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Volkswagen Polo Hatchback engines, drive and performance

1994 - 2000 (change model)
Performance rating: 3 out of 53.0

Written by Parkers Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

The inclusion of a 16 valve 1.4 to the line up brought some sportiness – 60 mph arrives in just over 10 seconds. The standard 1.4 though is fine and even the entry level 1.0 litre is adequate, but don’t expect to do much overtaking. The 1.9 diesel is noisy, but frugal. The 1.6 is the most relaxed, but no faster than a 1.4.

On the whole the handling is safe and predictable provided nothing too adventurous is attempted. The Polo is at its best when travelling securely down the motorway, or soaking up the bumps around town, and the light controls make it easy to drive. Confident roadholding with some body roll; steering direct but rather heavy if not power-assisted; feels safe, solid and secure.