1996 Volkswagen Polo CL diesel from UK and Ireland


Great economical car with style


The car started to get very noisy with quite bad vibrations, and was a very bad started. We replaced the glow plugs, fuel filter and oil filter amongst other things, but nothing solved the problem.

It is still like this unfortunately... possibly worn engine mounts?

General Comments:

The polo is probably the best car I have owned.

It is a good looking car, which hasn't dated at all in my opinion.

The interior is comfortable, cosy and modern, with rear head-rests.

It is incredibly economical, doing over 50mpg.

It's quite slow, but nippy enough around town and at higher speeds ie on the motorway. The acceleration is poor which is the downside to these cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th February, 2006

1996 Volkswagen Polo GLX 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Reliable, fun, but noisy


The car rattles a lot and there is a loud vibration at certain revs. It is fairly annoying, manifesting itself through the gearbox into the car. After taking the exhaust off the car the vibration disappears, but can't drive without an exhaust! This is the only niggle I've had.

General Comments:

My previous car was a Honda Prelude 2.2VTEC, which was amazing. But when running the car became too expensive, I decided to opt for a cheaper, smaller economy car. My first car was a VW Golf, so, after looking at around 20 or so Honda Civics and finding them all to have been badly neglected, the Polo seemed a good second choice.

The car gets around 33-35mpg day to day which really isn't all that impressive for a little car. The upside to this however is the car is very cheap to maintain, so long as you avoid main dealers.

Apart from having rattles and the engine being quite noisy, the car is actually pretty good, for what it is. It handles the job of being a reliable and sturdy run-a-round very well. It starts first time even on very cold mornings, and warms up quickly.

The gearbox has a very short ratio, but once up to higher gears, bags of torque from the 8 valve engine mean you don't really need to change gears at all! A lot of people mention the bodyroll, but this only occurs at back-off speeds. If you actually drive it slightly harder than you think you can, the handling sorts itself out. Very strange sensation, but quite safe.

The GLX is very comfortable and well kitted out. The seats are Recaro style, with height as well as back adjustments. You also get electric windows and mirrors which is a nice bonus. The only thing wrong about the driving position is the pedals. They are a little too close together, with obtrusive panels either side. This means the accelerator is sometimes hard to get, and there is nowhere to put your left foot after you lifted off the clutch. Very annoying!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th November, 2004

30th Apr 2007, 06:44

Very good review: I have a 1996 1.6 GL and found your comments spot-on, although I found it strange that you mentioned not having anywhere to rest your foot after releasing the clutch -my car has a raised rest for the left foot which I find a real relief (for my poor foot!) afer having driven many cars with no such rest -it's a small thing, but makes all the difference on long journeys. Anyway, an excellant and reliable little runabout with a really gutsy little 8-valve that punches above it's weight.

1996 Volkswagen Polo CLD 1.9 diesel from UK and Ireland


Nice cars to drive if a little slow, until they go wrong


Immobilizer reader coil failed at about 61,000 miles - cost £160 to replace at a Volkswagen dealer.

Front top suspension mounts replaced at 80,000 miles.

Clutch and Flywheel replaced at 90,000 miles. Special "dual-mass flywheel" is supposed to be replaced along with the clutch. Total cost of clutch and flywheel was an insanely expensive £500 + VAT.

Wear on gearbox first motion shaft caused another clutch failure at 110,000 miles.

Rear wheel bearings seem to need replacing at every MOT test! Front wheel bearings not fairing much better.

General Comments:

This car is dog slow in anything above 2nd gear.

Eats front brake disks and pads for breakfast.

Excellent, reliable engine - 122,000 miles and still going strong without smoking at all. This is only let down by suspect build quality of the rest of the car.

Stupid insurance costs (group 6) for a car that does 0-60 in however long it takes you to find a steep hill to go down... with the wind behind you... (just kidding, it's probably something like 16 seconds).

They still look fairly cool even after 7 years and 2 newer shapes.

High residual values. Make no mistake about it, these cars are overvalued.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th August, 2003

2nd Apr 2006, 18:00

I have owned a 1995 1.9 cld now for just over a year and have found it to be a most practical and enjoyable to drive in all road conditions, I admit the price of parts can be a little higher than other vw's I've owned in the past, but this is duly repaid in the mpg return and ease of working on the vehicle. I have enjoyed the last year and am looking forward to restoring it to its former glory thanks to some cheap workmanship carried out on it in the past.

17th Jun 2008, 14:44

I have owned a 1996 Polo diesel for 6 years. Over that time there has not been anything major gone wrong, it has had usual maintenance - new battery, new glow plugs, brake shoes etc. but nothing which couldn`t be expected. The car is just coming up to 100k and I reckon there is a bit more life in it yet, it`s still running along pretty well. The car suits me, in fact I like the Polo and have just bought a newer model, and my son is taking the old one. On the motorway the 1.9 engine shifts along well enough, I would not say it is that slow.