From the time of its launch in India, the Volkswagen Polo has made a mark amongst car buyers and enthusiasts. This is a car that has the distinction of being ranked no 1 for three years in a row according to the J.D. Power 2018 India Initial Study. I spent 2 weeks with the car and have come back hugely impressed.
HOW DOES IT LOOK
The original design of the Polo while being subtle has moved with the times. It has a certain timeless quality and appeal attached to it. That’s why when I shared posts on social media, one got comments such as “even after 9 years the Polo’s design still looks fresh.”
Volkswagen had made changes to the Polo’s exterior design down the years though. The grille, bumper, headlights, integrated fog lamps along with cornering lights were some of the design changes that happened in the last face-lift of the car 2 years back.All VW cars have clean straight lines and solid design language. The Polo is no different. There is a chrome line running through the intake grille. The rear bumper along with the tail lamp cluster all add to the premium positioning of the car. Integrating the license plate into the rear bumper gives it a cleaner finish. The Polo comes with 15-inch alloy wheels while the lower spec variants get the 14-inch rims with newer wheel covers.
THE CABIN INSIDE
The premium positioning VW is going with becomes apparent as you step into the car. Starting with the sporty looking flat-bottomed steering wheel that has controls on both sides of the wheel for audio, phone and multi-information display.
The center console has a silver finish on the exterior edges. The dual-tone interiors are contemporary premium in finish. Chrome is prevalent even in the outlining around the air vents. The door mounted armrests have a fabric finish, seats are very comfortable and offer good under thigh support. The side support for the shoulders is good too. The legroom in the back seats is good for someone of average height. Headroom is good overall in both front and rear seats. The Polo is a comfortable car for 4 passengers for long trips. The 5th person may find it a little discomforting courtesy the high tunnel height in the rear.
HOW DOES IT DRIVE
The car I drove was a diesel 1.5 L four-cylinder TDI polo, developing about 88 hp (90 PS) and 230 Nm of torque.Start the engine, step on the pedal and the Polo moves off the line in a smooth fashion. The basic architecture of the engine is the same from the previous model, with a variable geometry turbocharger which force feeds air into the combustion chamber. There is an initial lag till 1500 rpm when the acceleration starts. Go past 3000rpm and the car springs to life till 4500rpm.
The cabin is well insulated from engine sound, even while accelerating courtesy good NVH levels. I drove the manual variant. The 5-speed manual unit is top class like typical Volkswagen transmission units. Shifting up and down the gears is a smooth affair. The gear ratio is spread out specifically to help with the fuel efficiency figures the Polo returns.My driving experience with the Polo was one of sheer joy. After long I drove a hatchback that offered everything one needs to drive in different conditions. In traffic it was easy, power was available when one needed to overtake. The size of the car makes parking an easy affair. The fuel efficiency figures it returned were 15.7 km/l for city driving which is excellent. Safety in the Polo is of the highest standards. ABS and front-dual airbags are standard across its range. An industry first in its segment.
Driving out of town on the weekend in the Polo was when I got to experience the full refinement and power of the 1.5l engine. This is a car that remains planted even at high speeds. Fuel efficiency figures it returned were 18.3 km/l.
The Polo handles all types of roads with ease, something that is a trademark of all VW cars. The suspension is soft enough to assure a comfortable ride quality over long distances. Braking is sharp, which is extremely confidence assuring when pushing the car hard into corners.The Polo is the car that appeals to the enthusiast in every driver.
Prices for the base model 1.5 TDI Trendline (Diesel) ex-showroom Mumbai price start at Rs 7.22 lakhs. The base model 1.0 MPI Trendline (Petrol) ex-showroom Mumbai price start at Rs 5. 7 Lakhs. The top end diesel model GT 1.5 TDI(Diesel) ex-showroom Mumbai price start at Rs.9,70,500. The top end petrol model GT TSI(Petrol) ex-showroom prices start at Rs.9,58,000.