1984 Volkswagen Polo CL 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Expensive to run, but worth it.


The clutch was badly worn when I bought the car and had to be replaced immediately.

The carburettor had to be replaced at 86,000 miles.

A manual choke was added, as the car was prone to stalling at traffic lights.

The accelerator cable snapped at 88,000 miles.

The points have to be replaced every four months for the car to run at all.

Uneven wear on the front tyres means they need to be replaced now.

The frame in the driver's seat snapped so the whole seat needs replacing.

The back box on the exhaust is now badly corroded.

General Comments:

It can be very slow and sluggish until reaches normal operating temperature.

The sides seem very high compared to modern cars, making visibility a problem in certain situations.

The simplicity of the car makes it a good first car to learn basic mechanics on.

It could definitely do with a 5th gear.

The car is very noisy at motorway speeds, but copes remarkably well. I have previously travelled over 800miles in three days, with the car fully laden, and had absolutely no problems.

The engine is sound and should run on for many more miles.

It only manages 150 miles to 30 litres of fuel so it works out very expensive to run.

I choose to use unleaded fuel and then add an additive as the car does not run very well on Lead Replacement Petrol.

This car is well loved and will never be sold. Although I am in the process of buying another car I intend to keep my polo to repair and respray.

On a good day the car is a lot of fun to drive. On a bad day, it's a very heavy car to push.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd August, 2002

1984 Volkswagen Polo C 1.05 from UK and Ireland


A paragon of cheap, reliable motoring


Battery had to be replaced and gave no trouble thereafter.

Various light bulbs went, but what more can you expect after all these years!

Handbrake cable snapped - cheaply rectified.

Notorious headlamp rocker switch broke. Replacement obtained from local breakers yard.

New rocker cover seal, cheaply fitted to rectify minor oil seepage.

General Comments:

A superb first car. Although there were minor niggles, which is perfectly excusable for a car of this age, there were never any mechanical faults.

It never let me down, always starting on the button every morning, sun or snow!

The seats were extremely comfortable, and there was little wear to the driver's seat, - clear testimony to the longevity of this marque. Back seat passengers unanimously agreed it was a far more comfortable bench than any modern car.

There was very little surface rust, and when cleaned, the paint-work looked as new. No fading or discolouring.

These early Polos had no servos on the brakes, so braking performance was not good by modern standards. However, for a first driver, this could only have been a good thing: it encouraged me to drive more sensibly, in an active rather than reactive manner.

Performance was surprisingly sprightly for a 1 litre engine. Once warmed it would happily mix it with the big guys on the motorway, and acceleration for such an old engine was excellent.

The car was very solidly built. The metal used was much thicker than modern-day Peugeot 106's or Citroen Saxos, for example. Luckily I was never involved in an accident, but I feel sure it would have stood up well to an impact.

Fuel economy was its forte: who can grumble at 230 miles of motoring for £20, considering the age of the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th May, 2002

1984 Volkswagen Polo Coupe 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Great little hatchback, couldn't be much better


Clutch at 72,000.

Front wheel bearings and windscreen washer pump at 80,000.

Fuel pump at 83,000.

Wiper stalk (the switch assembly on steering column) at 100,000.

A rear suspension spring, and both rear bearings at 100,000.

Both front suspension springs at 110,000.

Fuel gauge unreliable about 140,000 (probably sender unit on tank).

Rear brake master cylinder, thermostat and handbrake cable at 146,000.

Head gasket at 153,000.

Brake lines (MoT failure) at 167,000.

General Comments:

The above looks like a long list, but the car has been very reliable. At 184,000 miles it is using a little oil but running sweetly. The two occasions I remember when it failed me were:

1. Points burnt out/fuel filter clogged after dodgy petrol in Durham (1996).

2. Engine died 50 yards from home (2000). Fault was traced to a blocked carb jet.

I don't think either was avoidable.

I bought it after driving the 1100cc model 400+ miles in one day, and finding it very comfy, despite recent surgery on my broken right leg. I'm 5 foot 4, and this car is a perfect size for me.

It handles better than the standard models, has a firmer ride. Brakes aren't great (spongy, little feedback), but I can still lock the front with a good stab.

I've been so happy with it I'm looking for another 1300cc coupe. The only rust, apart from stone chips, is on the inside of the tailgate, where water runs down inside.

Watch out for leaking door seals, they're easily fixed - try newsgroup uk.rec.autos.vw.watercooled for advice.

Fitted a Pertronix Ignitor electronic points unit (replaces the points and condenser in distributor) in 1999, wish I'd done it sooner. I think they are now called Aldon in the UK.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th July, 2001