1998 Volkswagen Polo CL 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


A troublesome, overrated car


Heavy rust on all nuts and bolts, difficult to perform maintenance.

Power steering pump noisy and steering heavy.

Uses a lot of oil, from top of dipstick to bottom in 200 miles, no signs of leaks...

Stupid ignition key design makes you turn the wipers on whenever you turn the key (too close to one another).

Factory paintwork poor, runs and drips everywhere.

Electrical connections rust, causing malfunctioning lights etc..

General Comments:

An ugly cabin, black and dull, quality of materials reminds me of an old Lada Riva I had, creaky and cheap looking.

Performance good, but feels badly engineered, lack of smoothness and jerky throttle.

Feels solid and clunky, but not good quality (there is a difference!) factory radio crap and rear speakers placed in an absurd position, causing terrible sound quality.

Overall, a decent enough car, but not anywhere near as good as VW's reputation would imply!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 19th October, 2009

1998 Volkswagen Polo CL 1.9 diesel from UK and Ireland


Crap, crap and utter crap


Fuel pump, really bad at starting, jerky acceleration, noisy, overheats, engine warning light is on all the time.

Oil light comes on although it is full of oil, and there is no evidence of a leak - smoky and generally crap. I want my old Polo back!

General Comments:

Well, where to start with this white elephant of a car? I had previously owned a N reg Polo 1.4 CL, which was a great little car and never gave me a single problem in 2 years of hard use. Unfortunately I had to sell this when I ran out of money at university, but when the time came and I decided I wanted another car, I immediately knew I wanted another Polo after my good experiences with the first one.

I spotted this one for sale, a 1998 model, 55k from new, full service history and one owner. £1000 seemed like a great deal. The first 1000 miles were perfect, ran like a dream with great fuel economy and reliability, and nice performance from the 1.9 engine.

However in the past 2 weeks / 1000 miles everything has started to go wrong. The car has become very bad at starting, taking up to 6 attempts and covering all passers by in a large cloud of black smoke when it finally decides to. Also my oil and engine warning lights are constantly on, despite the fact that the car is full of oil. Eventually the car began to run really badly, with poor acceleration and jerkiness, and the engine started to sound more like an old Transit van.

I went straight to the garage and was told that my fuel pump has failed and my injectors have seized. So I'm now angry, skint and left with a worthless white elephant that I can't afford to fix. Other reviews indicate other people have had bad experiences with the 1.9 diesel engine, and I would personally recommend anyone thinking of a Polo to avoid this model like the plague, and buy the 1.4CL instead, it's streets ahead.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 26th May, 2009

26th May 2009, 12:46

I am constantly amazed at how tatty and rusty the 95-98 Polos are when they were supposed to be a high quality product-only the Ford Ka rivals it for body rust and they were a lot cheaper new.

For example, compare the Polo to the same age and mileage Punto, 106, Clio and even the Skoda Felicia-all have better corrosion protection than the over-rated Polo.

In my experience, Polos are usually bought by people who know very little about cars and are trying to buy a "safe bet" after advice from "a friend who know about cars".

It comes to something when a Skoda Felicia outlasts its premium brother and gives better service over a longer period for a much cheaper price. This may be why they get so well rated on ownership satisfaction compared to VW.

If you want a cheap old hatchback, there are far better cars out there for the money than the Polo-which still sell, mistakenly, on the name.

2nd Oct 2009, 03:37

I agree, I bought a Polo last year and was amazed at how crummy it was. I have owned many many cars in the past, but never a VW, so decided to go for a Polo.

First impressions were how creaky, dull and cheap the interior was, a ridiculous design fault on the ignition key makes you turn the wipers on every time you turn the key!! They are far too close together (even Lada wouldn't let this fault go into production!!).

Generally the car feels substandard, the throttle feels jumpy in its action and the engine sounds rough, the factory fitted radio is a joke and there are paint flaws everywhere.

I should have known better to buy German though, my previous car, a BMW 7 series, was nothing short of disastrous!!