Alfa Romeo
Land Rover
Volkswagen Polo Tdi
Clever diesel a saving grace
April 2006

FINALLY a car that takes you back to the days when buying fuel didn`t break the bank.

This was when all you needed to stay on the road until payday was a

handful of coins from the ash-tray or found under the front passenger seat

next to a crumpled Passiona soft drink can, Sunnyboys cassette and street

directory that you never used.

Fast forward to an alarming era when big notes, discount vouchers and

endless queues at the least-expensive servos make trips to the bowser an absolute nightmare.

Enter a compact hatch that is guaranteed to find plenty of admirers as

fuel prices continue to surge.

It is the turbo-diesel version of Volkswagen's classy compact, the Polo.

At $22,990, the Polo TDi is the cheapest diesel-powered passenger car on

the Australian market.

Now diesel does cost more than petrol, but the mileage is better _ about 30% as a rule of thumb.

Driven sensibly, the Polo TDi sips just over five litres of diesel for every 100km covered, giving it a massive tank-range of up to 900km.

This is a figure that challenges even modern petrol-electric hybrid cars and is testament to the remarkable advances made in diesel technology.

Volkswagen has been among the brands changing peoples perceptions of oil-burning cars, once frowned on for being smoky and smelly.

And these days, theres no compromise on performance.

The Polo TDi zips around town with the same enthusiasm as any of its petrol rivals and simply purrs on the open highway.

Its 1.9-litre turbo diesel engine delivers 74kW of power at 4000rpm and, more importantly, 240Nm of torque from a low 1800 revs.

The unit is mated to a slick 5-speed manual transmission, but some buyers will be lamenting that theres no automatic offered.

The diesel variant is part of an impressive range of Polos, which come in two equipment levels, 3-door Club or 5-door Match or TDi.

There are two fuel-injected petrol engines, both 1.4 litre units.

The new generation Polos have received a fresh and dynamic

re-design, reflecting a more modern look.

The changes are aimed at younger buyers, who want a sportier exterior.

The re-designed front end makes the Polo 3,916mm, longer by 19mm over the previous model, while width (1,650mm) and height (1,456mm) remain the same.

The popular compact hatch remains comfortable and practical with a clever use of space, clever controls and a well-organised dashboard.

Theres plenty of space up front and while three in the back would be a squeeze, two rear passengers wont be complaining.

Candy White or Flash Red are offered as standard paint choices, while Pearl

Effect Black Magic or Metallic Reflex Silver or Tosca Blue are optional.

Interior standard inclusions read like an options list, with semi-automatic climate control air conditioning, power steering, central locking, engine immobiliser, driver and front passenger airbags, 3-point seat belts for all passengers, and tinted glass.

Halogen headlights can be angle adjusted and the exterior mirrors are also electrically adjustable and heated.

Storage compartments are plentiful, with a new integrated lower dashboard shelf offering the driver a convenient place to stow odds and ends.

Audio entertainment is catered for with an AM/FM, single CD player and 4-speaker stereo.

The TDI package also includes Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) with

Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD.

Backed by its low price, stunning economy, excellent performance and long list of features, the diesel-powered Polo has emerged a saving grace for Australian motorists.

All you need is $22,990 and a handful of change for the fuel.



ENGINE: 1.9-litre 4-cylinder turbo-diesel

POWER: 74kW at 4000rpm

TORQUE: 240Nm at between 1800-2400rpm

TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual

0-100km/h: 10.7 seconds


FUEL CONSUMPTION: 5 litres/100km average

PROS: Fuel economy, excellent performance, price

CONS: Interior a little dull, no auto available

BOTTOM LINE: $22,990