Volkswagen Polo Hatchback 1994 - 2000

Volkswagen Polo Hatchback 1994 - 2000

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016


  • Running costs are low
  • Reliable
  • Solidly built


  • There's little standard kit
  • Expensive compared to rivals


The Polo hatchback is a well built car with quality materials used inside and the car is highly reliable. It is built more for comfort than speed with the seats proving to be comfortable on even long trips. The more powerful engines aren't too slow though and the diesels offer great fuel efficiency. Overall they are safe, easy and reliable to drive.

Exterior and Interior

The Polo may not be the most stylish of cars but it was designed more for comfort than eye catching good looks and speed. It comes in the form of either a three or five door but we would advise on getting the five door version as it is hard for passengers to get into the back seats. It's fairly spacious inside, but is by no means a class leader with the back bench only seating two people comfortably, but three can get in at a squeeze. The interior is built to a high standard using quality materials, but it is dark and drab and you won't get much kit as standard. The boot isn't the biggest either coming in at 245litres. There are big door bins, a centre console and a cubby hole, but if you opt for airbags you lose the latter. The seats are very comfortable if a little firm and the centre console is well laid out and easy to use. All models come with a height adjustable steering wheel, stereo system and electric heated mirrors. The next trim level up, the CL, comes with height adjustable front seats and split folding rear seats whilst the top of the range GLX comes with heated windscreen, wash jets and front fog lamps.

Performance and Economy

The 1.0-litre engine lacks really power and you will find it hard to overtake anything in it, but it is well suited to city life being small and nippy and managing 47 miles to the gallon. The standard 1.4-litre isn't much better, but the 1.4-litre 16V with 100bhp is by far the best engine going from 0-60mph in just over 10 seconds and it has a fuel efficiency of 40mpg. The 1.6-litre GTi is also very good with plenty of power even on the motorways easily keeping up with traffic and going form 0-60mph in just 8.4 seconds. The fuel economy isn't far behind the 1.4-litre 16V with 39mpg. The 1.9-lite diesel isn't even worth looking at as it comes with less power, is slower and is less fuel efficient than the smaller 1.4-litre diesel. If its fuel efficiency you're looking at the 1.4-litre is the car to go for managing 62mpg and isn't too much of a slouch either going from 0-60mpg in just over 12 seconds. For insurance purposes they fall between groups 2 and 12 with the 1.6-litre being the most expensive.

Like to Drive

The Polo isn't a car to get your heart racing with exhilarating speed as it was made for comfort, but the larger petrol engines put in a fairly good show with the 1.6-litre being quick enough to have some fun with. The ride is smooth with the suspension ironing out most of the bumps although some noise does get transferred through to the cabin when travelling on motorways and over rough surfaces. The power steering is good making parking a doddle and the cornering isn't too bad either with very little body roll and the light controls making the Polo easy to drive. The view out of the front is good but the same can't be said for the back as the rear pillars create large blind spots that can make reversing difficult.

Faults and Repairs

There should be few problems to worry about on the Polo provided it has been serviced regularly as it is well built and robust. A general all round check should suffice with particular attention being paid to the suspension, electrics and check under the oil filler cap for sludge as this could indicate the head gasket having failed or failing in near future. The repair and service costs may be slightly more than heir rivals, but you shouldn't need many repairs and an independent specialist should suffice and they'll save you money.