VW Polo Bluemotion

Eco supermini will be cleanest family car ever

Overall Auto Express Rating

5.0 out of 5

Not so long ago, the idea of a diesel-engined supermini managing 85.5mpg on the combined cycle was firmly rooted in science fiction. But it’s now a reality – and our first drive proves that it works. The design changes are more than effective, and if the Polo BlueMotion is the future of low-CO2 motoring, things are looking very rosy.

IS this the best Polo yet? VW’s new hatchback has scored well so far – and the BlueMotion could be the pick of the bunch!

Emitting 87g/km of CO2 – lower than the new 89g/km Toyota Prius – it will be the cleanest family car you can buy when it goes on sale in 2010. But it’s not a hybrid; VW has just taken diesel technology to new levels of efficiency.

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


The previous BlueMotion featured an 80bhp 1.4-litre TDI diesel, and used longer gearing and aerodynamics to limit CO2 output to just under 100g/km.

These ideas continue in the new car. Thanks to a smooth underbody, lower ride height, low-rolling-resistance tyres and a blanked-off front grille, it passes through the air more easily than the standard Polo.

But to cut emissions further, it has a 75bhp 1.2-litre diesel with common-rail injection. Stop-start and regenerative braking ensure the alternator charges the battery only when the car is slowing – so energy isn’t expended at other times. You could even call the BlueMotion a ‘mild’ hybrid. BMW has used a similar system for a while.

Does it work? Yes! It’s easy to get the trip to read above 60mpg, and not much harder to touch 70mpg. The smaller unit has enough torque to haul the lighter Polo, provided you hold on to lower gears for longer, and there’s fun to be had keeping the momentum going.

Now more than ever, the Polo is a mini-Golf – high in quality and satisfying to own. And as it’s as big as the old MkIII hatch, it’s a great family car, too.

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