Used buyer's guide: Volkswagen Polo

23 Apr, 2013 10:15am Richard Dredge

The Mk5 VW Polo is far from cheap, but you do get a lot for you money


The Polo has always made a great used buy, but it’s easy to lose sight of just how good the current MkV model is. It’s much more fun to drive than its predecessors, as well as more refined and efficient, and thoroughly deserved of its World Car of the Year award in 2010. However, the car’s lacklustre performance in our Driver Power 2012 satisfaction survey shows that not all owners have been won over. As a result, you need to ensure the Polo really is the supermini for you before buying.

Few cars in the supermini class are as desirable as the latest Volkswagen Polo. In a market full of cheap and cheerful options, the fifth-generation hatchback is a cut above its rivals, thanks to its classy exterior design, premium cabin and hi-tech engines.

Steep new prices and strong residuals mean you’ll pay for the privilege of owning a used Polo. Still, with most of the attributes of the Golf for much less, this model is a very attractive proposition.


The Mk5 Polo arrived in October 2009 in five-door hatch form, with a three-door following just four months later. Initially, there were 59bhp or 69bhp 1.2 and 84bhp 1.4-litre petrol engines, plus a 1.6-litre TDI diesel with either 74bhp or 89bhp. By February 2010, there was a 1.2 TDI, in 104bhp or 74bhp forms.

The latter was badged BlueMotion. At the same time came the 177bhp GTI, with 1.4-litre TSI power. The high-value Polo Match replaced the SE and Moda in July 2011; the sporty-looking R-Line debuted in April 2012. The efficient PoloGT from October 2012 had a 138bhp 1.4 petrol engine, yet could average 61mpg.


The Audi A1 is hugely desirable, as is the MINI, but you’ll pay more for either of these cars, and the latter comes in three-door form only. If you want choice and driving pleasure, the Ford Fiesta is ideal – it’s reliable, well equipped and stylish.


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"The Polo has always made a great used buy"

The other half's 2001 model was scrapped at only 80k miles. Clutch, gearbox and ignition system all died. There was even smoke coming out of the steering column at one point. The worst car we've ever had.

my new girlfriend bought a Polo in 2009, she wanted one with a sunroof so paid list (I know:( It never smelt new she says, the brakes barely worked - a friends boyfriend look at it and said there was no brake fluid - took it back to the dealer - who denied the fact but the brakes worked afterwards and strangely the reservoir was now full. The suspensions always knocked at the back and the handbrake barely held - the VW dealers (Cheshire) said they never found any probs - now the warranty is gone they're finding these issues when the cars serviced (even when my g'f doesn't mention them) advised that the suspension and geometry should be checked even wanted over a £100 to adjust the hand brake - what?