Volkswagen may have been the first automaker to introduce a flex-fuel car, the Gol Total Flex, in Brazil in March 2003 but the pioneer company was slow to expand the technology to other vehicles in its range while General Motors launched a full selection.

Now, VW is fighting back with flex-fuel versions of the Polo range (hatchback and the uniquely Brazilian-made sedan).

Adding the Polo means Volkswagen now offers flex-fuel versions of five Brazilian-made car lines, the same number that GM offers with engines that run on petrol, alcohol or a blend of the two.

The new version, named Polo Total Flex, has a 1.6-litre, eight-valve engine whose power output varies between 101hp and 103hp depending on the fuel used.

Volkswagen also offers flex-fuel versions of the Gol, the Gol-based Saveiro compact pick-up and Parati station wagon and the Fox.

Fiat, Ford and Renault also sell flex-fuel engine cars in Brazil and PSA brands Peugeot and Citroen plan to do likewise soon.

Rogério Louro

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