1 Jul 2002
By CHRIS HARRIS
In all but one area the next generation Polo (the fourth since the mid-1970s but only the second for Australia) was as good as its predecessor was bad.
Steering, handling, ride and refinement abilities soared, along with comfort, luggage space, passive and active safety attributes and body strength.
But its 55kW135Nm 1.4-litre SOHC 16V four-cylinder engine’s performance struggled to keep up with that of cheaper and more efficient rivals like the Honda Jazz, Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta ranges.
Plus the three and five-door styling boarded on the innocuous after the pretty pertness of the earlier Polo. After a slow start, VW has played with the models on offer.
The earlier bare-bones base, S and SE nomenclature gave way to Club, Match and Elite tags from August ’03 – with an appreciable increase in features so that even the basic Club offered dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, air-conditioning, power steering and power mirrors.
From August ’04 the arrival of the Polo Classic – a soberly styled four-door sedan with a big boot and a 28cm length increase – made history in Australia as the first Chinese-built car sold here.
It features a version of the old Golf IV’s 74kW/148Nm 1.6-litre SOHC 16V four-cylinder engine.
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Volkswagen 1996 Polo range
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