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First drive: Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion – on sale now

Volkswagen

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Review

Volkswagen has taken a slightly different route to other carmakers in its quest to reduce environmental impact.

There’s no doubting the Polo Bluemotion is environmentally sound, capable of 74.3mpg and emitting just 99g/km while it does so. But what’s unusual is this greener Polo is still largely the same as the 1.4 TDI on which it is based, subjected to some attention from Volkswagen’s engineers to make it a greener machine.

Under the bonnet the three cylinder, largely unchanged 78bhp engine is mated to a longer ratio gearbox to keep the revs down.This has been accompanied by subtle exterior revisions to reduce drag, lightweight alloy wheels wrapped in hard compound tyres and weight saving, including removing the spare wheel.

There’s minimal impact on the driving experience and, despite some extra engine noise, it feels like any other Polo to drive.

It’s not fast, but there’s enough oomph for overtaking and the all-important (on paper, anyway) 0-62mph sprint time is unaffected.

But the changes do make a difference to costs; it’s capable of more than 60mpg under ‘normal’ driving, and the entry level Bluemotion 1 is road tax and congestion charge exempt. But, the better specced including aircon Bluemotion 2’s extra weight makes it liable for both.

The Bluemotion has already attracted high demand with the initial UK allocation of 900 sold.

Price: £11,995 - £13,445
Engine: 1.4 TDI, 78bhp, 144lbs/ft Performance 0-62 12.8s, top speed 109mph
Transmission: Five speed manual
Efficiency: Bluemotion 1 74.3mpg, 99g/km CO2; Bluemotion 2 70.6mpg, 104g/km
CAP RV 3yr/30k: 39-40%
Rivals: Seat Ibiza Ecomotive, Peugeot 207 Blue Lion
Strengths: Environmentally friendly, cheap to run
Weaknesses: No automatic, price premium

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