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29 October 2009 ~ 1 Comment

Our cars: 1991 Polo GT Coupé –
report one

PoloDriver.com contributor Simon Kimber updates the story of H714 ERP, his 1990 Polo GT Coupé that he has has owned for 15 years

H714’s speedometer is now reading over 108,000 miles and of this, I have driven 75,000 of them. Yes, it has taken a while to do it, but the annual mileage now is only 8,000. Throughout all those miles, I have not had one major mechanical failure and the fuel consumption has rarely dipped below 40mpg. On the rare occasion it has hit 50mpg, even though I do drive it quite hard – slightly higher tyre pressures and slotting it into fifth as soon as possible all helps.

I have lost count the number of tyres I have had to replace, though. The original boots were Michelin MXV, with MXV2, MXT following. I then got fed up with those and moved size from 165/65 TR13 to 175/60 HR13 in Toyo’s RoadPro 610 series. I finally moved on to Toyo Proxes C-1 and I can tell you that these tyres are pretty good both in the dry and in the wet stuff too.

I do seem to be replacing them more often than i used to, though. They usually stay on the car for 4 years, with the brand new pair always put on the front. They may be a bit loose to begin with, but they soon scrub in. The fastest that has happened was in after 10 minutes at a trackday.

The MOT has reared its head again, so it was time to have a good look over H714. Finding something that would fail an MOT, I discovered a leaking nearside front shock absorber was quite damp. The rebound was very soft compared to the other side, too and there were no two ways about it – they had to be changed! Oddly enough the rear shock absorbers were in rude health. Suffice it to say, that at 80,000 miles and counting, no doubt I shall be replacing these at some point… not just yet though.

1990 Volkswagen Polo leaky damper

I had trawled the net for the best aftermarket shock absorbers I could find and most of them were in kits, but only in lowering heights from 30-60mm. My only option was to contact C&R Enterprises and see what could be done. Those of you who may know me from previous articles, may know that I prefer standard length uprated shock absorbers.

The car is fitted with a set of Weitec shock absorbers and they were so special they had to be specially made for the car. That stock has now run out due to the popularity and due to the fact that KW now owns Weitec, the company now has ‘no plans to manufacture any more shock absorbers for early Polos.’

1990 Volkswagen Polo Weitec damper

C&R told me that there weren’t many new shock absorber options open to me. Koni were recommended as they are the only manufacturer able to supply sport shocks in standard length, let alone straight off the shelf. So a pair were duly ordered on the Monday from Koni HQ in Farnborough, arriving the following Wednesday afternoon.

The shock changeover was carried out in a car park with only the aid of what should be the right tools for the job – a jack and an axle stand. The whole swap took around 2 hours to complete with relatively little in the way of problems.

One of the bump stops was contaminated with oil from the shock absorber and it was the breaking down of the bump stop which allowed the matching shocker to bottom out, resulting in failure and no damping. The top mounts on the other hand could have been used again, such was their condition. With new shock absorbers, bump stops and top mounts fitted it was now time for the road test to reveal just how they would all work together…

Costs this month: £274.32 (2 x Koni 86 1922SPORT shock absorbers £223.00; 2 x 871 412 323A top mounts £37.30; 2 x 861 412 131 bump stop £11.16; 2 x 861 412 135 dust cover £2.86. All parts prices are subject to VAT, and where applicable, fitting.)

2009 Polo Particulars Kimber 291009

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26 October 2009 ~ 0 Comments

2010 Polo BlueMotion: International Driving Presentation

2010 Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion

The production version of the new Polo BlueMotion has officially been launched at an International Driving Presentation in Hanover, Germany. Starring alongside new versions of the Golf and Passat BlueMotions, production of the eco-Polo starts early next year. Advance orders will be taken at the end of 2009.

The technical details and headline stats are nothing we didn’t know already. The high-tech BlueMotion Technologies (now a sub-brand in itself) package brings new a new 1.2-litre, 74bhp, three-cylinder common-rail TDI engine, regenerative braking, a Stop-Start system and aerodynamic body changes.

Volkswagen quote metric figures for the new car, meaning that the second-generation Polo BlueMotion will do 3.3 litres per 1000 kilometres. The company claim that this miserly consumption will make the new sip-sip Polo the most economical five-seater in the world. High hopes are also pinned on it being the most economical car in its market.

