Volkswagen Polo FSI SE 5-dr

They're all getting a bit smug at Volkswagen. Not content with redefining the diesel hatch market with the PD range, they're now using the technology on petrol units. But does FSI add fizz to the Polo?

Petrol engines have finally been catching up with diesel technology. Although the FSI is costlier than the 75bhp 1.4 Polo, the new unit offers better economy and more sprightly performance, despite a buzzy engine. If you can't stretch to the diesel's price, the FSI is a fine option.

They're all getting a bit smug at Volkswagen. Not content with redefining the diesel hatch market with the PD range, they're now using the technology on petrol units. But does FSI add fizz to the Polo?

This 1.4-litre engine looks promising on paper. Slotting into the Polo range between the 75bhp and 100bhp 1.4s, the FSI comes in at a middle-ground 86bhp. The newcomer can nip from 0-60mph in 12.1 seconds on the way to achieving its top speed of 111mph.

In daily use, it has to be worked hard to make swift progress, with peak power coming in at a noisy 5,000rpm. It settles down at cruising speed, but under acceleration there's an unpleasant resonance at high revs which puts you off pushing the Polo hard.

But look at the economy. By using a common-rail system to inject fuel into the engine at the optimum rate, FSI - or Fuel Stratified Injection, to give it its full title - means the Polo returns 48mpg, which is 6mpg more than the 75bhp variant achieves. However, beware that if you press on, the engine moves into a less economical mode. The technology also cleans up on CO2 emissions, the FSI producing only 142g/km. So the new engine can reduce running costs, but is it good value? Our five-door test car in high-spec SE trim costs £12,080, a reasonable £380 more than the slower 1.4.

Only when you look at rivals does the FSI seem expensive. Skoda's Fabia 1.4 16v offers superior performance and 40mpg economy for £11,285.

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