Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 9.33 lakhs (Polo GT TSI), Rs. 9.35 lakhs (Ford EcoSport EcoBoost Titanium)
Both these petrol cars bring turbocharged power to the masses.
Almost every diesel car sold in India uses a turbocharger. But a turbocharged diesel engine and a turbocharged petrol motor are quite different. Naturally if you are a petrol head, a turbocharged petrol engine under your car’s hood is going to excite you. The first affordable turbocharged petrol car in India was the Skoda Octavia vRS which was launched early last decade (1.8-litre engine produced 150 BHP of power). Now in 2013, we have two more affordable turbocharged petrol cars to choose from – the Ford EcoSport EcoBoost and the Volkswagen Polo 1.2 GT TSI. Both these cars are very different, after all one is a compact SUV while the other is a hatchback. However both are priced very similarly, which tempted us to put them head-to-head in a turbocharged battle.
Ford cars are known to be very fun to drive while Volkswagen is not far behind either. The EcoSport is definitely fun although the steering is not as crisp and handling could have been better, with a stiffer suspension. Naturally the taller stance and heavier weight show in the way the EcoSport doesn’t outrun the Polo GT in corners but remember, we are only comparing engines and not dynamics. The Polo GT also comes with ESP which makes cornering even more surefooted and the EcoSport lacks this feature on the EcoBoost version (the 1.5-litre Automatic gets ESP).
Even engine wise, the only thing common between the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI and Ford EcoSport EcoBoost is that a turbocharger is used by both of them. The Polo GT TSI displaces 1197cc from its 4-cylinder engine, producing 105 PS of power at 5000 RPM and 175 Nm of torque between 1500-4000 RPM. The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine in the Ford EcoSport uses a 999cc, 3-cylinder engine to develop 125 PS of power at 4200 RPM and 170 Nm of torque between 1400-4500 RPM. On paper the EcoSport looks like a stronger candidate as far as performance goes but weaker if you consider NVH levels.
However on the road, the EcoSport surprises you by offering fantabulous NVH levels. Vibrations are very low although at certain points of the power band (top-end mostly), the 3-pot architecture does make its presence felt. Ford engineers have created a master piece with the 1.0-litre EcoBoost motor and that is the reason this engine has won the international engine of the year award twice in a row. Even with lesser displacement, the EcoBoost engine belts out 20 PS more power which gives it a 0-100 km/hr time of 10.8 seconds. The Polo GT TSI on the other hand is absolutely vibe free and reaches 100 km/hr from standstill in 9.7 seconds. The EcoSport weighs 119 kgs more which results in it being slower. Both cars have a top speed of 190 km/hr. Even with more power, the EcoSport deliveries higher mileage (18.9 km/l for the EcoSport 1.0 vs 17.2 km/l for the Polo TSI as per ARAI).
The EcoSport has some turbolag and starts to pull strongly post 2000 RPM. The Polo feels more eager at low end of the rev range and feels more drivable in the city. However the Polo simply can’t match the high revving character of the EcoBoost engine. It’s around 5000 RPM power starts to sharply trail off in the Polo (redline at just 6000 RPM) but the EcoSport continues to solider on till its 6800 RPM redline. To the Polo GT TSI’s credit is a 7-speed DSG unit which shifts cogs quicker than you can manually do using the 5-speed box on the EcoSport. However the real fun of driving is changing gears yourself and that is where the EcoSport brings more smiles. The clutch is light and the gearshift is slick. In the Polo, things are a bit artificial with not much driver involvement. Had there been paddle shifts, we would have had a different stance. The Polo does get a Sport mode along with tip-tronic function.
So which is the better engine of the two. Both engines are fantastic but the EcoBoost has out vote. It’s more fun to drive, is slightly more vocal, redlines at a higher RPM and feels fast and engaging too. The Polo might be the faster car here but it simply doesn’t excite you as much as the EcoBoost powered EcoSport does. Now only if Ford plonks in the award winning A4 sized EcoBoost power plant into ligher cars like the Figo, then it will be game, set, match and go!
The 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine in the Ford EcoSport offers more fun and performance while the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI is faster due to its lighter weight and DSG gearbox.