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VW drops Polo diesel

Good oil: The updated VW Polo will come to Australia from September as a petrol-only proposition.

Polo TDI demise means cheapest VW passenger diesel will cost $35K from September

Volkswagen logo1 May 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS in MUNICH

VOLKSWAGEN is stepping back from its widespread diesel coverage in Australia with the demise of the current-series Polo TDI in September, making a $35,000 Golf variant its cheapest diesel-powered passenger car offering.

Though reengineered with a new 1.4-litre three-cylinder turbo unit offering class-leading fuel consumption of just 3.4 litres per 100km, this and other diesel options have been overlooked in Australia for a trio of petrol powered options including the upcoming GTI.

The Polo TDI’s demise means that the latest Mk7 Golf 110TDI Highline, which kicks off from $34,790 plus on-road costs, will be the entry point for Volkswagen passenger car diesel fans in Australia.

According to Volkswagen Group Australia general manager of communications Karl Gehling, the Polo diesel’s demise reflects the waning demand for this sort of fuel-powered vehicle in the light-car class.

“It has become a very small segment in Australia,” he told GoAuto at the launch of the A05 GP-series Polo in Munich this week.

“Plus the fuel economy of the latest TSI petrol engines is better than ever, making it harder to justify the extra cost of going diesel.”

Currently priced at $24,290 plus on-road costs, the outgoing Polo 66TDI DSG Comfortline has failed to set the light-car market on fire in Australia in the four years that it has been on sale.

Volkswagen is following Ford’s lead last year with the discontinuation of the Fiesta TDCi diesel when it switched from the WT to WZ – although the latter was always hamstrung in this country by the lack of automatic transmission availability – something that the dual-clutch transmission Polo avoided.

Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat and Renault have also either dropped or delayed their light-car diesel offerings for their latest models, although the latter may still elect to bring the Clio DCi version in later on in the year.

It isn’t just the baby class that is feeling Volkswagen’s diesel pinch, either, with the fate of the Golf GTD still hanging in the balance, as the company continues to assess its sportiest diesel option for Australia.

VGA is also sticking by its plans to sit out the Beetle diesel, even though its predecessor offered one for a number of years from the mid-2000s.

After the Golf Highline, the next least expensive Volkswagen diesel is the Tiguan 103TDI Pacific AWD from $38,890, although on the commercial vehicle front the Amarok TDI340 Cab Chassis one-tonner comes in at a snip under $27,500.

Meanwhile the CrossPolo – a sort of ‘Outback’ version of the regular light car with extra ground clearance – is also off VGA’s shopping list for the time being.

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