Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion 2 3dr

October 2007

picture of car from the front

The bodywork revisions are obvious from the front

Ratings

Overall Rating 6Overall rating

Value for money Rating 6Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 9Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 6Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 7Comfort

Security Rating 6Car security

Safety Rating 7Car safety


Likes

  • Incredible fuel economy
  • Feels roomy despite small size
  • Smart and functional interior
  • Relaxing and easy to drive

Gripes

  • High gearing not suited to town driving
  • Better specced model suffers worse economy
  • Uninspiring looks
  • Expensive compared to standard model

There are few issues bigger than that of carbon footprints at the moment and there are few manufacturers that aren't developing models capable of doing their bit to save the planet. Volkswagen's initial effort is the Polo BlueMotion, an advanced variant of the hatchback designed to have the minimum possible environmental impact.

Originally making its debut at the Geneva Motorshow in 2006 the Polo Bluemotion is a simple idea executed with typical German efficiency to good effect. Starting with a 1.4-litre diesel version of the popular city car, Volkswagen has made revisions across the board not only to bring down weight, improve aerodynamics and lessen rolling resistance in an attempt to raise fuel economy, but also to ensure the car can be efficiently recycled at the end of its life.

From the outside a new grille is among the noticeable changes. It aids airflow over the bonnet to improve the aerodynamics, as does a splitter on the front bumper and a rear lip spoiler. Light-weight wheels have also been added along with low rolling resistance tyres.

Volkswagen has also worked on its 1.4-litre diesel unit for use in the BlueMotion. The standard turbo has been replaced with a variable turbine geometry unit linked to an Exhaust Gas Recirculation system to boost response and performance. The three-cylinder unit also has a Diesel Particulate Filter to lessen emissions and, as one of the company's PD units, uses a high-pressure injection system to deliver more efficient combustion. The gearbox has been modified with the top three of the five gears ratios extended for lower engine speeds when cruising.

The work has been carried out to good effect, with the BlueMotion variant's economy improved noticeably compared to the standard 1.4-litre diesels. In fact, the success of the operation has inspired Volkswagen to create BlueMotion eco-friendly version of some of its other models too, giving the company real kudos as a manufacturer of environmentally aware vehicles.

Our verdict on the Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion 2 3dr

The BlueMotion certainly offers better economy compared to the rest of the Polo range. However, you'd have to give thought to whether savings in fuel will outweigh the increased initial purchase price. It's a shame that the BlueMotion 2's extra toys lift it out of the tax-free band but, if you can live without aircon, the BlueMotion 1 will save more money and leave a smaller carbon footprint.

Costs
Costs rating 9

With a low insurance rating and the thirst of a gerbil the Polo BlueMotion has to be one of the cheapest cars around to run. Initial purchase price is considerably higher than some of the standard Polos and opposition though, so it's worth doing the calculations first. It's a shame that the additional weight and air-con of the BlueMotion 2 pushes the model out of the tax-free band, but the lesser spec BlueMotion 1 doesn't fall foul of a charge.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 6

The Polo BlueMotion has a TARDIS-like interior that belies its small size. Perhaps it's the copious glass and light cloth inside, but it certainly has a spacious, airy feel. Storage is well catered for with cubbyholes, a tray on top of the dash and a good size glovebox and door pockets. The boot makes the best use of its limited size with a boxy shape and the rear seats fold flat in one piece to offer a decent amount of additional load space.

picture of car from the rear

A lip spoiler is added to the rear

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

The Polo BlueMotion's interior has been very efficiently designed, so it comes as no surprise that the displays are well laid out and easy to read or that the controls fall to hand and are robust and smooth to use. Particularly noteworthy is the trip computer that gives an economy readout in mpg - the temptation to try and beat your last score is very strong.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 7

It isn't big on luxuries, but the BlueMotion makes the most of what it does have. The seats are supportive and comfortable without being too plush and the leather in the BlueMotion 2 is nice to the touch. The higher spec model also gets semi-automatic air-con and a self-dimming rear-view mirror. The tall gearing and intelligent use of sound deadening means it's a refined car to drive and comfortable over longer journeys.

