We open the car reviews section with a little giant, a forgotten chapter in the history of VW. Like a cousin from the country you want to forget about because he is hardworking but slightly slow, the topic of today’s article is VW Polo 9n. The right car launched at the wrong time, but so necessary today.

In 2002, humanity was doing quite well. The Lord of the Rings is released, the first Spider-Man movie came along, Michael Jackson shows babies on the balcony, Avril Lavigne is just starting out and the first mobile phone camera is launched. And what about the car world? VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7 have just launched, after 2 years in which the BMW X5 began to show the world what it means to be a true fan of dubious russian techno. We are a few years ahead of the 2008 crisis, and everyone has money to throw on the window. Usually thrown out the window of a Porsche Cayenne.

And what did VW come up with in 2002?

Obviously, in an age that heralds the arrival of every soccer mom in a Porsche Cayenne or an X5, in an age where everyone is loaded with money, the most sensible thing to do is to you launch a car that is too small for those times, and at a premium price. In other words, a Supermini.

In fact, in 2002 the term Supermini didn’t even exist, everyone was interested in the classic sedans and the new SUVs, the small city cars being seen more as ladies’ cars, pottering around the city. Simple and cheap cars like the Opel Corsa C or the Ford Fiesta III, cars that did a great job in their niche. And here comes the 4th generation of Polo, Polo 9N, with a price far above the competition of that time. “Sir, the car has to be a car: 4 doors and a trunk, not toys. If the woman has 4 limbs and an ass, why would the car be different? ”

How did Polo 9n fare in terms of sales?

As well as a teenage couple dancing at an 8th grade prom. Polo 9n was swept away by Corsa C and Fiesta III, because those were for those who wanted a cheap ride for the city. Spending a lot of money on a small car was inconceivable in 2002. Thus, the VW Polo 9n dragged on miserably from 2001 to 2005, receiving a mild facelift in 2005 (Polo 9N3) and a retirement in 2009, handing over the “VW’s dullest car” baton to Polo, namely the 6R generation.

But the VW Polo has stood the test of time, being a car that has proven to be very reliable and tough. After all, this Polo comes from the era when VW was building cars like Nokia phones – with materials taken directly from the Channel Tunnel. Legendary cars such as the Golf IV, the Passat B5.5, the A4 B6 and so on, cars built to last. These cars that cemented the image of VW in the mind of the average west european in mid 2000s and track-suit eastern european in 2010s.

Sadly however, the problems with the VW Polo are starting to show up here. It was built as robust as a Golf IV, it was as practical as a Golf IV (it has even more interior space), it cost less than a Golf IV, so VW needed something to make it inferior to the Golf IV.

VW Polo 9n Engines


  • If you are going to drive mostly in the city, the pick of the bunch is the 80 horsepower 1.4 MPI engine. You still have the 1.2 12v 64 horsepower engine, but that one has the same physical strength as Norton Graham. Sure, there’s also an 1.6 MPI of 102 horsepower but that’s too expensive, too rare, and too fond of engine oil.
  • For those of you who have diesel-lubricated fantasies, then you have the 1.4 TDI engine and the 1.9 TDI engine, which is the 4-cylinder version of the first. By the same token, it’s not worth spending money on a 1.9 TDI, the 1.4 TDI being good enough and can reach some mind-boggling mpgs, right up to 70 mpg.

VW Polo 9n General Issues

  • Suspension bushings are made from a combination of toilet paper and cheese. If you want a proper front suspension, use quality aftermarket parts. If you are not interested in mechanics at all, you can sleep just as well because it’s not a serious issue.
  • The doorlocks are made to break a lot and often. Ideally if you want revenge on your wife and want to see her miserable in the parking lot trying to open the door. It’s not serious or expensive, but it can be frustrating. Especially for the wife.
  • The climate control may or may not work. Like any VW from the 2000-2005 era.


VW Polo 9n Verdict

A simple and robust car. A car built to potter around the city comfortably, without the fear that something will break down (iron, plastic or cheese). 16 years ago when it was launched, we didn’t need an indestructible supermini, but now we need more than ever a small, practical and extremely reliable car. Yes, and in terms of safety, it was one of the safest cars of its time.