Volkswagen Polo Long Term Review
The Volkswagen Polo is by far the best engineered car in the hatchback segment.
German cars are known for their build quality and dynamics but there wasn’t a single one in the hatchback segment until Volkswagen forayed into the volume game with the Polo a few years ago. The Polo was well received for its typical German character but fell short on features. Volkswagen updated the Polo with additional features along with a price correction and that did the trick for the Wolfsburg based manufacturer. The Polo is the only hatchback in India to come in high performance versions with the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine (GT TSI) and 1.6-litre diesel (GT TDI). We drive the humbled 1.2 TDI and find out how it copes in everyday situations.
The exteriors look simple but the Polo’s stance as well as the paint quality add a touch of premiumness. The Polo looks quite sporty too, especially when painted red. More than 70% Polos on the road are either red or white. We specifically liked the smoked headlamps and the way the boot opener is integrated with the VW logo. It clearly stands out in front of its Asian competitors.
Build quality is exceptional and everything looks quite well put together with great attention to detail. Our test car is fresh out of the factory with only 1200 kms on the odometer. The steering mounted audio controls and Bluetooth connectivity ensures you can use your phone as well as play your favourite songs without getting your eyes off the road. Moreover, the Polo also gets a SD card slot besides the usual input methods like USB, AUX, etc. The front seats are comfortable, even on long journeys but the kink in the Polo’s armour is the rear bench. The legroom is just not enough especially with a tall person driving. The back of the front seats is scooped out to increase space but it just isn’t enough.
Our test car is powered by the 1.2-litre TDI diesel engine. Being a 3-cylinder unit, it is more noisy than its competitors. There is considerable turbo lag till 1800 RPM after which the Polo comes alive. Keep it in the turbo band and you can reach triple digit speeds in a jiffy. There is no dearth of power and at no point does this 3-cylinder unit feel underpowered. We have ticked the odometer by 1000 kms and are currently getting a fuel efficiency of 14.52 km/l in the city and 17.22 km/l on the highway. The gearshift is pretty slick too and the cogs slot with utmost precision. Volkswagen is going to phase out this engine once the Polo facelift is launched later this year and the new 1.5-litre TDI will be the standard diesel engine across the Polo and Vento range.
Like most German cars, the Polo is extremely good when it comes to ride and handling. The way the suspension is setup is sure to please anyone who takes to the wheel. Handling is quite sharp and steering feedback is impressive. It is reasonably light at slow speeds and weighs up beautifully as you pick up velocity. The Polo loves corners and you can push it around them and it will surely put a smile across your face, such is the confidence with which it takes to the twisties. Ride quality is pretty compliant, both, at slow and high speeds. Driver involvement is a key area where the Polo thoroughly impresses.
We have been quite impressed with the Volkswagen Polo and it just shows why people swear by German engineering. The build quality is so good that you hardly feel the speed you are doing inside the cabin. Though it does fall short in terms of interior space, it covers up in almost every other department. The Polo is a great car to drive and the chassis is so well balanced that it does not break into a sweat while handling the 105 BHP in the TSI and TDI versions, besides the grin it leaves on the driver’s face, which is pretty much priceless.