2002 Volkswagen Polo TDi PD Sport 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Great engine in a poor reliability car


Dashboard rattles all the time - dealers cannot provide a permanent fix.

Oil leak from cylinder head gasket from new - fixed under warranty.

Fuel low warning buzzer 'pinging' randomly - fixed under warranty.

Brake squeal from both front (fixed by dealer, but introduced similar squeal from front during the 1st annual service!)

Engine management problems - dealer blamed it on the brake light sensor (???!!!)

Condensation problems from new.

Cabin heating randomly blowing extremely hot air despite position of temperature control dial. Heater control unit replaced - no effect. Currently waiting for replacement parts for dealer to attempt 2nd fix.

CD stuck in dash mounted 6-CD changer.

General Comments:

Top of the range Polo (1.9 TDi PD Sport 3-door) :bottom of thr range for relaibility.

Both the girlfriend and I order this car from new, based on previous 'build quality' and overall good-standing of VW cars. What a disappointment to have so many problems with it since.

What is most annoying is that VW reduced the price of the Polo just 3 months after launching the car, and added the 6-CD changer as standard to our model (we bought it as an option). Result: poor reliability car, and annoyed owners!

Performance-wise it is another matter! This 1.9 TDi engine makes the Polo go like stink - I didn't think I'd have so much fun in a diesel. Handling is also pretty impressive.

It is also surprisingly frugal, returning 55+ miles to the gallon even when driven hard (be me) - topping 60+ mpg for a lighter-footed driver!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th May, 2003

22nd May 2003, 15:32

Regarding the brake light and engine management problems - I discovered an odd thing last night with my 2003 Polo: If you put the brakes on whilst accelerating quickly, this seems to result in the (electronic) throttle being cut back until the brake pedal was released. Perhaps there is a link between the braking circuit and the throttle?

2002 Volkswagen Polo SE 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland


Build quality does not match VW image


Interior is beset with rattles. Dash removed and re-fitted, but rattles remain.

The car vibrated severely at motorway speeds. Traced to unbalanced wheels and faulty suspension mounts.

The ECU has been replaced and loaded with new software. Instrument binnacle also replaced, but still get repeated ECU and engine warning lights.

Boot lining hanging down and boot light hanging by wires.

Car failed to start one very cold morning (ECU software flooded engine).

Stain on the rear seat when delivered and a cigarette burn on the carpet.

The paint is very soft (chips easily) and one side of the car has been resprayed because the paint "reacted" with the clear coat (lots of very small bubbles in paint).

When first collected, the bonnet was not on its hinges straight. The passenger door shut flush with the bodywork, but the driver's door sat proud.

General Comments:

I bought this car as my first VW, expecting to enjoy the supposedly legendary German build quality and reliability. However, my experiences have left me wondering if this is more a myth than a legend.

Overall, I love the appearance and road manners. It's great fun to drive and enjoys being pushed hard, with bags of grip, a nice exhaust note and acceptable performance for a 1.4. The interior design is excellent, with lots of nice "touches", such as neoprene linings to all the storage compartments to stop things rattling around and the chrome door pulls.

However, I am thinking of selling after eight months of trouble-filled motoring.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 27th April, 2003

24th Sep 2003, 17:24

I had been considering buying a Polo to replace my 3 year old Renault Megane (bit of a down-size, I know), but having read the reviews here of the new type Polo, including this review, it seems I'd be wiser not to bother.

Not one owner seems to have avoided a raft of problems, which I find astonishing given that my Megane, from the supposedly shoddy Renault marque (in comparison to VW that is - so the motoring press tell us!), hasn't given me the slightest hint of trouble in 3 years.