This past summer during a work trip to Greece I was greeted upon my arrival with a white 2014 Volkswagen Polo. A 1.2 liter, 3 cylinder engine providing almost 60 bhp, mated to a spongy 5 speed. This was quite the opposite of my last rental in the states which was a Ram 1500 Big Horn edition capable of pulling more than what 6 VW Polos can do.
This car was a slimmed down Golf in every dimension, including the gusto dimension. The Polo engineers must have been out of their minds when they included seating for five, since this vehicle was already too lethargic for one. Perhaps I should have gone on a diet prior for a performance boost.
The weak handling, weak motor, awful interior, and somewhat uncomfortable everything, made me question whether I should have asked for another car before leaving the airport.
Then I drove in the local roads and it began to make sense. The narrow roads and lanes of Crete was no place for anything bigger than a mid-size sedan.
Want to park in downtown Chania? Lets lose those sideview mirrors. Missed your turn? Well let me take you thru these even narrower streets…
The mileage on the Polo is something to fall in love with because it is superb. I was averaging around 40mpg under mixed mild to aggressive driving and over mountainous regions. The mileage HAS to be impressive considering the car is powered by a zippo lighter, and that gas is over $9 per gallon at that time.
Ok so a small car makes sense here; everything is tight and the price of gas eliminates the need for a savings account, but it still doesn’t have any power… So what? The economy sucks here that you don’t need to be in a hurry to do anything. Also, the Greek beaches aren’t going anywhere… take your time.
Speaking of beaches, the most beautiful beach in Crete is in Balos, located in the most northwestern tip of the island. Driving to Balos beach requires about 10 miles worth of off-roading, which in this car feels like being in a blender.
The bumpy ride was quite jarring and I was afraid of having to return the vehicle sans panels and fasteners. As far as I know everything was left intact. After the off-road trek and the mile-ish hike I was rewarded with breathtaking views
Sure you could’ve taken a 2-hour boat here, but the journey in the Polo through what seemed to be a Noise-Vibration-Harshness test made it all worthwhile.
When gas is so damn expensive it is easy to hate the act of driving. The uninviting interior of the Polo suddenly doesn’t seem so bland considering how much you’ll hate getting behind the wheel. You’ll appreciate the 3 cylinder engine as it whispers to you “I’m giving you my best, and doing so at a relatively low cost.” And after witnessing it’s reliability thru the mountains of Crete, the Volkswagen Polo is an easy choice for a euro trip.
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