2002 Volkswagen Polo 1.6 from United Arab Emirates


Think twice before you decide to own one


The car developed a strange sound while driving, and no matter how many times I took it for service, it could not be rectified.

The mother of it all; it started stalling on the highway for no apparent reason.

General Comments:

The car is uncomfortable, unreliable, and a very unwise use of my money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th May, 2012

2002 Volkswagen Polo SE 1.2 (12 valve) from UK and Ireland


A disappointing car, nowhere near as good as the previous model


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...

General Comments:

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!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th August, 2011

2002 Volkswagen Polo SE 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland


Buy very carefully, would buy another


Throttle did not work with EPC and engine management light. 25k miles, after repeat events, solved by cleaning all the gum off the back of the throttle body butterfly valve and resetting using vag com. Now do it every year.

Heating sometimes runs to full hot. Not fixed. Since 30k miles.

Air con does not work. Not fixed. Since 35k miles.

Flashing check engine light and running rough. Ignition coil at fault. 40k miles.

Check engine light due to O2 sensor fault. 45k miles, not fixed.

Alternator failed. 58k miles.

ABS fault light. Fuse on battery cracked. 58k miles.

Inside of tyres wearing fast and poor steering due to worn front wishbone bushes. 61k miles.

Failed ARB roll bar drop link. 63k miles.

General Comments:

Quite sporty when thrashed, and handles well.

49 miles per gallon possible if driven with care.

Comfortable and a nice place to be.

Has been quite robust, despite my best efforts to break it.

Cheap to run, even when it goes wrong, so far.

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

Review Date: 9th August, 2010