A good long-term buy with respectable performance
EPC warnings every now and again, never been solved by the dealer (seems to be related to the brakes).
As my first 'proper' car I am pretty pleased with the Polo GTI. I went for the Polo over the Golf or Lupo GTI for a variety of reasons. I felt the Lupo to be a little too small and not as good looking (although the twin central exhaust is very nice on the Lupo). The Golf at insurance group 14 meant premiums of £1500 (early 20's with no no-claims bonus). The Polo GTI at group 12 is much more affordable; recently renewed my premium and at 22 years old with 1 years no claims got it for under £700.
The Polo GTI is still rare on the roads today and should hold its' second hand value fairly well.
I have done over 11,000 in the first year of ownership and after the first service the performance has increased notably. Rumours that all VW GTI engines get an electronic de-restriction after their first year seem to be confirmed.
The handling is not brilliant, but it will do anything you ask of it. As in one review I read (paraphrased), you 'drive' the Polo GTI, but you don't 'bond' with it. The harsh ride can sometimes be a bit of a bore on bumpy back roads.
Other reviews compare the Polo GTI unfavourably with most of its' competitors. Although not as fast as the Saxo VTS, it is streets ahead in specification and refinement. The Clio 172 was a good choice until the recent restyling effort by Renault that have made it rather ugly.
To sum up, the Polo GTI is a good long-term buy that will beat 90% of other cars away from the traffic lights, looks good and gets noticed.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 14th September, 2001