2001 Volkswagen Polo 6N 1.4 16v MPI from Australia and New Zealand
I should have bought the yellow one, at least the colour would match the lemon it is
Electric window switches stopped working (both sides).
Electric window motors stopped working (both sides).
Central locking could be sentient, works when it wants to.
Thermo fan burnt out.
Brake light clusters continually burn globes, regardless of the style tried.
Airbag sensor failed (warning light on).
Ignition key RFid anti-theft total failure (central unit).
Service due warning continually on (despite being reset by genuine and non-genuine OBD2).
Clutch exploded (under normal driving use and conditions).
Hole in gearbox (even the mechanic couldn't explain this one).
Air conditioner refused to retain gas (despite full pressure leak test and O rings replaced).
Glove box hinges snapped.
Roof lining dropped.
Paint job faded and clear coat seemed to evaporate (the car has been stored under cover).
OK, I will start this off by stating quite clearly... I believe MY particular Polo was one of the biggest lemons on the tree, and this is probably not indicative of the typical build quality of this car overall, and when the car wasn't being repaired or falling apart, it was a very solid, economic and pleasant car to drive.
Having said that, my experience as a Polo owner was nothing short of automotive hell.
The cost and availability of spare parts is comedic, Usually the parts will cost a fortune and are never in stock, needing to come from interstate or even worse GERMANY... yes, at one point I had to wait for a part to be air freighted (at my expense) from Europe.
Even when a generic brand part is available, it's the same story for price and availability (I've worked in the automotive spare parts industry for about 5 years and have never seen the likes).
Hands down my worst experience was when I made the mistake of taking the car to a nationally recognised VW dealer when it had developed a horrible stutter on acceleration, one thing after another they replaced in some vague attempt to look like they knew what they were doing. It wasn't until over 3 weeks of this circus of new plugs, leads, ignition modules, crank sensors and ECU flashes had gone on, when their final stab in the dark was to replace the entire ECU...
I told them I'd think about it and went home nearly $6000 poorer and still without a fully functioning car. Their blasé attitude and indifference to the fact they still not only hadn't fixed my car, but they couldn't even tell me what was wrong it, left me dumbfounded and bitterly dissatisfied.
The worst part of it all was I had bought a bunch of filters and fluids a week before with intention of doing a minor service, but never got around to it when this drama started; that weekend I did the service and the very last thing I did was the fuel filter... pull it off and hear a rattle? Give it a shake "RATTLE"... so I tried blowing through the intake and sure enough there was major resistance, put the new filter in and took the car out for a spin... no stutter.
Well the curse of the Polo is finally over now; just last week it developed an oil leak so I took it to a NON genuine Euro specialist, they took the gearbox out thinking it was the rear main seal, but as soon as they dropped the box down, they were staring at a 50c (about an inch) size hole punched through from the inside; a quote for a reconditioned box fitted was about $2500... goodnight sweet prince, ain't nobody got time for that.
My final thoughts are, sure you *might* get a good one, you might not, are they all bad? Probably not, would I recommend buying a VW? Not unless it's made pre 1978, and if you absolutely MUST have one; definitely buy later than about 2005.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 7th April, 2017