Ritz is based on the platform of the old Swift, but being a tall boy there is sufficient space on the inside. The fit and finish of the plastic is also decent and the bells and whistles on the offering are good. There isn’t much to complain about the Ritz, except the fact that it now looks aged when compared to competition.
Most of these cars are trendy on the inside, and are built to attract those young at heart. The Ritz gets a separate tachometer and a huge dial, which makes it look funky. The touch and feel of the plastics is decent and the overall fit and finish of the plastics is good for the price tag it comes for.
There is sufficient headroom and legroom for the front passengers and at the rear the Beat is a bit tight on knee room. With Ritz and Beat being a tallboy design, they offer the better head space than the Brio.
LXi/LDi: This is the entry-level model for the petrol and diesel engines with features like 60:40 folding rear seat, cup holder in console, ashtray, iCATS, child lock, power steering, manual air conditioner, body coloured bumpers, internally adjusted ORVMs, green tinted glass windows, roof antenna, double horn, etc.
VXi/VDi: This is the mid-variant that sits above the LXi/LDi and it gets features like fabric insert on door trims, front power windows, rear power windows, full wheel cover, black colored B pillar, seatbelt reminder, front seat under tray, etc.
VXi / VDi (ABS): This is upgrade model of petrol version with all the features of Maruti Ritz VXI with ABS (Antilock Braking System) as an extra fitment for safety.
ZXi: This is the highest trim level available only on the petrol version with extra features like radio + CD with speakers, parcel tray, seat height adjuster, cigar lighter, tilt steering, steering wheel mounted audio controls, dual air bags and front ELR seat belt with pretension.
The interiors of the Polo are well designed and even the bells and whistles now on offer are good in the segment. It is only the rear seat space that is a bit of an issue.
The Polo might be the smallest of all Volkswagens, but the German manufacturer has ensured their current smallest hatch also has high quality interiors. The fit and finish of the plastic is amazing and even the look and feel of the materials of the good too. The Polo now even offers most of the features that other B+ segment hatchbacks offer. It has a new music system with SD card reader, Bluetooth connectivity, USB and aux connection too. The Polo also has steering-mounted audio controls too.
The front row seats are large and feel comfortable just like any other big German car. These seats are good enough for a long drives and one won’t feel tired either. The second row of interiors isn’t that spacious as the first row as the knee room is a bit too tight for tall occupants. The boot isn’t that large also.
Both the engines on the Ritz are good and picking amongst both won’t be a bad decision. Hence, choose the engine as per your usage. The drivability on both is good, and even the gearbox is slick. Fuel efficiency will not be a let down factor either.
Ritz gets the recently developed K-Series 1.2-litre petrol motor, which is refined but is a bit languorous as one has to work through, to extract performance. This mill produces 84bhp of power and 113Nm of maximum torque. Refinement levels of the engine are high, and it is a freely revving motor. The gear lever of the Ritz is short and the shifts are positive. The engine doesn’t pant at low speeds as there is sufficient torque even when you drive it in a higher gear. However, one needs to shift down for quick overtaking in the city and the highway.
Previous generation Swift had earned notoriety with its diesel engine. The engine was highly refined with low NVH levels and sufficient torque. The Ritz has the same 1.3-litre DDiS engine. This engine produces 75bhp and a maximum torque of 190Nm.
There is some amount of lag in this engine and it performs well only if the revs are kept above 2000rpm for best performance. One has to downshift to make those overtaking moves. The engine comes mated to a five-speed manual transmission that is slick with positive and short throws.
The power produced by the Polo engines is good, but the petrol and diesel have some drivability issues, especially when you consider the gearing that seem to be designed for European market.
A new Volkswagen engine has been used on the Polo. It has the new 1.5-litre diesel engine that replaces the 1.2-litre and even produces 90bhp instead of 75bhp. This mill has a strong mid-range and high end. There is a lot of turbo lag and the engine needs to be revved above 2000rpm to reach the power band. The power produced by most of the competition including the Swift is a lot more linear than the Polo. Volkswagen has upgraded the engine for more power and soon the GT TDI will be available with the same engine but 103bhp of power.
The five-speed manual transmission has short throws and the box is slick. It doesn’t feel even a bit rubbery. The ratios are good for highway driving, while in the city one has to work out his way to extract some good performance. The fuel efficiency of this mill is good as the 1.5-litre mill from Volkswagen is extremely frugal.
1.2-litre turbo petrol:
This is the new 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine and it is different from the regular 1.2-litre petrol as that is a three-pot mill. This engine produces 104bhp of power, which is equivalent to the 1.6-litre petrol engine that once powered the Polo. The NVH levels are fairly low, except for cold starts when the engine is noisy. The engine screams as it revs above 4000rpm. Blip the throttle, and the transmission responds immediately, and at the time it shifts smoothly while cruising. This is an all-aluminium engine and it has been turbocharged as well. Even though the power produced by this engine as same as the 1.6-litre, it is the torque spread that is much better on this new engine. As even the engine is lighter and has a lower displacement, it is more fuel-efficient. With this engine, Volkswagen gets the duty-cut as the displacement is under 1.2-litre.
Another segment first is that it is a seven-speed direct-Shift Gearbox (DSG). The gear ratios on this box are tailored as per the Indian driving cycle for maximum utilisation of power. There is also tiptronic transmission, if you like to make those manual shifts. We sorely missed the paddles shifts. From what we learn, Volkswagen could introduce the paddle shifts at a later stage.
1.2-litre petrol engine:
The 1.2-litre petrol engine on the Polo has the same displacement like the diesel engine. This is also a three-pot mill that produces about 75bhp of power. This engine has good power and even the low-end torque is good. The mid range is strong and the power increases with the rise in engine speed. We aren’t impressed with the NVH levels as the engine is louder than one would have liked.
The five-speed manual transmission has short throws and the box is slick. It doesn’t feel even a bit rubbery. The ratios are good for highway driving, while in the city one has to work out his way to extract some good performance. But it is the fuel efficiency that hasn’t impressed us, as it returns about 9-10km/l in normal city driving.
The Ritz being softly sprung, its ride is well compliant. The handling might just not impress you too much, as there is some amount of body roll. The Ritz isn’t made for driving enthusiasts.
The powertrains on most of the hatchbacks in this segment are similar if not the same. It is the driving characteristics that vary. To be more specific, it is more of the handling that differs than the ride quality. All the cars in this segment have a sorted ride as the suspension doesn’t jiggle and disturb the peace of the occupants. Road undulations are well-taken care by the suspension. The Ritz has one of the best ride suppleness as it underpins the softest suspension set-up that glides over potholes.
The suspension set-up is the softest on the Ritz. Drive it quickly around a bend and you shall notice the body roll as this hatchback lack the dynamism that other competition possesses. The steering feels a bit slack at higher speeds, which further doesn’t any confidence into the driver. However, it is lightweight at low speeds, which makes driving a breeze in city traffic.
The ride and handling of the Polo has been tweaked for a perfect combination of both. The handling of the Polo is very nimble and even the ride is sorted, though it is wee bit stiff.
The Polo chassis has been designed for Polo Cup Racing and hence this design can take a lot more engine power and torque than what it is currently being sold with. The Polo chassis is extremely agile and the hatchback does handle well. The Polo is as good as any other Volkswagen vehicle when it comes to handling.
The ride of the Volkswagen Polo is also well sorted. The McPherson struts on the Polo are well sorted and ride is supple. The springs absorb most of the jolts and undulations the ride a lot more comfortable for occupants. The light steering wheel ensures convenient driving in the city and also tire-free long trips.