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Volkswagen Polo GTi: month four
Model: Volkswagen Polo GTI
On fleet since: June 2011
Total mileage: 10,300
Official combined mpg/CO2: 47.9 / 139
Actual mpg: 38.6
Costs: £16.99 (oil)
Pros: performance, soundtrack, improved fuel economy
Cons: high oil consumption, tyre warning light
Where have I been?
I'm just back from a spirited drive through the Cotswolds to Cheltenham for the Audi A6 Avant launch, a pleasant mix of A and B roads and not a monotonous motorway in sight. It was also a great opportunity to let the Polo's engine breathe after its regular schedule of trips into London and short local hops at home.
Four months on and I'm still amazed by how quick this car is. Passengers are astounded when they learn that the engine is only a 1.4-litre, albeit with a supercharger AND a turbo. Over a nice stretch of Cotswold tarmac the GTi really lived up to its name, demolishing the straights with surprising ease. The previous fast Polo certainly didn't deserve its GTi badge - this one is different.
What do I like?
It's the most relaxing long-termer I've had for the commute into and out of London thanks to the seven-speed DSG gearbox. Just leave it in Drive and I can sit back and relax as I creep through the traffic.
I'm making great use of the in-build iPod connection, too, with the stereo giving you full control over the music. My economy is averaging around 35mpg but on a recent stop-start journey this plummeted to 16mpg. A small fuel tank means I'm stopping on average two times a week to replenish it with unleaded.
What don't I like?
Sadly, it isn't just unleaded that the Polo likes a drink of. Over the past 700 miles it's gone through a litre of oil, and today the light popped up again to remind me of its prodigious thirst. The tyre warning light, which detects an underflated tyre, has also come on again, so I'll be stopping at a garage tonight to sort this out. Hopefully it isn't a slow puncture.
As for my drive in the Cotswolds, as fast as it is, I couldn't gel with the GTi over the bumpy, heavily cambered roads; the ride was overly fidgety, the steering wasn't sharp enough to be accurate through bends, and under full throttle the front wheels would slither around. It made for a very scrappy and frenzied journey.
What's next for the Polo GTi?
Steve Walker and I will be swapping long-termers for a week once he's returned from his jollies in France to get a different view and perspective on our cars. I'm looking forward to trying his Peugeot RC-Z but, with only 156hp, I think I'll miss the straight-line punch of the Polo.
Volkswagen Polo GTi: arrival
Volkswagen Polo GTi: month two
Volkswagen Polo GTi: month three
Volkswagen Polo GTi: month four (this one)
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