Cars that run on the smell of an oily rag are the rage, which partly explains diesel-powered models gaining ground locally.
Long popular in Europe, it’s no surprise that European makers dominate the diesel scene, with many of their models, including the VW Polo TDi, offering fuel-miserly ways with excellent driveability.
Released in November 2005, the TDi came in one specification and only as a five-door hatch, unlike its petrol siblings’ three or five-door hatch configurations. New, the little VW oiler attracted a premium price compared to the 1.4-litre petrol model, and the used market follows suit. Early TDi’s offered added standard safety with ABS brakes and EBD, features not found on the 1.4 petrol five-door until mid 2006.
Those wanting an auto gearbox are out of luck as the diesel is five-speed manual only. Standard kit includes climate control, dual front airbags, alarm, cruise control, CD, tilt and reach steering adjustment and front seatbelt pre-tensioners. Polo TDi scores a four-star ANCAP crash rating.
The 1.9-litre turbo-diesel engine is a gem, pulling well from around 1500rpm through to around 4000rpm, thanks to the generous 240Nm of torque (maximum) on offer. The engine’s tractable nature, plus light easy controls make the TDi a breeze to drive. Engine clatter is a little more apparent at lower speeds than in some modern diesels.
Front seats and cabin ergonomics are superior to many small car competitors. Polo TDi is far from disgraced when it comes to ride comfort and competent handling too, though harder cornering sees the nose push a little wide.
Fit and finish is good, while there’s little to question on the reliability front. Turbo diesels won’t appreciate scheduled servicing being neglected, so check service records carefully. Like some other VW models, even a healthy TDi may consume some engine oil between services, so keep a regular check on oil level. The correct specification oil for service or top-up is essential. Check brake pad condition and discs for excessive wear.
Under the pump
Polo TDi will use between 5.0 litres and 7.0 litres of fuel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.
What will it cost?
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to RACQ's online car price guide or contact our Motoring Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.