- We like...It's green; low CO2, 74mpg
- We don't...Expensive, high-geared
Small Volkswagen is one of the greenest cars around. It's expensive, but goodIf we’re ever to get serious about curbing pollution, ought we to spend more but settle for less? It’s a question VW asks with its newest Polo. This tweaked 1.4 diesel is the make’s greenest car, pushing out just 99g/km CO2. That’s clean enough to cut the road tax to zero and to skip congestion charges in central London. It’ll also travel up to 74mpg.
Volkswagen has managed this by stacking the gears so that its top three are extra tall. The motor’s only just humming at 70mph in fifth while, at town speeds, you’ll rely on first or second. VW’s also added a go-slippery body kit to cut air resistance, while special easy-rolling tyres complete the picture.
But all that cleverness comes at a price. The cheapest Bluemotion costs a fiver short of £12k, a whack of a lot for a three-door supermini. And, should you fancy remote locking or air conditioning, you must find an extra £800 for the Bluemotion 2.
Then again, a bog standard three-door Polo leaves change from £9k. Its 1.2 petrol engine may chuck out more muck per mile but it isn’t that bad at 144g/km. And it’ll return up to 59mpg.
So, for the Bluemotion to work out cheaper, you’ll have to drive plenty of miles in it. Which defeats the point of an eco-car… dsn’t it? And while it’s as solidly made and smooth riding as any Polo, it’s no great shakes to drive. That 1.4 80bhp diesel runs quiet and even until you push it, and lugs hard from low speeds. But the yawning gap between the gears shows badly above 30mph, protesting if you get it wrong.
And while that C02 figure is good, it’s there by the skin-o’-the-teeth. Adding air-con, or even an optional spare wheel and tyre ups the car’s weight enough to nudge its rating to 104g/km – putting it into the next higher road tax/emissions band – see what we mean?
It’s intriguing, and a step in the right direction. But like many other 'green' products, it asks you to pay extra to help save the planet.
- Engines1.4 HDi
- 0-60 mph12.8sec
- Economy74.3mpg (B
- CO2g/km99 (Bluemotion 1)
- Insurance groups5
Motors.co.uk value verdict: