12 February 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Our cars: 2013 Polo R-Line – report two

A year into ownership, John Redfern looks back over 8000 miles and 12 months with his Polo R-Line TSI. Is it everything he hoped for?

2013 Volkswagen Polo R-line: John Redfern

The past 12 months have seemed somewhat of a blur, and it’s hard to believe that I’m already a full year into ownership of my Polo R-Line. With 2013 proving to be quite tumultuous and challenging in many ways, the R-Line was at least an icon of dependability throughout.

Travelling to Devon for a weekend break chucked the R-Line in at the deep end, having to contend with an 800-mile motorway round trip. Despite its relatively, small stature the Polo coped extremely well and was happy mixing it with the big boys in the outside lane. Comfort from the sport seats meant no aching backs at the end, and the DAB radio kept us entertained.

A trip to Rockingham race circuit in August for the Guild of Motoring Writers’ ‘Big Day Out’ gave the chance for the R-Line to meet up with Rich Gooding’s 6N2 GTI and Alex Grant’s rather special G40. It was also an opportunity to investigate just how deserving of the ‘R’ badge the Polo actually is.

Despite being one of the lowest powered cars there, the R-Line didn’t feel completely out of its depth on track despite a fair degree of body roll! In fact, the morning session with its damp, slippery track even allowed the R-Line to hustle BMW M3s, although this all changed once the tarmac dried out!

Performance from the 105PS (104bhp) 1.2-litre TSI unit continues to prove just about sufficient to satisfy my inner petrolhead, but there are times where I really do wish for an extra 25-20bhp and accompanying torque boost.

While generally fine with just me on board, extra passengers or luggage do make a dent in acceleration that is slightly too noticeable. This is the trade off for low emissions and fuel consumption I suppose. Fuel economy has improved in my time with the R-Line; possibly due to a combination of the engine being more run in, and a commute with less stop-start traffic.

Regardless of the cause, I’m very happy to be averaging 45mpg on a daily basis, with the potential for this to creep even higher on longer runs. A full tank offers a range of around 300 miles before the DIS screen starts to panic and suggests refuelling is needed.

Over the year I’ve tended to stick to regular 95-octane unleaded, as this is all the R-Line claims to need. Experiments with Tesco Momentum99 proved fairly fruitless, making the throttle response seem jerky as if the engine knock sensor was kicking in. Shell V-Power delivered better results, but without a large enough benefit that justified the ridiculous price.

The only trip needed to Pulman Volkswagen in Durham was for the R-Line’s first 12-month service. With the car having the 3-year service package included from new, the oil change and inspection cost me nothing and took less than 90 minutes. The inspection report notes that front and rear brake wear is only around 10% – clearly I need to try braking harder!

As I write, nothing noticeable has gone wrong or fallen off the R-Line yet. A couple of small rattles from the dashboard kick in when the outside temperature drops, and the Bluetooth phone connection continues to frustrate when it comes to streaming music.

The Deep Black Pearlescent paintwork is, predictably, a nightmare to keep clean and has shown up a couple of small annoying scratches that would be undetectable on a different coloured car.

Modifications have been limited to nothing more than the addition of a TSI badge to the Polo’s rump. With Volkswagen now offering ‘R-Line Style’ models on even the 60PS 1.2 model, I felt it was needed to add a subtle reminder that mine was the real deal underneath.

Carbon fibre wrap for the wing mirrors is still being considered, mainly to cover the damage to the nearside one caused by my other half!

Overall, the R-Line has been a nigh-on faultless performer throughout the past year. It’s been dependable, practical and just the right amount of fun to be enjoyable without breaking the bank. Volkswagen’s success in the World Rally Championship has also given it a pleasing, if rather tenuous, degree of motorsport pedigree too!

In short, the R-Line easily keeps fulfilling the brief I asked of it, and I’m looking forward to another year behind the wheel of EngageSportMode.com’s flagship.

Want to know more? Follow John on Twitter at @EngageSportMode or visit www.engagesportmode.com

2013 Volkswagen Polo R-Line: John Redfern

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