ONE OF Britain’s best-selling cars has a potentially dangerous fault with its rear seatbelt that leads it to unfasten unexpectedly, leaving a passenger unrestrained.
Tests carried out by a Finnish car magazine revealed that the Volkswagen Polo’s left rear seatbelt can be released unintentionally when all three back seats are occupied.
The buckle for the Polo’s middle seatbelt appears to foul the buckle for the outer, left-side seatbelt, releasing it without notice.
The seatbelt scare also involves the Seat Ibiza and Seat Arona (pictured below).
The Volkswagen Group has confirmed that it is aware of the issue, revealed in vehicle stability tests performed by Tekniikan Maailma magazine.
VW says that owners of the Polo (Mk6), which went on sale in Britain from October and was Britain’s seventh best-selling car last year, should not use the middle rear seat until a solution to the problem is found and a recall can be carried out.
At the time of publication, the VW Group was not able to confirm if any other vehicles from Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Porsche and Skoda are involved.
In tests, Tekniikan Maailma found that as the body of the middle seat passenger shifted as the car turned into a corner, it forced the higher-mounted buckle for the central seatbelt against the lower buckle for the outer belt, pushing the release button of the latter.
Tekniikan Maailma said this happened on numerous occasions in each identified model.
A Volkswagen spokesperson said: “As an immediate action, we will inform customers and advise not to have passengers use the middle rear seat of current Polo models (Mk6) until the cars have been equipped with the redesigned belt lock fixture.”
A spokesman for Seat said: “We’re working on possible solutions for it and will inform you about the final decision as soon as possible.”