Launched at almost the same time with the Volkswagen Golf Mark I, in 1974, the Audi 50 was one of the cars which originally defined the small hatchback car concept. What does this have to do with the Volkswagen Polo we tested, you might ask? Well, just a year after the launch of the petite Audi 50, Volkswagen introduced its very own rebadged version of the model, the VW Polo.
The two almost identical cars were both built on the Volkswagen production lines in Wolfsburg, with the VW version having a much broader range of engines and options available. After three years of building them side by side, the Polo won the overall sales contest and consequently the right to continue production, .
In about five generations, which spanned for over 34 years, Volkswagen's second ever front wheel drive model became one of the best sold in its class. Still, its second to last reiteration somehow managed to lose its best-in-class nickname and fall off the sales ladder. Of course, this made the Wolfsburg people jump out of their seats.
Volkswagen seems to be having a serious go at re-inventing itself these days, with models like the Passat CC, Scirocco and the Golf VI (OK, V and a half) working hard to move away from the slightly kitschy image almost all "I love chrome" Volkswagens have had in recent years. With a man like Walter De'Silva at their design department's helm, things could go only up, at least from the design point of view.
The 5th generation of the little Volkswagen Polo seems to have reworked pretty much all of its previous downsides, all with a cleaner design package and somewhat smaller prices than its predecessors. We took an orange/red model in 1.6 TDI-guise to the test to see how it stacks up against our expectations (which weren't very high, we might add). Our test car was equipped with the top-of-the-line Highline trim level, while the engine was the lowest-powered diesel engine currently on offer, with a "blistering" 75 horsepower on tap.