1990 Volkswagen Polo Reviews

1990 Volkswagen Polo Fox Coupe 1.0 from UK and Ireland

Model year1990
Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 1.0 Manual
Performance marks 2 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.5 / 10
Distance when acquired120000 miles
Most recent distance123000 miles

Summary:

FUNKY!

Faults:

The exhaust kept falling off as the bracket it was hung from had rusted away.

Hand brake cable was on its last legs.

General Comments:

This was my girlfriends car, not mine.

I was away in Bristol when I got the call:

Me: 'Hello'

GF: 'Hi, I've seen a car I might buy'

Me: 'Oh right, what is it?'

GF: 'An H-reg Polo 1.0'

Me: 'Hmmmm, how many miles? Does it have an MOT?'

GF: '120k, 1 month MOT'

Me: 'No, leave it'

GF: 'Errr, I've actually paid for it...'

Me:' Oh...'

So the next day we went to collect the little beast. And what a beast it was:

VW Polo, FOX (in big red letters on the back)

Coupe (I use the term 'Coupe' loosely)

Faded blue paint work, big dent in the passenger door and rust.

So I took it out for a drive and everything seemed to work OK and £225 was handed over.

Now be under no illusion, this is no sports coupe (despite the coupe tag), the 1.0 engine is pitiful, joining the motorway took careful planning, thrashing the guts out of it and working the 4 speed box.

As for the handling, actually pretty good, horrific amounts of body roll but its skinny little tyres just seemed to grip and grip, in fact I think I went round some corners faster in this than I did in my car.

Brakes in one word, s**t!

Economy was rubbish too, not sure why seeing as it was a 1.0, maybe something wrong with the car, maybe is was the fact it had not been serviced in 5 years according to the service book!

Image, fine if you're a girl, but as a bloke you look silly driving this car. One day I'd stopped at some traffic lights and a girl of about 9 or 10 looked at me in the Polo beast, turned to her mother and said: 'Mum, look at that man in that rubbish car'! This wasn't helped but the big rust patch that had appeared on the bonnet from where I'd stripped off the paint with a pressure washer one day. The car also stunk, we couldn’t work out why for weeks and then I found a discarded milk shake cup under the seat, nice gone off milk smell wafting around the car in the height of summer!

Reliability was OK apart from the exhaust kept falling off and scrapping along the ground, not good on a dual carriageway. I finally fixed this problem with a wire coat hanger.

We finally scrapped the car once its MOT had run out.

Would I get another? YES, any car no matter what it is, is great if you’ve paid less than £500 for it, you simply don’t care about what happens to it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th May, 2009

1990 Volkswagen Polo Country 1.05 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission 1.05 petrol Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.4 / 10
Distance when acquired12224 miles
Most recent distance17006 miles

Summary:

No better first car on the market

Faults:

Leg room could be a little better.. but then again I am 6ft 3.

Apart from that the only thing to go wrong has been the carburettor mount split.. which isn't the cheapest thing to replace but easy.

Also the alternator pivot bolt keeps coming loose, easy to fix with a bit of thread lock..

General Comments:

Fantastic little car, cheap tax, cheap tyres and cheap day to day costs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st March, 2009

1990 Volkswagen Polo Coupe S 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 1.3 petrol Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired112000 miles
Most recent distance118000 miles

Summary:

Just great

Faults:

When I first got the car, I had a massive service carried out. The head gasket was on its way out, because there was a leak from it, which dripped oil onto the exhaust down pipe, causing it to smoke a lot when burning off this oil.

I changed the in-line fuel filter, HT leads, dizzy cap, air filter, oil change and oil filter change, spark plugs, and whilst I was at it, I got the fuel pump changed because it was on its way out as well. However most of these things are just general maintenance, and should have been done by the previous owner. Only a couple were actually faults with the car.

I had a carburettor problem, which caused the car to idle erratically, and also the revs would drop so much that it would stall. I took it to a good garage, and got them to strip and clean the carburettor, reset the choke and timing. This cured the problem for the handsome sum of £80, and she's never let me down since.

Weird electrical problem with the dials in the car; sometimes they would work, sometimes they wouldn't (the speedometer always worked as it wasn't electrical). I traced this back to a dodgy earth, and fiddling with it normally gets it going again. This is due to a ripped P.C.B on the back, so it's not the cars fault really, just a clumsy previous owner.

General Comments:

Other than that the car has never let me down. Even with the carburettor problems, she’s always got me to where I was going… eventually.

She has the best part or 118,000 miles on the clock, and has had 11 owners from new. This however isn’t apparent by the actually condition of her. The seats aren’t stained ripped or faded, and the rest of the interior is as good as new. So the German cloth has stood the test of time. The exterior it almost mint, no rust, just the drivers front wing has been dented and repaired badly. Apart from this, she’s in good condition.

There aren’t many luxuries, as it's a Coupe S. It has some sporting extras; a tachometer, digital clock, sports seats, 3 spoke sports steering wheel, red piping around the dash; this finishes the interior off a treat as it was a car designed in 1983, so it was good for its time.

The exterior also has some sporting finishes; black wheel arch trim, spoiler, twin headlight grill with red piping, 14 inch Hockenheim alloy wheels, and you also get slightly tinted glass. All these make it more in keeping with a mk1 Golf GTi rather than a Polo. Even though it hasn’t got much in the way of “modern gizmos”, it has bags of character and it's still comfortable.

The 1272cc engine is good and can propel the car along nicely. Its 5 speed short ratio gearbox is great, keeping up with most other cars to around 50 m.p.h. The handling isn’t bad. It always gets criticised for being too “boat like“. However you get so much feedback through the car that you would have to be an idiot to lose it. Apparently fitting good suspension transforms the cars handling, so that might be worth a go if you can't stand the original set-up.

The brakes aren’t amazing, and if I drive another car I almost go through the window screen a few times as I'm not used to the good brakes. They're OK though., I know a few Polo drivers, and we all have a motto “just in time every time”; it’s a bit hairy sometimes, but they do stop you.

All in all, a Polo Coupe S is a great first car. It’s the best pre 1990 1.3 around, and has so much more character than the others available. It's so robust as well; I know a few of my friends have been hit in them by other cars, where the other car has broken its headlights, smashed its grill etc, and all the Polo has lost are its number plate lights.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th February, 2005

Average review marks: 7.3 / 10, based on 13 reviews