How achievable that ground-breaking fuel consumption is remains to be seen, but if the figures are possible, then brimming the 45-litre tank should only be needed eight times per year, based on a 11,000 kilometre annual mileage. One tankful should be enough, Volkswagen say, to cover over 1363 kilometres (or 851 miles if you get your calculator out).

2010 Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion

The German carmaker quotes that a driver can do the 1148-kilometre journey from Hanover to Venice on a single tankful of fuel, costing only 40 euros (3.5 euros per 100 kilometres). In UK terms, that means approximately 85mpg on the combined cycle, beating its predecessor’s quoted figure of 74mpg by quite some margin.

With 87g/km of CO2, the new Polo BlueMotion should also be one of the least-polluting cars in the world, too – the old model beat even the hybrid Toyota Prius. The technological changes help here, too. Modified engine management software gives a lower idling speed; a gearshift indicator lets you know when to stir the gearbox for maximum efficiency; and low rolling-resistance tyres and aerodynamically-designed wheels help make a smoother passage through the air.

Keep checking back for UK market details – we’ll bring them to you as soon as we have them. But, in the meantime, this story gives us an excuse to post a pair of Volkswagen’s striking press photos. Download one of them as a wallpaper here: 1024px x 768px / 1920px x 1200px.

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26 October 2009 ~ 0 Comments

2010 Polo Sedan spyshots

2010 Volkswagen Polo Sedan spyshot

We’d been expecting the new Polo family to grow, but maybe not quite this quickly. The hatchback has only just gone on sale, but already Secret New Cars has posted spyshots of the saloon version of the fifth-generation model.

Yes it’s true, there’s still lots of camouflage, but there’s no doubt that the car underneath the cladding is a Polo – just look at the strong shoulder line crease. Look carefully at the license plates, too; they show the car was registered in Gifhorn, a town close to VW’s Wolfsburg HQ. The website’s photographer caught the car during its first test sessions in the Austrian Grossglockner.

2010 Volkswagen Polo Sedan rendering

The new Polo Sedan was mooted to go into production in India for the local market, but Brazil could also now be on the cards. Rolling into showrooms in the later half of 2010, it’s not yet known whether the car will come to Europe or the UK (more than likely called ‘Limousine’ and ‘Saloon’ in those respective markets).

The US market prefers saloons over hatchbacks, so it could also head there, confirming reports that the Polo is about to go Stateside to complement the best-selling Jetta, and give Volkswagen its much-needed compact car segment contender.

[Source: Secret New Cars. Rendering: www.theophiluschin.com]

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24 October 2009 ~ 1 Comment

2009 Polo: UK TV commercial

The first UK TV commercial for the new Polo aired this week. Virtually unchanged from the German ‘Ready For A New Class’ spot, the UK’s ‘Timeless New Polo’ ad is also soundtracked by Pink’s Bad Influence, a seemingly good choice for the pan-European campaign.

This model seems to be aimed at a younger audience (hence the Moda trim level in the UK), and this commercial was slotted into a break in Monday night’s Ugly Betty. Similarly, some of the press ads are also in women’s magazines – another target market for the car.

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23 October 2009 ~ 3 Comments

VW releases 1.2 TSI engine for ordering

2009 Volkswagen Polo 1.2 SEL TSI

Hot on the heels of our disclosure earlier in the week that the Polo TSI will arrive in January next year, Volkswagen have released further details of its newest engine. Available in the Polo to order now on the continent, the 104bhp unit can also now be specified in the Golf and Golf Plus. The company has also released more pictures of the Polo TSI, one of which is above.

Rounding off the successful and award-winning family of TSI engines, the new powerplant is both highly efficient and also low in emissions. Presenting the unit at the Vienna Engine Symposium earlier in the year, the newest addition to the TSI range comes at an opportune time, when many car buyers are thinking of downsizing.

2009 Volkswagen 1.2 TSI engine

The direct-injection technology coupled with a turbocharger make the maximum torque of 175Nm available from as low an engine speed as 1,500rpm. It helps with the small displacement, too, giving unrivalled performance, torque and torque curve from an engine of this size.

Volkswagen says that lightweight construction and friction optimisation play their part, too. Based on an aluminium crankcase, the completely retuned direct injection gives smooth power development and low emissions – exactly the same attributes which have helped the larger 1.4 TSI unit win the ‘Engine of the Year’ award for three consecutive years since 2006.

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