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Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion delayed

Not so fast: VW's Polo BlueMotion is not welcome in Australia until it comes with curtain airbags.

VW’s Fiesta Econetic rival on hold as spec levels are sorted out at production level

7 Oct 2010

IT’S literally a curtain call for the Polo BlueMotion as Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) holds off on importing its eco king due to a surprising safety omission.

Originally planned to be on sale Down Under by the end of this year, the most economical and greenest Polo is hampered by the lack of curtain airbag availability.

For now, all Polo BlueMotion models only come with front and side airbags.

Volkswagen Group Australia Press and PR boss Karl Gehling said Polo BlueMotion would be seen in Australia eventually.

“However, currently we are unable to get it with the specification levels that Australian customers would expect – it is not available with curtain airbags,” he said.

“And since curtain airbags are standard on all other Polo models sold in Australia, we were not willing to compromise safety with the BlueMotion model.

“If in the future they were to offer it with curtain airbags then we would definitely consider bringing it in.”

3 center imageGoAuto understands that this strange omission – the result of the BlueMotion model being based on a lower spec model than the rest of the range offered in Australia – will soon be rectified, clearing the way for the headline-grabbing eco Polo’s local debut.

Produced in Navarra, Spain (the source for all of our three-door Polos including the GTI to be launched in Australia next month – the other five-door models come out of South Africa), the Polo BlueMotion is the most economical production Volkswagen-badged vehicle on sale worldwide.

Driving the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox is a 1.2-litre three-cylinder common rail TDI turbo-diesel engine delivering 55kW of power at 4200rpm and 180Nm of torque at 2000rpm.

Euro 5-compliant, it produces as little as 87grams per kilometre of carbon dioxide emissions (a 20 per cent cut) and just 3.3 litres per 100km (in German market tune).

Aiding the BlueMotion’s green goals are automatic idle-stop, low rolling resistance tyres, specific aerodynamic treatments including an enclosed underbody and 10mm lower ride height, and a regenerative braking system that feeds otherwise wasted energy into the electrical system and battery.

Combined, these save 0.9L/100km of diesel compared with a conventional Polo TDI with the same power. Top speed is 173km/h while the 0-100km/h-sprint time takes 13.9 seconds.

The Polo BlueMotion would easily take over the Fiesta Econetic’s mantle as Australia’s most economical new car, since the Ford achieves 3.7L/100km as well as 98g/km of CO2 emissions.

Ford Australia is due to add curtain airbags to the Fiesta Econetic before the end of this year.

The current Polo is not the first to wear BlueMotion badges. In 2006, the previous-generation version gained the eco branding on a Europe-only model that – while unable to slip below the 100g/km CO2 emissions barrier – did beat the contemporary Toyota Prius II in the CO2 stakes while achieving a very credible 3.9L/100km from a 59kW 1.4L TDI engine.

Furthermore, the Polo-based SEAT Ibiza is offered in a BlueMotion-like EcoMotion version.

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