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Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017) Buying Guide

Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017)
Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017)Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017)Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017)Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017)Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017)Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017)Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017)Volkswagen Polo (2009-2017)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

The original Volkswagen Polo arrived in 1974, and from that point on, for four generations, it was a constant in the VW range: dependable, efficient enough, but ultimately rather dull. Then we got the fifth take on the formula and suddenly things were different. Sure it looked staid, but it was better built and more high-tech than ever, and at last it was fun to drive while still being very efficient. It was also a bigger Polo than ever before; this really was a shrunken Golf rather than merely a posh supermini. The Polo was awarded the Car of the Year in 2010 and while it's not a cheap option, sometimes it's worth paying a premium.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Build quality
Efficient engines
Spacious cabin
Very safe
Wide model range
High purchase costs
Bland styling
Spartan entry-level cars
Key Dates 
10/09The five-door Polo Mk5 hatch arrives with 1.2 or 1.4 petrol engines plus a 1.6 TDi.
2/10There's now a three-door option plus a 1.2 TDi and DSG-only 1.4 TSI GTi are added to the range, the former in 104bhp or 74bhp Bluemotion forms.
7/11The high-value Polo Match replaces the SE and Moda.
4/12The sporty-looking R-Line debuts.
10/12The 1.4-litre 138bhp Polo GT joins the range.
6/13Most Polos get extra standard kit from June 2013.
6/14A facelifted Polo arrives with more efficient engines and more standard equipment.
3/15The GTi gets a 1.8 TSI engine with a manual-gearbox option.
  • Some owners have had expensive EGR valve problems after the emissions recall fix has been actioned.
  • Some 1.4-litre petrol cars need an ECU update, but there's no official recall for this. Check it's been done.
  • From June 2012, all Polos above S spec came with Bluetooth as standard. It was a £245 option until then.
  • Not all cars have a front passenger airbag that can be switched off, so if you carry small children in the front, find a Polo with this feature.
  • Diesel-engined Polos driven sparingly can suffer from clogged particulate filters in the exhaust, so consider buying petrol if you don't do many miles.
  • Some owners have found their headlight lenses have been heat damaged by the daytime running lights being on for long periods of time.
  • Check that the brake discs aren't worn or warped (feel for juddering under braking); some owners have found the discs wear quickly.

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