Volkswagen Polo Hatchback 2002 - 2005

Volkswagen Polo Hatchback 2002 - 2005

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016


  • Spacious interiors that can fit four adults easily
  • Good build quality
  • Decent safety kit


  • Dull feeling interior
  • Low equipment levels


The Polo isn't the most exciting car to drive being built mainly for comfort, but the handling is good with light sharp steering and soft suspension that smoothes out all the bumps in the road with ease. The larger of the engines do pack quite a punch and should satisfy most people's needs for power, however, the smaller petrol engines are left lacking and the largest diesel engine feels too powerful for the car to safely handle.

Exterior and Interior

As with most Polo's, the new generation is designed more for comfort than speed. The car has got nice, clean lines that make it look more stylish on the outside. The five door models are the better models to go for as the back seat passengers will have an easier time of getting in. The three door car can be quite a challenge to get in and out of as you have to squeeze past the front seats, it also offers more legroom. The car is built to accommodate four adults comfortably, but five can get in at a squeeze. The seats aren't particularly comfortable as they are too soft and lack support. The drivers' seat is a fixed height which could prove uncomfortable for taller drivers. Thanks to the ever increasing size of the Polo the boot is now bigger than the previous model with 270-litres of space, which can be increased by folding down the rear seats. The high lip can prove to be a pain though especially when trying to lift in heavier objects. The build quality is excellent with the centre console being clearly laid out, but it lacks real flair. All cars come with ABS, driver and passenger airbags, power steering, CD stereo and central locking as standard. The S trim models come with semi-automatic air-con, alloy wheels, side airbags, front electric windows and split folding rear seats. The SE models come with height adjustable driver and front passenger seats, remote central locking and an alarm. The top of the range Sport models come with 15 inch alloys, sports suspension, a leather trimmed steering wheel and gearstick as well as front fog lights.

Performance and Economy

The smaller 1.4-litre petrol engines feel underpowered and breathless especially at motorway speeds, although the 65bhp model is better with the 55bhp model probably not worth considering. They both produce the same 47mpg and the 64bhp engine is faster going from 0-60mph in 14.4 seconds. The 1.4 petrol engines are better with the standard model with 75bhp managing 43mpg. The top of the range petrol the 1.4 FSI is by far the better engine with 86bhp. It achieves the same fuel efficiency of the smaller 1.2-litre engines at47mpg. It also isn't too slow going from 0-60mph in 11.7 seconds. The diesel engines all have impressive fuel efficiency with the smaller 1.4-litre engines getting into the low 60's for miles per gallon. The larger of the two engines, the 80bhp model, isn't too slow either coming in at less than a second behind the top of the range petrol with 12.4 seconds from 0-60mph. The 1.9 engines are great if you are after more speed as the smaller of the two, the 100bhp model, goes from 0-60mph in just over 10 seconds, whilst the top of the range 128bhp model manages it in 9.0 seconds. The smaller 100bhp engine also gets 56mpg compared to the larger engines 52mpg. The larger of the two feels slightly too powerful for the Polo ruining the handling as the car can't handle it. The cheapest to insure is the 55bhp 1.2-litre engine falling into group 2. The 128bhp 1.9-litre engine is the most expensive and lies in group 8, which still isn't too bad.

Like to Drive

The Polo is a good car to drive, but don't expect sporty handling as it has been built mainly for comfort. The suspension is soft making the ride smooth, but this causes a fair amount of body roll in the corners. The steering is light and accurate making city driving easy and the good view out the front helps. The back view is still restricted but is slightly improved from the previous generation. The inside is almost noise free with only a minimal amount of wind and road noise being transferred through to the cabin.

Faults and Repairs

The Polo isn't as complaint free as its predecessor when it comes to reliability with there being a lot of concerns about the suspension and engines. There have also been electrical glitches as well as clutch and gearbox faults. The good news is that spares are fairly cheap as is the servicing provided they are carried out by specialist garages rather than main dealers who have very expensive hourly rates. The car will need servicing every 12,000 miles, but that's standard for this type of car and the services shouldn't dent you're wallet too badly.