We bought the car new, £9000(ish).
From new the instrument cluster lights would occasionally go out whilst driving, the engine still ran perfectly, exterior lights stayed on, after a short while there is a 'ping', and the lights come back on again. Reported to VW under warranty; they never solved the problem, my wife (who drives the car) became thoroughly bored of taking it back and forth to the dealer, and eventually gave up living with the problem.
The car was serviced regularly; oil changes, brakes etc.
At 45,000 miles (seven years old), performance was down, and there was a smell of fuel (petrol) from the exhaust. Checked compression; down on no 1 cylinder. Head removed; burnt valve; head rebuilt. Don't make mistake we made... timing chain and tensioner were NOT replaced. £800 bill for this.
At 47,000 miles, one of the ignition coils failed, replaced by the AA for £25.
At 48,000 miles, one of the engine mounts failed, (ie sheared off completely), resulting in serious engine judder, weird squeaking noises and the loose mounting bolt wearing a hole in the cooling system expansion tank, causing a loss of coolant and overheating.
At 50,000 miles, the timing chain slipped/jumped so that exhaust valve timing was out, engine would not start. New timing chain and tensioner required, valves and cylinder head were thankfully OK and not damaged, but this could have been avoided if the original repairer had replaced the timing chain tensioner when sorting out the burnt valve. £600 bill.
At 55,000 miles, the instrument cluster is dead, car won't start...
The car feels like a bigger car and drives very nicely; OK for motorway driving. The interior fittings and comfort for such a small car are very good.
The 1.2 litre 3 cylinder 12 valve engine is rubbish and renowned throughout the trade as troublesome. Valve burn out is common, timing chain tensioner fault is common. (VW sell a kit to fix the problem so they do know about it... they don't tell you that there is a problem when the car is under warranty! It is interesting that the 3 cylinder engine is no longer available.)
We owned a 1.4 Polo Mark IV before this one, it was superb. This one has not been so good. It never felt very good to be honest, the three cylinder engine revs too high and doesn't have much power, it always feels as if you are winding up an elastic band just to get it moving.
Although the car ran OK for seven years (apart from the intermittent dash board failure), since the valve burnt out it has been a nightmare.
We won't be buying another VW ever!!