It is raining new product launches in the auto market. Volkswagen has just launched the updated 2014 Polo in India and as usual, we guys at MotorBeam decided to do a quick comparison of the Polo and its competitors, i.e. Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai i20 and Fiat Punto to help our readers and potential buyers of vehicles from the premium hatchback segment make a better buying decision.
Looks – Each one of these hatchbacks look good in their own way. While the Polo impresses people with its simple and clean lines, the i20 is preferred by those who love funky and stylish designs. The Swift also looks good with neutral styling elements. The current Fiat Punto has a simple and beautiful design but this model will be replaced by the Punto Evo in the coming weeks. The Punto Evo too looks stylish but it comes with an overdose of chrome. In short, none of the hatchbacks featured here score negative points when it comes to the looks department.
Engines – All the four hatchbacks here come with petrol and diesel engine options. The Volkswagen Polo comes with a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine that feels very uninspiring to drive and the omission of one cylinder is obvious since the Polo’s refinement levels are not as good as rivals. The Polo’s petrol engine is also the least powerful here. The Maruti Swift is powered by a 1.2-litre K-Series petrol engine that has always proven to be punchy and fuel efficient. The i20 and Punto come with two petrol engine options. While the 1.2-litre unit on the i20 is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission, the 1.4-litre petrol unit is matched to a 4-speed automatic gearbox. The Punto’s 1.2-litre engine is very sluggish and its power output can actually be compared to cars from a segment below, i.e. Maruti Wagon R and Chevrolet Spark. The 1.4-litre unit found on the Emotion variant produces decent power though.
Coming to diesel engines, it is here that Volkswagen scores the most. The 1.2-litre TDI engine has been replaced by a 1.5-litre unit which produces identical power to the i20 and Punto Sport, while its torque delivery is the highest. The Punto comes with two states of tune in the 1.3-litre MultiJet engine. While the 75 PS tune is shared with the Swift, the 90 PS tune is the one preferred by enthusiasts. The i20 produces a generous amount of power and torque with its CRDI oil-burner.
Transmissions – All petrol variants of the hatchbacks featured here come with 5-speed manual transmissions and only the i20 offers an automatic gearbox option. However, the catch is the the AT is available only on the 1.4-litre Gamma unit and this engine doesn’t really find takers and hence it becomes difficult to ascertain its long term performance. Also, the automatic gearbox offered in the i20 is just a 4-speed unit and due to the engine capacity, this version doesn’t meet excise duty norms. The diesel version of all the cars come with a 5-speed manual gearbox but the i20 uses a 6-speed unit.
Safety – The base variants of most of these hatchbacks are bare-basic when it comes to safety features. The Swift and Punto come with dual front airbags only on the top variants while the i20 comes with a driver-side airbag on the Sportz variant, dual airbags on the Asta variant and six airbags on the Asta (0) variant. Volkswagen has made dual airbags standard on all variants of the Polo and they received a big thumbs up for this.
After-Sales Service – While Maruti comes at number one here, its Korean rival Hyundai is not really far behind. Both these companies have a very strong network across the country. Fiat has separated from Tata Motors and the manufacturer is setting up individual service stations in major cities but Fiat still has a long way to go when it comes to customer satisfaction. Volkswagen provides the worst after-sales service which is evident from the numerous complaints posted online by unhappy customers.
While Volkswagen has launched the updated Polo just today, other rivals are not lagging behind. Maruti Suzuki will be introducing an updated version of the Swift in the coming months and it will get some minor cosmetic upgrades and feature additions. Fiat will be launching the Punto Evo next month and the new model will come with new looks and better interiors. Hyundai is also powering up to launch the next generation i20 in the first half of August. The new i20 will be a major change in terms of design, driving feel and interiors but the engine options will remain the same.
Volkswagen Polo vs Maruti Swift vs Hyundai i20 vs Fiat Punto – Petrol Spec Comparison
Volkswagen Polo vs Maruti Swift vs Hyundai i20 vs Fiat Punto – Diesel Spec Comparison