Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion

Eco-focused superminis are common now, but even in the late noughties that wasn’t the case

Years: 2007-09Price new: £11,995Engine: 1.4-litre 3cyl, 79bhp

Eco-focused superminis are common now, but even in the late noughties that wasn’t the case. The Mk4 VW Polo was the first model to wear the BlueMotion badge, and had a 1.4 three-cylinder TDI engine optimised for efficiency, plus a host of changes to cut the car’s already low costs.

Lightweight wheels and low-rolling-resistance tyres, a more aerodynamic grille and longer gear ratios all helped keep CO2 down to 99g/km, which means it’s still free to tax today, nearly a decade on.

Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion - front

The 79bhp TDI featured belongs to Derek O’Donoghue and his girlfriend Laura Keane. It has a variable-geometry turbo – similar to the Porsche 911 Turbo of the time – so there’s more torque available lower down, which means you have to rev the engine less so use less fuel. While 0-62mph takes a lengthy 12.8 seconds, the BlueMotion is about numbers of a different kind, with returns of 72mpg. The engine clatters from cold, although at speed the Polo is more refined, thanks to low cruising revs – even with a five-speed gearbox.

However, the real pleasure is watching the fuel needle taking its time to fall, as the car ekes out its 45 litres of diesel over around 700 miles.

Click the links below for the other 1,400cc cars that have made our list.

Most Popular

Exclusive: banned 71-reg number plates released
Number plates
News

Exclusive: banned 71-reg number plates released

Latest DVLA list of banned UK registrations reveals which 71-plates are too rude for the road
21 Sep 2021
Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES
Genesis G80

Genesis G80 vs Mercedes E-Class vs Lexus ES

The Genesis G80 looks to make an impact in the executive saloon class as we pitch it against the Mercedes E-Class and Lexus ES
18 Sep 2021
'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'
Opinion cheap cars
Opinion

'The death of cheap cars will be a travesty for personal mobility'

Our appetite for small, cheap cars is as strong as ever - although Mike Rutherford warns they may no longer be profitable
12 Sep 2021