VW Polo 1.4 SE

21 May, 2009 11:12am

It's predicted to be the best-selling Polo – but does the 1.4 petrol add up?


There’s no doubt about it – the 1.4-litre petrol version is the best Polo you can buy. It’s good to drive, economical and has a real big car feel. Add in an attractive price tag and you’ve got a winner. Well done VW.

Is there a weakness in VW’s new Polo range? Auto Express has yet to find it! Over the last two weeks we’ve put the flagship 1.2-litre TSI and the 74bhp 1.6-litre diesel versions through their paces – and both come highly recommended.

Now it’s the turn of what’s expected to be the biggest selling model – the 1.4-litre petrol. Is it the best of the bunch? Compared to the previous version, the new 1.4-litre engine produces another 5bhp taking it to 84bhp while torque rises just a 1Nm to 132Nm.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the VW Polo

Although the new car is only slightly quicker from 0-62mph than its predecessor, thanks to a slight weight reduction it feels much more energetic. Throttle response is good and the little engine likes to rev too.

Economy is better as well, climbing from 45mpg combined to 48mpg, and while that’s not as good as the 67mpg 74bhp diesel, the petrol version is likely to cost £1,000 less. Factor in real smoothness and excellent refinement at motorway speeds and it presents a strong case. The good news doesn’t end there.

Around corners, the petrol feels lighter to drive than the diesel versions, with more agile turn-in and more positive steering. Grip is good, and so is ride comfort – in fact, it’s pretty amazing at how well the Polo smooths out bumps in the road. Drivers will have more fun in Ford’s sparkling Fiesta but the Polo 1.4 is still enjoyable to drive. And, as we’ve said before, there’s no supermini on the market that comes close to offering such a true premium big car feel as the Polo.

Key specs

* Price: £12,500
* Engine: 1.4-litre four-cylinder petrol, 84bhp
* Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* 0-62mph: 12.1 seconds
* Top speed: 110mph
* Econ: 47.9mpg
* CO2: 139g/km
* Equipment: Four airbags, traction and stability control, climate control, alloy wheels
* On sale:  October