Volkswagen Polo GT TDI Long Term Review
Car Tested: Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TDI and 1.6 GT TDI
Kms Done: 5091 kms (cumulative)
Test Started at: 1135 kms (1.2 TDI) and 2436 kms (GT TDI)
Test Concluded at: 3011 kms (1.2 TDI) and 5651 kms (GT TDI)
Mileage: 1.2 TDI – 14.73 km/l, 18.21 km/l (best), 12.45 km/l (worst)
GT TDI – 13.54 km/l, 15.95 km/l (best), 11.24 km/l (worst)
Fuel Consumed: 364 litres (cumulative)
Fuel Cost: Rs. 23,636/- (cumulative)
Rs. per km: Rs. 4.64/- (cumulative)
Major Repair – None
Service Cost – None
The Polo GT TDI offers terrific performance which keeps you smiling for a long long time.
German engineering needs no introduction and we have had a taste of the same behind the wheel of the Polo. This Volkswagen hatch has impressed us and the feeling has echoed in our last two reports. The 1.2 TDI does well for a city car but the pronounced turbo lag and a slightly heavy clutch makes the driver work that little bit extra and from the enthusiast perspective, it had little to offer. Well, until the Volkswagen GT TDI made it to our garage. This iteration of the Polo has only one target buyer, the performance buff and boy, it impresses and how. We still can’t help smiling with over 3000 kms under the belt.
The Polo has been an important car for Volkswagen’s Indian portfolio and the company has left no stone unturned to ensure that the German giant caters to each and every kind of buyer. The Polo is currently offered in two petrol and two diesel engines. The 1.2 TDI and 1.2 petrol cater to the regular hatchback buyer while the GT TDI and GT TSI appeal to those who crave for a rush of adrenaline on a routine basis. The GT TDI is a dream come true for those who wanted the combination of performance and diesel in one package.
It’s not only the performance bit which makes the GT TDI such a terrific car. The way this car is put together is worthy of mention. Quality levels are top notch with fit and finish to match, it feels nothing short of premium. Nothing rattles or comes loose even on the most abused roads. The paint quality is terrific and the best we have seen on any hatchback. Volkswagen also gives a 3-year warranty on the paint. The car is also feature rich and has everything you will wish for. The Bluetooth renders quick connectivity every time you step inside (after pairing it once). The audio system delivers great sound and reverse parking sensors make parking in crowded spots easy.
The front seats offer good support over long runs and the glove box is quite usable owing to its big size. The sunglasses holder in the glove box actually manages to fit in the common brands of sunglasses. The rear seat is a tight fit, specially if the front passengers measure on the higher end of 6 feet. Boot space is decent for a hatch and we were surprised to comfortably squeeze in four medium sized bags in the boot. One thing which is missed is the boot light, for some reason VW does not offer it on the Polo.
The GT TDI’s strongest point is its exhilarating performance which really puts the so called hot hatches to shame. What Volkswagen has essentially done is plonked in the 4-cylinder 1.6-litre TDI from the Vento and bam, the rest is history. Few know that the Polo’s chassis can tackle power on the north of 200 BHP and the Polo GTI (available in Europe) is testimony to the same. You need a very well balanced setup to be able to take that kind of power on a front wheel drive car and the Polo is more than up for the task. The GT TDI spools up 105 PS of raw power at 4400 RPM and 250 NM of torque from 1500 to 2500 RPM. Factor in the light weight of the Polo and these figures spell pure performance.
The gear ratios are spaced out for both city and highway styles and the fifth gear is tall enabling the GT TDI to stretch its legs quite nicely. The way this engine pulls is quite amazing. Overcome the initial turbo lag until 1500 RPM and it’s game on till the rev limiter. Though the peak power tends to fade post 4000 RPM, you really don’t need to rev till the 5400 RPM red line. That’s because since the torque is available in a wide band, there is sufficient juice to keep the adrenaline pumping. The GT TDI does the 0-100 km/hr sprint in a mere 9.88 seconds which is tremendously quick for a hatchback at this price bracket. If you think that’s not fast enough, the GT TDI hits 0-60 km/hr in just 4.34 seconds, which is simply outstanding by any means. It can hit 160 without a ruffle and even at high speeds, it feels completely at ease and inspires confidence to push even harder.
