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Volkswagen Polo 2012 Review

The Polo GTI is one of the hottest hatches going at the moment, based on bang for your buck at least.

WE turn the spotlight on automotive's newest and brightest stars, as we ask the questions to which you want the answers. Ultimately, however, there is only one question that really needs answering  would you buy one?

What is it?

One of the hottest hatches going at the moment, based on bang for your buck at least. Looks like a smaller version of the Golf GTI and offers the same kind of performance. It's everything the previous model wasn't. 

How much?

Priced from $27,790 for the three-door. It's a lot of money for a tiny car, but you get a lot of car for your money. The only issue here is size because it's obviously not as big as a Golf. Four people will fit but there's not a lot of room leftover. Reminds me of the original pocket rocket -n the Swift GTI.

What are the competitors?

Good question. Maybe the Mini Cooper S, Citroen DS3 or perhaps the Fiat 500 Essesse. Cooper S is the only one to offer slightly more power, but it is a bigger car and not as quick. .

What's under the bonnet?

1.4-litre twin charged four cylinder petrol engine that produces 132kW of power and 250Nm of torque from a low 2000 revs. By twin charged we mean it has a turbocharger as well as a supercharger. The supercharger delivers low end power while the turbocharger takes care of the top end. 

How does it go?

Engine has a an exciting growl and the performance from the twin charged engine is sharp, with the dash from 0-100km/h taking 6.9 seconds. The engine is paired with a 7-speed `manumatic' complete with change paddles that rips through the gears with no loss of revs. 

Is it economical?

Talk about having your cake and eating it too? You get all this performance with fuel economy rated at a low 6.1 litres/100km. Bear in mind however that it likes the good stuff and our trip computer was showing 8.4.

Is it 'Green'?

Incredibly gets 4.5 stars from the Government's Green Vehicle Guide (Prius gets 5 out of 5). So you don't have to feel guilty about being a motoring enthusiast. The diesel Polo by the way gets four stars.

Is it safe?

Gets a full five-star safety rating, with six airbags, anti-lock brakes plus traction and stability control systems, and even hill start assist. There's also three headrests across the back.

Is it comfortable?

Like the cloth seats. Sporty without being too narrow. Driver's seat has height adjustment and the driving position is good and there's plenty of headroom. Suspension can be a bit firm at times, but that's the tradeoff for sporty handling.

What's it like to drive?

Fun. Makes all the right noises. Has all the right moves. Even gets an electronic differential lock (XDL) like the Golf.

Is it value for money?

Yes. The five-door model costs another $1000, but is probably worth it in terms of convenience. Comes with 17 inch alloys, 215/40 rubber, red
brake calipers and lowered sports suspension. 

Would we buy one?

You bet. Just show me where to sign. I love sporty hatches and this one's a bottler. If I had one wish, it would be for a manual.

Volkswagen Polo GTi

Price: From $27,790
Engine: 1.4L/4-cylinder; 132kW/250Nm
Transmission: 7-speed sports automatic dual clutch, front wheel drive
Thirst: 6.1L/100km combined 

Pricing Guides

Based on 122 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

66 TDI Comfortline 1.6L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $7,990 – 9,991 2012 Volkswagen Polo 2012 66 TDI Comfortline Pricing and Specs
77 TSI Comfortline 1.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $7,800 – 10,990 2012 Volkswagen Polo 2012 77 TSI Comfortline Pricing and Specs
GTi 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $11,500 – 16,990 2012 Volkswagen Polo 2012 GTi Pricing and Specs
Trendline 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $7,990 – 11,977 2012 Volkswagen Polo 2012 Trendline Pricing and Specs