Saturday 14 September 2013
The Volkswagen Polo is a supermini car (subcompact, B-segment in Europe) manufactured by Volkswagen. It is sold in Europe and other markets worldwide in hatchback, saloon, coupé and estate variants.
The Polo Mark II (or Typ 86C) was introduced in October 1981, with the major change being the introduction of a third body style with a steep (almost vertical) rear window, in addition to a version resembling the original Mark I shape with a diagonal rear window. These two body styles were called the Wagon (in some markets) and Coupé respectively, although in fact both were three-door hatchbacks, and in some markets the Wagon designation was not used, with that car being simply the "Volkswagen Polo" without a suffix. The sedan version was now called the Polo Classic, and the Derby name became extinct. Production was expanded to Spain in the mid-1980s following Volkswagen's takeover of SEAT. By 1983, the millionth Polo was produced. The second million were produced by 1986.
The model now competed in the supermini sector with the likes of the Austin Metro, Ford Fiesta and Citroën Visa and it was one of the largest models in its class. Due to Volkswagen's sub-premium marketing positioning, however, its pricing was closer to competitor models in the class above, such as the Ford Escort and Vauxhall Astra/Opel Kadett.
The Mark II Polo was used extensively by Volkswagen to develop future innovations, for example supercharging with a 40 mm G-Lader supercharger in the GT G40 version. A 60 mm G-Lader would later be used on the larger and more technically challenging G60 engine used in the Golf and Corrado.
A fuel efficient two-cylinder diesel was prototyped in the mid 1980s with a G40 supercharger to overcome its small capacity, although this did not make it to production. A high fuel efficiency model which did make production was the petrol-engined Formel E (E for Economy), introduced at the launch in 1981 with a 1.1 litre engine and from 1983 with a 1.3 litre engine, overdrive top-gear ratio and an early stop-start ignition system (called "SSA") which would cut the engine when idle for more than two seconds to save fuel whilst temporarily stopped in traffic, and restart the engine on moving the gear lever to the left in neutral.
Similar systems were later used on the Volkswagen Golf Mk3 and various systems from other car manufacturers.
It was a popular import in the UK, competing with the likes of the Peugeot 205, Fiat Uno and Nissan Micra. Its reliability and build quality were among the best to be found on a small car of this era, and it was notably bigger than most of its competitors.
- engine: 4 cylinders
- capacity: 1043 cc
- horsepower: 50 HP
- gearbox: 4+1
- top speed: 145 km/h