Buying a used Volkswagen Polo

The Polo is a good hatchback to buy in the used car market but do your checks well as it's not a completely hassle-free car

Buying a used Volkswagen Polo

In Brief

Volkswagen waltzed into India in 2007 but only really took the market seriously with their first major offering for India – the Polo, in 2009. With that, a 200,000 units/annum factory was set up but the company is yet to realize even half its manufacturing potential. When it comes to the Polo, it took off well as a lot of hype was created around the brand, but soon enough, the popularity of the Polo reduced. The Polo is expensive to buy as a new car and doesn’t offer equivalent bang for buck. It is well built though, rides well and is a good handler, comes in a wide variety of variants and has an attractive design.

On the road

Of the several variants a Polo comes in, that includes a petrol and diesel GT variant and a Cross Polo, the stock variants are the ones that are available in the pre-owned car market. The rest are relatively new offerings and were sold few and far between. The petrol and diesel mills on offer were 3-cylinder 1.2-litre engines with about 75PS power. Neither engine did justice to the fantastic chassis the Polo possesses. A new 1.5-litre diesel engine was introduced with the facelift a few months ago and finally gives the Polo the right amount of power. In the pre-owned car segment though, you will have to make to with the underpowered engines. What works for the Polo though is the good ride and handling balance and stability at high speeds. 

Moving in

For the price Volkswagen charged for a new Polo, you just didn’t get enough kit in comparison to the competition like the i20. Space on the inside, especially at the rear is a bit less. It has good amounts of boot space at 280 litres and with the rear seat folding almost flat, a lot of space is liberated. But the quality of materials and fit and finish is rather impressive for a car of this class. What affected Volkswagen were low levels of localization. This made it pricing the Polo competitively very tough. 


The Polo wasn’t as efficient as other cars in its segment, mainly due to a higher kerb weight. The petrol returns an ARAI certified figure of 17.2kmpl and the diesel clocks 22.07kmpl. These figures though are under ideal test conditions and real world efficiency should be in the range of 13kmpl for the petrol and about 17-18kmpl for the diesel.

Buying used

Being a good driver’s car, besides the engines of course, most Polo owners drive it with a bit less restraint than most other hatchbacks and that results in higher wear and tear of parts like tyres, suspension and brakes. So first thing you do while inspecting a Polo is check for tyre wear, brake feel and stopping power and lastly any noises from the suspension. Expect a wear distance of about 30,000km for the brake pads and suspension linkage. Tyre wear is easy to spot with the help of a coin test. The depth of the grooves should be more than 5mm and uniform for all tyres. The diesel Polo is prone to sump damage as it is low set. The longish front end bottoms out when the suspension compresses over large potholes at medium to high speeds so check for sump damage. Hard wearing interior is a boon for a pre-owned car so that’s one aspect you will not be disappointed with.

Money Wise

The Polo petrol will cost about Rs 3 lakh for a 2009 model. Add in the range of Rs 25,000 for a example that’s a year younger. The diesel Polo will cost you around Rs 3.7 lakh for a good example. Add Rs 30-35,000 more for a 2010 model and so on. These prices are for a top end Highline variant. As you go a variant lower, shave off another Rs 30,000 for a Comfortline and Rs 60-70,000 for a Trendline Polo.


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