We tell you what to look for while buying a pre-owned Volkswagen Polo GT TSI.

2015 Volkswagen GT TSI Test Drive Review
The Polo GT is a nice little hatchback which is powerful and has mod potential

Used Volkswagen Polo GT TSI

When Volkswagen launched the Polo in India in 2009, none of us knew that the German automaker would sell the car for more than a decade here. The Polo has gone through a number of changes over the years including cosmetic updates, equipment additions, and mechanical changes. The Polo is also one car that has seen so many different engines over the years such as 1.2 MPI, 1.2 TDI, 1.6 MPI, 1.6 TDI, 1.5 TDI, 1.2 TSI, 1.0 MPI, and 1.0 TSI.

For enthusiasts, the best engines out of these have been the 1.6 MPI, 1.6 TDI, and 1.2 TSI (we haven’t sampled the 1.0 TSI yet) and the Polo GT variants do have a good amount of popularity among people who love driving their cars. You can get a brand new Polo GT today with a 1.0 TSI engine and a 6-speed AT but if you’re looking for some value for your buck and want a driver-friendly car for the price of an entry-level hatchback, you will be able to find lots of examples of used GT TSI models.

The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI first came out in 2013 and it had slightly less features than the later models. The vehicle got a minor update with some cosmetic enhancements in 2014 and then some useful features were added in some later updates. The GT TSI is the only automatic variant of the Polo available in India which is why these cars used to command a good premium earlier but now there are too many choices for buyers so prices have also become realistic.

How Much To Pay – A fair price to pay for a 2013 GT TSI would be somewhere in the whereabouts of Rs. 4.50 lakhs. Do note that a 7 year old car would have depreciated quite a bit and you can obviously negotiate a better price. However, don’t hesitate to pay a slight premium if you come across a car that is genuinely well taken care of. I have personally seen examples of low-driven cars having issues due to the owner not following service schedules while cars that have covered even 75,000 kms have been running absolutely fine because they’re cared for by their owners.

For 2014-15 models, the right price would be anywhere between Rs. 5-6 lakhs and these models are better equipped than the 2013 models. 2016-17 cars are usually priced between Rs. 5.75-7.25 lakhs depending on the condition while 2018 onwards models are priced higher. 2018+ models are also relatively new and tend to be very less driven. The Polo is offered with a 4 year warranty but Volkswagen has some nice extended warranty plans which give you coverage for upto 7 years. However, these extended warranty plans are only valid if the car has been serviced timely according to the company’s schedule and only at VW authorised service stations.

Talking about the car, the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI got a 1.2-litre, 4-cyl, turbo petrol engine making 105 PS and 175 Nm. The vehicle boasts of good quality all around and offers a very engaging drive. The engine is crisp with its power delivery, very refined, and even efficient if you drive the car properly. The 7-speed DSG is known for its quick shifts but at low speeds it tends to feel a bit jerky. All the seats are comfortable and supportive but the rear seat is cramped and leg room is seriously limited.

What To Check – When you go to check out a used GT TSI, thoroughly check the exterior during the daylight and notice the body panels with a keen eye. If you spot irregularities in the panel gaps or some paint mismatch, chances are that the vehicle is an accidental one. Minor accidents are fine and they tend to happen with every car on our roads but if it’s a major accident, steer clear from the car. Once you’re done checking out the body panels, have a proper look at the cabin and ensure every feature is working. Don’t discard a good car just because it has slightly dirty interiors because you can always get it detailed. Ensure all the buttons and electricals are working fine and go through the MID too.

If you’re satisfied with the car, take it for a drive and while some used car dealers would be reluctant to offer a very long test drive, you should take your time to get to know the car. Avoid rushing into any decision and check how the engine responds under various conditions, the smoothness of the DSG, unusual noises from the suspension, etc. The DSG tends to feel a bit jerky at slow speeds so that is completely normal. If you’re satisfied with the test drive, call up a Volkswagen service centre in your city and ask them to provide you with the car’s service history which will let you know what all work has been done on the car, whether any major accidental repairs have been carried out, and what are the possible expenses that’ll occur in the near future.

The main thing to look out for in a used Polo GT TSI is the DSG mechatronic system. This part can fail if the gearbox isn’t maintained properly or if it is running on low oil. The DSG on the Polo is the DQ200 version which is a dry-clutch unit. If this part fails, expect your wallet to become lighter by Rs. 1 lakh. The symptoms of a failing DSG are slow shifts and unusual noises. The ABS sensors on the Polo are also prone to failure and each sensors costs almost Rs. 6000/- with labour. There have been some ownership reports from customers claiming that if one sensor fails, then the other ones also fail consecutively over time.

Service Costs – The Volkswagen Polo has a service interval of 1 year or 15,000 kms and a regular service shouldn’t cost more than Rs. 11,000-12,000/-. Cosmetic parts and accidental damages are expensive to repair. In my used car search, I saw a lot of Polos, Ventos, and Lauras with broken AC vents so this is quite common and replacing all vents costs approximately Rs. 2000-2500/-. There are no other major issues with the Polo as such.

The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI is a great car to buy in the used car market and you can even tune it for more power by getting a nice remap. Of course, rear seat space is limited so if you really want the fun of the GT TSI but need space too, I’d suggest checking out the Vento TSI. It has similar mechanicals and is more spacious. In the used car market, the price difference between these cars isn’t very high and it is totally worth it.

Alernatives – There are some alternatives to the Polo GT TSI too if you’re looking for a fun to drive car. You can get a Honda City i-VTEC in a similar price range. The City is reliable and much more spacious while the engine is one of the best in its segment. However, if you want an automatic, the City gets a CVT which is nowhere close to the Polo’s DSG. If you don’t mind buying a manual car, you cannot really go wrong with a City.

Another alternative is the Fiat Abarth Punto which has mind-blowing performance. You get used cars for Rs. 5-6 lakhs but these cars are very rare and finding one is a task in itself. The Abarth has some ergonomic issues and people have had mixed opinions about Fiat’s service. The Skoda Rapid is another good used car to buy in this price range. You can get the 1.5 TDI variant with a DSG but avoid buying the 1.6 MPI. Let us know in the comments below if you’d like to know more about buying any specific car in the pre-owned market.

Polo GT TSI vs Figo DCT vs Jazz CVT
The cabin is well-built but rear seat space is a compromise
Punto Abarth vs Polo GT TSI
The Abarth Punto is a good driver’s car but very rare to find
Honda City Special Edition 1
Examples of the 4th gen pre-facelift City can be found for Rs. 5-7 lakhs
Skoda Rapid 1.5 TDI Black Pack
The Skoda Rapid diesel is a strong performer

Further Reading
Things To Check Before Buying A Used Car
Why I Love The Indian Used Car Market