21 December 2015 ~ 0 Comments

Our cars: 2013 Polo R-Line – report four

John Redfern, one of our resident fifth-generation Polo owners, calls time on his period with his 2013 R-Line after two-and-a-half years and 19,000 happy miles

2013 Volkswagen Polo R-Line: John Redfern

In my last update on my Polo R-Line, I alluded to the idea of replacing it with something sprightlier when my current finance deal concluded in 2016. Things moved on a little quicker than anticipated, with the R-Line going off to pastures new in May this year. Being patient has never been my strongpoint!

But after 2.5 years and 19,000 miles it was time to say goodbye to NG62 EWC, as the Deep Black Pearlescent three-door went off to find a new owner. Hopefully it’ll prove just as loyal to them as it was to me. Perhaps one of the biggest compliments I can pay to the R-Line was that made writing about it so difficult at times, due do doing exactly what was asked of it without fail.

Reliable and well-built
In fact, it was everything the Volkswagen clichés of old would tell you to believe. Reliable and well built, the R-Line never let me down during our 29 months together. Aside from two annual services, it had no reason to venture near a dealership other than the fateful day when it became a part-exchange against its replacement. With a virtually flawless record it really was a lesson in dependability.

While it never went wrong, there was one main bugbear with the R-Line in the shape of the standard Bluetooth phone system. Aside from looking resolutely aftermarket by being plonked on the dashboard, it also refused to stream music and had an annoying habit of dropping connectivity. Thankfully the mid-life facelift update for the Polo model last year included an all-new multimedia setup, replacing the loathsome TPK system.

Apart from phone connectivity, the only other issue with the R Line was black paintwork that looked great when clean, but seemed so susceptible to minor marks and scratches no matter how careful I was when washing it. At the time of buying the R Line I had the choice to either wait and get a car in a colour of my choosing, or take the black one there and then. Like I said, I’m not one for patience!

Notable improvement
Fuel economy improved throughout my time with the R-Line, averaging around 45mpg by the time it departed. Being properly run in – there was a notable improvement after 10,000 miles – and using Shell V Power Nitro+ certainly seemed to make a difference. That 45mpg could probably have been bettered, but I spent far too much time enjoying the 1.2-litre TSI engine’s performance.

Although officially only having 104bhp, the TSI engine always felt stronger than the figures suggested, and would happily embarrass unsuspecting drivers of more powerful machinery. A light and precise six-speed manual gearbox helped, along with sharp brakes and accurate steering.

While fun on the daily commute, the R-Line wasn’t a car that begged to be driven specifically for enjoyment. Pushed hard, the limits of the standard suspension became apparent, although the Dunlop Sport Maxx tyres would gamely hang on. A Guild of Motoring Writers’ track day at Rockingham demonstrated just how much body roll the R-Line could generate, but it didn’t feel completely out of its depth among quicker cars.

Handsome, reliable, relatively rare, frugal, and amusing in everyday driving, the R Line proved to be a worthy companion during my ownership. It’ll always hold a small place in my motoring heart, no matter how much quicker the car its strong residual values helped fund.

For more on John’s time with the R-Line, read his previous reports on PoloDriver.com. Also head over to John’s website engagesportmode.com to read his thoughts on a wide range of performance cars and motorsport subjects.

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