Suspension of Volkswagen Polo sedan: pros and cons

Suspension design of the Volkswagen Polo sedan

For 40 years, craftsmen from Wolfsburg delight fans of the famous German series with their sophisticated and extraordinary work in the field of automotive engineering. One of the masterpieces of the German imagination is undoubtedly the Volkswagen Polo, which has earned countless awards for several generations.

Golden VW.

Separate attention should be paid to the model in the sedan body. This sample of the highest art has been created specially for our Russian roads. Germans took into account everything – from climatic operating conditions to the condition of the roadbed and the quality of fuel resources.

Huge and scrupulous work has been done by representatives of German automobile concern to develop suspension system on Polo. It was necessary to create a quality unit capable of withstanding the extreme road (or more precisely “off-road”) conditions of Russia. In 2010 diligent Germans have presented a new miracle to Russians – Volkswagen Polo sedan, which instantly, starting from autumn, broke into the hands of motorists like “hot cakes”. Not the last fiddle in the takeoff of sales was played by the updated suspension.

General view of the device

McPherson front suspension arrangement

The era of the classic double wishbone suspension is coming to an end. To follow the fashion, manufacturers equip their “offspring” with new independent units, named McPherson. It is derived from the name of the famous American engineer from the Ford company.

Rear beam arrangement.

Experts from Wolfsburg have equipped the Volkswagen Polo sedan with such suspension in front. Its design is simple: the same principle of “rocking candle”, on which the shock-absorber rack, one transversal lever and the spring, located above the axis of the rotary knuckle works. All the elements that soften the suspension and perform the guiding function are assembled together, constituting a compact monolith. Such an absolutely artless scheme allowed to reduce significantly the weight of the unit in comparison with the “double wishbone” and, accordingly, to reduce the cost of materials. Therefore McPherson is installed practically on all modern automobiles today – be it compact models of middle class or expensive off-roaders.

Germans made an effort with a back “crossbar” too. Having thoroughly studied our roads, they have developed absolutely new semi-independent suspension on the basis of the fourth “Golfik”. And it is not “as if” any more. The track of the sedan is increased by about 34 mm, durability and endurance of components of the installation is increased as well as its load-carrying capacity and quality of control. In general, the experiment was a success.

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The assembly is unpretentious, but good, solid. The struts stretched out almost all the way to the shock absorber. The stabilizer is strong and does not hold on an honest word – Germans are not good at “free-riding”. However… The lower arms of suspension are not impressive. Though they are thick, about 3 mm – they do not look very reliable. If the automobile will fail in a deep hole, the “hardware” will be bent. Silentblocks are not too big, too, and it is not known how many kilometers they can sustain.

The behavior differs depending on the transmission. On the McPherson automatic, there is a lot of noise, with a slight rumble underfoot. Especially extraneous knocks are heard while driving over small bumps and joints. Everything is much better on a “mechanics”. Certainly, if you listen attentively, you can still hear uneven work of the unit, but basically the maneuvers of the suspension are clear, without interruptions.

Location of independent installation is not very inspiring for driving on lack of roads – the lip of the bottom support is low enough. But the sedan was not created to chase on woods and fields. Volkswagen Polo sedan is purely city exhibit.

Highly dangling rear beam arms.

The supports, by the way, are not synchronous and have insignificant differences in design. An obscure plastic “branched off” under the fenders of Polo attracts your attention. Distance to the road is about 15 cm. Probably, it protects components from clogging and small stones.

The clearance of the Polo sedan is standard – 170 mm. It is quite “pulls” for Russian roads. Some words about the brakes. In the front there are the usual ventilated disc units, the rear is equipped with drums. Drum brakes are big, practical, also made taking into account the conditions of Russian roads. The bolts that hold the wheels have special attachments that prevent fouling on the mounts. For the removal of the bolts in the trunk there is the necessary tools.

The bottom line is as follows: the McPherson front suspension is a trendy innovation of all modern cars. It is qualitative, easy and inexpensive. The minus is concluded in aggregate design: because of the big range of roll, created at sharp turns, problems with steerability of a car can appear. Adding oil to the fire is the visual unreliability of some elements, which may confuse the consumer before buying.

