdo things, although this is not really necessary in a car of this size.

Inside the Polo feels surprisingly spacious for a small car with plenty of front and rear leg room and more importantly head room. At 250 litres capacity the boot is also a good size and grows to an impressive 1,030 with the rear seats folded.

An overview of the range starts with the E model which although is the base model still comes with a good range of standard features and is available as a 3 or five door with a choice of two petrol engines with a 5 speed manual gearbox.

Next up is the Match which offers in addition a 6 speed auto, 3 petrol engines and 1 diesel. Features include 'Climatic' Air conditioning, Alloys and is ipod ready.

The SE adds 14" Alloys and remote locking. BlueMotion 1 comes with a unique styling pack and trip computer.

The Polo Sport has sports seats and suspension (the clue is in the name!) Also a chrome trimmed radiator grill and leather trimmed steering wheel and gear knob.

BlueMotion 2 has some clever features such as coming home lighting function, rain sensors and a automatic dimming interior rear view mirror.

The Dune has BBS Alloys, and a Dune styling pack that includes unique front and rear bumpers, side and wheelarch protection, roof rails and raised suspension.

Finally we have the all new GTi which is the best of the lot and packs a mighty punch on performance levels. With a 1.8- litre turbocharged engine producing 150 BHP acceleration is from 0- 62mph in 8.2 seconds, and a top speed of 134mph making this the quickest production Polo yet.

The GTi also comes with 16" Alloys, twin exhausts and aluminium look pedals and chrome plated instrument surrounds. Sports suspension comes as standard and extras such as cruise control is available as are parking sensors. Although frankly if you need help parking a Polo you might need to consider something like a Smart car!

All this adds up to a small car that punches well above its weight.
About the Author
The VW Polo has a long history and is reviewed by Jon Barlow a keen enthusiast.
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