Car security
Security Rating 6

An engine immobiliser and central locking is standard, but you'll need to opt for the BlueMotion 2 to gain an alarm and remote operation for the central locking. The Volkswagen branded CD/radio unit is security coded and a flashing LED warns off intruders when the car is locked.

Car safety
Safety Rating 7

Volkswagen has put a lot of emphasis on trying to make the small car as safe as possible. Folding brake and clutch pedals are among the safety enhancements. Isofix child seat points are fitted and the BlueMotion features twin front airbags, front side airbags and the option of curtain airbags. ABS with hydraulic brake assist is standard.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 6

The most noticeable driving aspect of the BlueMotion is the tall gearing. It make for relaxed cruising at speed, but around town you can find yourself in a predicament as to whether to opt for regular second or long third gear - and you often find yourself rolling along on tickover. The diesel unit is very strong and feels remarkably torquey for its size. Acceleration is unhurried, but there's no delay in pick-up. Cleverly, it seems to have been engineered to reward a more frugal driving approach. Light controls make driving the BlueMotion a stress free experience.

picture of car interior

BlueMotion gets unique materials inside

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 7

The five-door version would make a more sensible family vehicle, but for small families the Polo BlueMotion is a cost effective alternative to a saloon or larger hatch - especially for city dwellers. The interior should be hard wearing enough to cope with trial by child and the strong diesel engine will carry the whole family from A to B with a minimum of fuss and expense.

First car appeal
First car Rating 8

A tempting choice as a first car, the Polo BlueMotion is efficient, practical and is sure to bring low running costs too. It is more expensive than other models in the range however. The environmentally concerned young driver could do far worse especially if they opt for the tax-escaping BlueMotion 1 variant.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 6

The build quality is high and the BlueMotion isn't going to put any dents in Volkswagens reputation for building cars of sound quality. Whether the BlueMotion earns you any kudos in familiar circles depends on your friends. Eco-aware types will doubtless be impressed by your choice and car fans will spot the badges, but everyone else might wonder why you consider your Polo worthy of special interest.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

The five-door is obviously a better choice when it comes to accessing the back seats, but the three-door won't pose too many problems the more nimble. The boot door opens particularly high too, making access to the boot stress-free.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The BlueMotion won't blow you away with its four speaker sound system, but the quality is good and the CD player is MP3 compatible. There are no steering wheel mounted controls for the sound system but the integrated unit is within easy reach of the driver's seat and the big buttons make using the system uncomplicated.

picture of car in detail

Light-weight alloys aid fuel economy

Colours and trim

You can specify your Polo BlueMotion in one of five colours. It's blacks, greys, silvers and whites to choose from with no funky blues or reds like the rest of the range. Inside, the BlueMotion gets its own "popcorn" cloth to ensure it stands out from the rest of the range. The light green hue of the textured cloth seats is quite appealing and contrasts nicely with the grey interior plastics. The BlueMotion 2 also gets a touch of leather on the wheel, handbrake and gearknob.

Parking

The Polo's compact dimensions and good all round visibility mean that the driver should have little trouble finding spaces or parking. The steering is nice and light which helps out in low speed manoeuvres and reasonably tight turning circle is also a bonus.

Spare wheel

Full size steel fitted as standard.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.2-litre (59bhp); 1.2-litre (69bhp); 1.4-litre (79bhp); 1.6-litre (103bhp); 1.8-litre (148bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.4-litre (69bhp); 1.4-litre (79bhp); 1.9-litre (98bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual gearbox, six-speed automatic gearbox. Trim levels: E, S, SE, Sport, Dune, GTI, BlueMotion.

 

Alternative cars

Fiat Panda 1.3-litre diesel is the economical choice

Peugeot 107 Buzzy one-litre offers frugal fun

Mini One Adoption of Stop-Start makes it eco friendly

Toyota Prius Makes an eco statement but pricey and large



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October 2007