The steering feels well connected and weighs up beautifully at high speeds. The feedback is good and the smile on your face stays put with the excitement this car offers. The GT TDI handles like a charm and high speed manoeuvres are done as though the car is on rails. The chassis balance is beautiful throughout with no oversteer or understeer. However, even though the Apollo tyres on the car offer decent levels of grip, they tend to understeer on hard cornering but that’s only in extreme cases. We drove the car down to Goa and it was best enjoyed around the twisties. The GT TDI loves to be cornered and the precision with which it tackles them deserves an applaud. As we mentioned that the favorable power to weight ratio has done the trick for the GT TDI but that’s not the only thing. With a boot full of luggage and five adults on board, the performance barely faded.
Floor the pedal in 5th gear at 60 km/hr, you will be surprised how cleanly this car pulls. It pulls so strongly, you might actually look down at the lever to verify if it’s in third gear. The brakes offer good bite and the brake dust on the alloy wheels confirm your intentions behind the wheel. Even after driving it for 3000 kms, the brake bite was good and there was no hint of any brake fade. The GT TDI returned an average fuel efficiency of 13.54 km/l as compared to 14.73 km/l we got with the 1.2 TDI Polo. The best mileage was 15.95 km/l and 18.21 km/l with the GT TDI and 1.2 TDI respectively while the worst turned out to be 11.24 km/l and 12.45 km/l with the GT TDI and 1.2 TDI respectively. As you can see there is a small difference in the fuel efficiency of both the Polo twins but do we really care. Frankly no. With so much performance on tap, fuel efficiency, though reasonable for this kind of performance, becomes a secondary issue in this case.
The suspension is stiffly sprung to aid the handing characteristics but the ride does not seem harsh. Volkswagen has figured out the perfect balance between ride and handling. High speed ride is pliant with the shocks absorbing the irregularities in their stride. At low speeds and over really bad roads, the undulations do creep into the cabin. NVH levels are good except for the engine, which gets too loud near the redline and has a typical diesel clatter.
Volkswagen is slowly and steadily ramping up their service network and has currently 116 service outlets in the country. The German giant’s focus has been to improve customer satisfaction and service quality. While numerous reports have touted the service to be expensive, this is actually not true. The Polo has a service schedule of 15,000 kms/1 year as opposed to the 10,000 kms/1 year schedule followed by most competitive brands. Therefore when your car reaches 30,000 kms, the Polo would have undergone two routine services as opposed to three otherwise. The per km service cost comes to just Rs. 0.75/- up to 1,05,000 kms. Besides, Volkswagen offers a free of cost 24×7 anytime, anywhere Road Side Assistance within 2 years of warranty period (extendable for 2 more years at competitive prices). There is also a 3-year warranty on the paint along with a 6-year anti-perforation warranty. The service cost for both the 1.2 TDI and GT TDI are the same and cost of few spares is appended below –
Volkswagen Polo Cost Of Spares
* Engine oil per service – Rs. 4171/–
* Brake Oil – Rs. 290/- (First replacement 3 years Or 45,000 kms)
* Oil Filter – Rs. 383/-
* Fuel Filter – Rs. 1287/-
* Brake pad (Front & Rear) – Rs. 1800/- (not included in periodic maintenance cost)
* Front Bumper (without painting) – Rs. 2007/- (not included in periodic maintenance cost)
* Rear Bumper (without painting) – Rs. 2470/- (not included in periodic maintenance cost)
* Headlamp Assembly (Each) – Rs. 3831/- (not included in periodic maintenance cost)
* Tail lamp Assembly (Each) – Rs. 2038/- (not included in periodic maintenance cost)
If performance is what rocks your boat, then the Polo GT TDI is most definitely the hatch for you. It’s more of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde thing. It’s one of those cars you can use on a day to day basis for your routine activities and still pump up some adrenaline with the performance it has to offer. Volkswagen is doing away with the 1.2 TDI and the 1.6 TDI engines and both these will be replaced by a 1.5-litre diesel mill. Though we don’t know the power and torque figures of the upcoming GT TDI (likely to be 104 PS), if the past is anything to go by, we are certain it will be just as good if not better.
The Volkswagen Polo GT TDI is a practical performance hatch which delights with its thrilling performance and terrific ride-handling balance. It is the car you can use daily and still have heaps load of fun.
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