The rear beam is also an evolutionary discovery in the automobile industry which allowed reducing the price of suspension materials. Suspension assembly is not complicated, easy to repair. The minus of rear part is that the construction worsens the general noise isolation of the sedan.

Replacing the rear brake pads of the Volkswagen Polo Sedan

In general, the Germans created a standard, designed for the Russian climate, mounted on most models coming off the industrial assembly line.

Almost flawless? Pros and cons of the Volkswagen Polo Sedan

It was the first model in the history of the brand, created specifically for Russia. It was produced for ten years, updated only once, but it has consistently remained one of the most popular in its segment, periodically occupying the leading position. It was a favorite of cab services and corporate car fleets, without any problems covering 400-500 thousand kilometers. In general, today’s guest of our rubric “In fact” is Volkswagen Polo Sedan.

In order to make an objective picture of the reliability and endurance of Volkswagen Polo Sedan we invited two experts – the owner Alexey and the representative of the cab service Victor. But, as Victor preferred to remain behind the scenes and not to disclose the name of the service, we will visualize the material on the example of Alexey’s car.

“We have three Polo in the family – me, my father and my father-in-law. Two cars in 2016, one in 2018, – says Alexei, – on mine the mileage is already more than 160 thousand, on the other two cars it is much less, from 30 to 50 thousand. I bought mine in January 2017 on a deal, as “last year’s car”. At the time it was the maximum package, plus added rain and light sensors. And immediately the most “contact” places in the front were wrapped with a protective anti-gravel film.

Knocking, squeaking

“The main disease in the Polo is the “bones” of the transverse stabilizer,” complains Alexei, “they wear out quickly and start banging. I had them replaced under warranty, twice. And I was not lucky with the stabilizer, I could not replace it under warranty and now I have to put up with creaking in hot weather. There are two options – change for a new one of the same design and wait until the squeak appears again, or pay more for an upgraded rod. No other suspension issues.

I operate the car every day in a fairly intensive mixed cycle: part of the way is on the highway, part of the way is in the city. The brakes in such conditions were excellent, I still have original brake discs, and I changed the pads at the run of 100 thousand kilometers. By the way, in my father-in-law’s Polo, where mileage is three times less, I had to change rear discs, and front ones are ready to go. Why? The car is not used much and during long parkings the disk gets quite badly rusted. You drive out, brake, and there’s a vibration, a rattle. I had a look: the whole disc is in “craters”, the pads won’t last long like that. And at the same time on my car they are like a mirror – such a nuance.”

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“Couldn’t turn the rear gear off!”

“If we talk about malfunctions, here the Polo has never presented unpleasant surprises, it is objectively enduring and reliable car, – says Alexei – the car is operated both in winter and summer, in an aggressive environment, and was afraid that problems with electrics, with sensors could begin. But no, not a single question. Although I don’t have a single extraneous wire here, everything is factory. Speaking of wires: other “polovodovods” have had problems with the reverse sensor, which is on the gearbox. The wire would just rot off and the light wouldn’t come on. I had a different story with the gearbox. At some point the reverse gear started to shift very badly, especially if the car was parked on an incline. I literally couldn’t get the lever back into “neutral”, I had to turn the engine off and then it was fine. Went to the dealer, drove around with a warranty engineer – but, as luck would have it, I couldn’t “catch the situation”.

Either a knock, or “oily”

“As you know, two types of 1.6-liter “atmospheric” engines were put on the Polo: before the restyling in 2015 it was chain CFNA, and after that went “belt” CWVA, – says Alexei, – and about the main problem of CFNA everyone knows: it can “knock” in the cold. The constructors figured out the source of this problem quickly, but they were not able to stop it. The piston group has been changed under warranty, but the majority still drives with a knock. Another problem of this engine is the exhaust manifold. It breaks, and if you are lucky, you can solve the problem by welding, if not – look for a used one or buy a fairly expensive new one.

