Sorry, but mine IS a real UK spec Ranger with the standard 1272cc 55hp engine. In the UK the Ranger was nothing more than a Polo CL with a few extras like alloys, roof bars and better trim - there were no mechanical changes at all.
Continental MK2 Polos were always better - most had servo brakes, plus more powerful engines (up to 75hp) and a 1398cc 48hp diesel. Sadly none of these came to the UK.
Nothing broke on the move, the parts were just worn out and replaced at service/MOT time.
If you plan keeping your Polo for a while, I would strongly recommend you replace the Pierburg carb with a manual choke Weber or Solex.
Keep an eye on the underneath structure as well - these cars can rust quite badly if allowed. Jetwash the rear arches regularly and get some waxoyl in there. Around the fuel filler is a notorious mud trap.
I have had similar problems with my 1990 1.3 polo ranger: When I got it, I found that the bodywork under the battery had rusted through so when it rained, it leaked into the foot-well. I had a hard time getting the battery out to repair it too, the clamp was rusted solid. My rear wiper did not work either, the motor looked like it had caught fire, it only cost £10 to replace so it was not a great loss. Otherwise, the car was fine. I never had any mechanical problems and performance is quite good, but its very noisy on the motorway above 70mph. The car suffers heavily from rust around the bonnet and sills and its had a new fuel tank put on it in recent years, (a common problem apparently - check yours)
I had a 1.3 CL (1988) for years (UK very close to the Ranger). Even though this comment page hasn't been added to for 2 years I will add my experience!!
Leaked in drivers foot well from nearly new. VW squirted wax underneath the battery to cure the problem. It made the car smell 'new' again, but it soon leaked. I changed the front discs at least 5 times during ownership because of reoccurring shudder. The car had covered 175,000 miles when I gave it away so... CV joints, Reconditioned head, alternator, fuel tank, rear wiper motor, radiator, several water pumps. The automatic choke on the original carb never seemed to function correctly - even with new vacuum unit. During the last months of ownership the idle was rough (like on 3.5 cylinders). I didn't want to spend more money on it. It is now owned (with 200,000 miles) by an 18 year old lad, who is getting good use from it. A solid car that will go on until driven in to the ground. Just bin the original car for a manual choke Webber.
Mk2 polos are awesome, they just don't die! I've had four now just as cheap bangers to abuse back and forth to work. What do you expect for a couple of hundred quid??
I own two VW Polos. I own a 1987 D reg Polo Ranger and F reg Polo saloon, and I love the both of them as they have both done me proud.
The only downfall I have with both is they are suffering with carb freeze, but apart from that, they are like a Duracell Bunny. Keep going and going, and as long as I can get parts for them, I will always own the pair of them.