13 August 2012 ~ 6 Comments

Our cars: 2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI – report five

Y464 GHJ has seen almost a full calendar year in Rich Gooding’s ownership. Before he celebrates their first anniversary together, he reports on what’s happened to the car in the past three months

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI

It’s been a busy month for the GTI, not least as it’s been pressed into almost daily service again. I reported last time that I’d been using the car for commuting to a new place of work, which soon ended. Well, the situation has repeated itself, with me taking regular trips to carry out some freelance sub-editing and magazine layout for Bauer Media in Peterborough. The international publisher has titles such as CAR, Classic Cars, Classic Car Weekly, Land Rover Owner International, Parkers and Practical Classics on its roster, so when I’m needed it’s a 175-mile round trip, sometimes four times a week. Which is more than enough miles to get to know a car quite intimately.

While a sometime source of frustration, motorways see the Polo settle into a comfortable and soothing rhythm, its blend of high-specification and sporting élan coming into its own. It’s improved the fuel economy, too, with two recent readings of 41 and 44mpg recorded. I never thought I’d see that! When I do get bored of monotonous stretches of straight tarmac, winding B-roads are handled vigorously by the small Volkswagen, and if not the last word in sporting finesse and pedigree, it puts up a valiant effort. The steering is nicely weighted, and while there’s more body roll than you might expect at times, it’s easily controllable.

Spending more time in the car has allowed me to notice a couple of things. Firstly, the rear window gets dirtier under the rear spoiler than anywhere else on the glass (the water also drops off rearwards from the roof at a heavy rate), and the standard speakers really do produce a great sound, pumping music from my iPod via the cassette deck adapter. The boot light has also – typically – started working again, after my lambasting of it in my last report. In other news, I’ve removed the red grille trim already, as it was more pink than red due to excessive fading, and after having had both a new Polo BlueMotion and Up from the Volkswagen UK press office, the GTI has shared the drive with newer relatives.

With moving house and the new ‘commute’, the Polo’s had a lot to put up with, and I’ve not helped the situation. Two wheel rims on those gorgeous alloys have been kerbed, at opposite diagonal corners, and I reversed into another car on the driveway of the new house, taking the paint off the offside rear bumper corner. While deeply frustrating, there are worse things to worry about, and the first wheel has been painted and repaired. While the car was in the ever-dependable Sani’s Motors in Chelmsford, the slight chips in the wheel boltholes were touched in (making the second wheel kerning incident even more annoying). The second wheel is yet to be taken in, and will be looked at properly when the car has its impending – and soon overdue – 76,000-mile service.

2001 Volkswagen Polo GTI: log book

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