Fortunately, my restyled Polo has a CWVA, and there are no such problems with it. But there is another one: the increased consumption of oil – I change it every 10,000 km, and there were times when during the breaks I had to refill up to two liters. It is interesting that at the level of about 150 thousand kilometers the oil consumption reduces and I just noticed that after the last oil change it is less.

Change of oil in Volkswagen Polo sedan automatic transmission

“Had it changed twice under warranty.”

“As I said before, I have no questions about the reliability of the Polo, I had to contact the warranty just a couple of times, – Alexei recalls, – for example, the left axle gland at the outlet of the gearbox was “sweating”. It was changed under warranty twice, now everything is fine. By the way, I even change the timing gear now at a dealer. It costs 870 rubles, but I get the original parts and a warranty on the work. It would not be much cheaper at a garage, and the parts are of unknown quality.

Otherwise, the car doesn’t bother at all. As for fuel consumption are the following figures: if I drive on the highway on cruise control at a speed of 90 km/h, it comes out about 4.6 liters per hundred. But on the average in the mixed cycle it turns out about seven. The maximum, if it is with air conditioning and mostly in the city, comes out 7.6 liters.

I have no questions about the body: it has a film on the front, and everything else resists reagents perfectly. Although there is a little nuance: in my father and father’s cars, which are used infrequently, the front edge of the hood from the bottom, in the area of the lock, all covered with rust. I have no such thing. Disadvantages? Probably the only disadvantage is the seat. It is too thin, and it becomes uncomfortable on the long road. I like to drive on a “cruise” and sit this way or that way, but it still sinks.

What would you like to change? Nothing in particular – everything in Polo suits me. The only thing – if I would buy it now, I would choose the version with automatic. I don’t have any problems with it, but it is much more comfortable to drive in the city. By the way, I paid attention: in the ads Polo with “automatic” sell very quickly, even in not the most luxurious complete sets”.

“Great worker!”

Moving on to Victor. The cab service has been in operation for about eight years, so it has almost all Polo versions, except for the 1.4-liter turbocharged: they are too expensive for a cab. But the taxi park mechanics know the 1.6-liter “atmospheric” by heart.

“When the first CFNA knocked, I almost had a heart attack, – with a laugh Victor recalls – the engine immediately shut down, the car was sent to the dealer in a tow truck, God forbid to “screw up” it through our fault. Then, by the way, the piston group was changed under warranty. Later on, in other cars it was already recognized as “a design feature” and they said that it would not affect the reliability. They were right: some Polo trucks had driven 300k km with that knock. Truth be told, it is hard to sell them afterwards: the buyers get scared.

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But it is a problem with exhaust manifolds: you can not always weld them, the metal is too thin, so I am constantly scanning ads for used cars and if I see a part in good condition, I buy it as a preventive measure to avoid wasting time.

There are practically no problems with CWVA engines on restyled versions. The only nuance is the loss of oil, but it is rather easy to control. By the way, this feature is not present in all the cars: we have now two Polo engines that do not need to add oil between changes. It is different in others: from one liter to two and a half.

I don’t have any questions about gearboxes, the main thing is that the oil doesn’t leak anywhere. If the questions with fluidity of gear shifting start, it is necessary to look cables or plastic lever on the body of a box.

As for the running gear. If not to pay attention to the eternally knocking stabilizer struts, otherwise everything can be called very reliable. Depending on the accuracy of the driver, the basic details – silent-blocks, steering rods, rack – easily survive about 100 thousand kilometers, even in a mode of constant city operation. The brakes also run for quite a long time, if compared to other models popular in the cab industry. By the way, in most cases it is reasonable to buy the original parts: they are not much more expensive, but last longer. The same applies to the body: the original has a good anti-corrosion treatment, and neoriginal “fade” literally for one winter.

So in general the Volkswagen Polo is one of the best offers in its segment. Our drivers love it for its comfortable seating – it’s worse in other models, and when you spend the whole day behind the wheel, it immediately affects fatigue. The mechanics love it for its high maintainability, and I, as a manager, like it for its reliability – so far I haven’t had to call a tow truck for the Polo. Great worker!”

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