The 1991 Polos are a logical development of Volkswagen's smallest models except that in being equipped with catalytic convertors, they have pulled something of a coup, being the first manufacturer to offer a complete range of small cars to have them fitted as standard. In a couple of years time, of course, it will be compulsory for manufacturers to fit them, but VW have stolen a march on their rivals by doing so now. Not only that, but they have also equipped each model with a carbon canister in the fuel tank breather pipe which absorbs the hydrocarbons as they evaporate from the tank and feed them into the engine.

Universal fuel injection, servo-assisted brakes and a revised suspension for a more comfortable ride are some of the other improvements made to the latest Polo models.

So as to be certain of spotting a new "friendly" Polo, Volkswagen have altered the shape a little and in so doing have Improved the aerodynamics a little over the old model. A reprofiled front bonnet, front wings and rear hatch are the changes to the metal while new absorbent bumpers, integrated rectangular headlamps and indicators and a modified rear lamp cluster are the giveaway signs of a 1991 model. It still remains a slightly ugly car, but in hatchback guise, it is, in fact, very practical.

The interior has also been redesigned to reflect that fact that not only is this car very much an urban machine, but is one with a high percentage of women drivers at the wheel. Less emphasis is placed on gimmicks and more on a sensible layout and good ergonomics. More than 30,000 Polos a year have been sold in Britain since 1983, and there is no reason why the new Polos should not continue selling in that number. Whether it is the entry level £6297 45 bhp Polo Fox at one end or the £8989 75 bhp Polo GT at the other end or any of the 8 saloon/hatchback/coupé range in the middle, the Polo has been given a fairly powerful shot in the arm with Volkswagen's adventurous "Green" decision.