1998 Volkswagen Polo CL 1.6 from UK and Ireland


A bit overpriced, but it has been very reliable


Virtually nothing has gone wrong with this car.

1st and reverse gear selection difficult when new, but fixed under warranty - small adjustment to linkage.

Replaced front discs and pads plus 2 new tyres at 31,000 miles.

Dark blue metallic paint prone to showing scratches.

Rattles from stereo mounting.

General Comments:

Not particularly fast for a 1.6 but economy is 40+ mpg. Engine pulls well without being flogged.

OK even on motorway, but a bit noisy at speed. Seats comfortable for long journeys.

Handling not brilliant. Rolls a lot on corners. Tends to understeer too readily in the wet.

No real complaints. we get it serviced at a non-franchised VW specialist since the warranty expired because of excessive dealer costs.

Feels like it will go on forever.

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

Review Date: 20th November, 2002

1998 Volkswagen Polo CL 1.9 diesel from UK and Ireland


Over priced, over rated


Clutch failed after we'd driven 3,000 miles onto the 27,000 we bought the car with.

Steering misaligned at purchase, (wheels were changed from alloys to original V.W. at garage, but the geometry was not re done), hence tyres worn to metal at first M.O.T. - failed M.O.T., (motor operations test).

Faulty fuel filter fitted at 40,000 miles service caused breakdown.

Rusting in several places through manufacturing faults.

General Comments:

Nice to drive - steady and predictable.

Comfortable, spacious interior.

Build quality nowhere near as good as generally perceived.

Good fuel economy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th April, 2002

1998 Volkswagen Polo CL 1.9 diesel from UK and Ireland


A disappointment


Power steering fluid leak.

Brake discs warped.

Driver's electric window mechanism disintegrated!

Radio stopped working.

Trim squeaky and working loose.

Alarm / immobiliser failed.

General Comments:

After four extremely reliable VW's, this Polo is a big disappointment. It's never left me stranded, but has suffered lots of stupid faults which have not exactly reinforced VW's quality reputation. Irritating too when VW were charging £2,000 more for this car, than Peugeot were for the equivalent 106, or Ford were for an equivalent Fiesta.

After less than four years and 30,000 miles, the interior squeaks quite badly and some of the trim already looks old and fragile. My previous Golf ran well and reliably for 15 years and more than 150,000 miles, but the Polo does not inspire the same confidence.

It's reasonable to drive although the brakes are spongy and lack bite. Also, though this is a fairly hefty 1.9 litre engine in a very small car, performance is pretty poor. Economy is good though with 55 mpg in everyday use, and the car holds the road very well.

I find VW dealers to be arrogant, slow to fix faults and extremely expensive, and as soon as the warranty expired I decided to get the car serviced independently.

Probably my last VW!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th August, 2001

10th Feb 2003, 15:23

You should have got a Nissan Micra they are great.

17th Feb 2004, 14:24

I have the same problems with the Trim squeaking and the brakes being spongy with a 97 Polo Classic. Also I thought that the reaction to the Steering Wheel has got looser and therefore thought it might be leaking fluid also, but when I brought it to a VW dealer, he told me it was OK - still doubt it.

1998 Volkswagen Polo 16V 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland


Sporty, stylish and sophisticated


Electric window failure on driver's side.

Alarm failure due to low battery. There is no warning to say that the battery is low on factory fitted alarm systems.

General Comments:

Although this is described by the press as a "warm hatch", it offers fair economy whilst having ample power for all sorts of driving. On the motorway, the car is not shamed by its size. Rather the opposite, in fact, it feels larger than it is.

The car has adequate rear space but for longer excursions the boot cannot carry the luggage of four adults unless the rear seat is folded.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th July, 2001

20th Jul 2001, 07:01

Your statement about the luggage space for 4 adults, if you have to fold the seats down to get enough space for 4 adults kit, then you'll only get 2 adults in the car... therefore there is not a need to carry 4 adults in the first place, so on reflection the car is perfectly sized. Have some of that! DO NOT MESS WITH THE 16v.

25th Jan 2002, 10:29

Good one!!!

25th Jan 2006, 05:52

Car is a work horse, very reliable, great speed and handling, need I say more.

15th Apr 2009, 20:59

I'm curious, I've got a Polo and there is a loud enough sound from the engine, is that common in 1.4 98 Polos?? My mate has a Polo as well, except 1.1 and it makes a loud enough sound as well... just wondering if you can get rid of it or if it's damaging??