Volkswagen Polo Expert Review

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Introduction

The new version of the Polo has been tweaked with some minor updates, specifically to the interiors. On the outside, it remains largely unchanged. It’s clear that buyers loved the car's styling, as over the years, its design has remained largely unchanged. The interiors come with the same, fresh styling that features a dual-tone colour scheme, fabric upholstered seats and a silver centre console. The Polo is available with two petrol and one diesel engine with the latter being offered in two states of tune.

Pros
  • Clean, no-frills design looks classy and understated.
  • Build quality inside out is best-in-class. Doors close with a thunk, no trace of scratchy plastics in the interior.
  • Loaded with features such as automatic AC, touchscreen infotainment, auto-dimming mirror etc.
  • Available with a variety of engine-transmission options.
Cons
  • Rear seat space is nothing to write home about. High-transmission tunnel effectively makes it a four-seater.
  • Volkswagen’s after-sales service doesn’t have the reach of established rivals such as Maruti / Hyundai.

Stand Out Features

  • Features such as rain-sensing wipers, cruise control are unique to the Polo in its class.

    Features such as rain-sensing wipers, cruise control are unique to the Polo in its class.

  • <strong>Dual-airbags as standard.</strong>

    Dual-airbags as standard.

CarDekho Verdict

The Volkswagen Polo is the brand’s bread and butter model. It offers great build quality, impeccable fit and finish levels, premium interiors and a clean design.

"The Polo is a great buy if you won’t be using the rear seats often, and need nothing but a well-built car to tackle the daily grind."

It isn’t as spacious as its contemporaries, and could’ve been priced a tad aggressively as well. The Polo is a great buy if you won’t be using the rear seats often, and need nothing but a well-built car to tackle the daily grind.

Exterior

Few people would deny that this is one of the most modern looking and stylish hatchbacks in the market. The styling is sporty, but understated and mature at the same time. It’s a balance that none of its rivals have struck so far.

 

With a length of 3,971mm, width of 1,682mm and height of 1,469mm, the Polo is just the right size for an urban hatchback.

 

The Polo’s design is clean with a nearly flat shoulder line, a few chiseled touches along the body panels and gently beefed up wheel arches.

At the front, the slim grille has been given touches of silver, while the large VW brand emblem rests at the centre of it. Flanking this on either side, the sharp headlamp clusters add to the aggressive image of the front.

A thin chrome garnish runs across the top of the air dam, adding a subtle premium touch.

The bonnet gets two creases down its length to add an aggressive touch. These creases seem to begin where the A-pillars end.

Arguably, the Polo is best viewed from the side. The design is lean and the windowline kink creates a swooping effect that leads to the front.

We’re happy to note that 15-inch 'Estrada' alloy wheels have been well-designed and you won’t feel the need to change them.

The Polo looks rather cute at the rear thanks to the square tail lights. The Germans have been obsessive in their need for cleanliness in design and apart from the minimalist badging, the VW logo itself has been utilized to double up as a lever for the tailgate.

Exterior Comparison

Volkswagen Polo Maruti Swift Maruti Baleno
Length (mm) 3971 3850 3995
Width (mm) 1682 1695 1745
Height (mm) 1469 1530 1510
Ground Clearance (mm) 165 170 170
Wheel Base (mm) 2469 2430 2520
Kerb Weight (kg) 1126 - 970
 

Boot Space Comparison

Volkswagen Polo Maruti Swift Maruti Baleno
Volume 280-liters 204-liters 339-litres
 

 

Interior

The interiors are neither too cramped nor too spacious, but if you're looking to be chauffeur driven, the cabin may disappoint. The front row space is par for the course, but the space at the rear is inadequate and can’t hold a stone to the likes of the Honda Jazz or Maruti Baleno.

The dual tone colour scheme is classy and it definitely has our approval. The centre console comes with a silver finish that looks great too.

A pair of AC vents are present at the top of the console which itself is slightly angled towards the driver. The Polo also gets the addition of touchscreen infotainment system with mirrorlink connectivity, which allows you to integrate your smartphone into the system, so that the screen of the phone is shown in the head-unit’s display.

At the bottom is a climatronic air conditioning system that comes along with a thin display. A large storage space opens out below the console, where you could probably keep your phone and other spare items.

The flat-bottomed steering wheel is draped in leather and the chrome accents add an opulent touch to it. The steering is good to grip and gets mounted controls as well.

The instrument cluster has a layout that’s easy on the eyes. Not as comprehensive as the Baleno’s, but not as complicated either. The cluster houses a speedometer, tachometer and an MID that displays the instant and average fuel consumption. You also get a distance-to-empty readout along with a service reminder..

The Polo comes with an auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror with more convenience features like a 12V charging socket and a sunglass holder in the glovebox that is cooled as well.

The fabric upholstery is of a decent quality. For storage, you get pockets in the doors, a glovebox and sprucing up the cabin are features like ambient lights, cruise control and USB/AUX/SD-card inputs.

Performance

Diesel:

The diesel engine is a 1.5-litre unit that plates up 90PS of power and 230Nm of torque. The motor offers great performance and driveability in the city and on the highway. More importantly, it’s better than the old 3-cylinder that originally powered the Polo. The 5-speed manual gearbox is easy to use with well defined gear gates and if you want a little more performance, the same engine is available in a higher state of tune (105PS/250Nm) in the Polo GT TDI.

Performance Comparison (Diesel)

Maruti Swift Maruti Baleno Volkswagen Polo
Power 74bhp@4000rpm 74bhp@4000rpm 108.5bhp@4400rpm
Torque (Nm) 190Nm@2000rpm 190Nm@2000rpm 250Nm@1500-2500rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1248 1248 1498
Transmission Manual Manual Manual
Top Speed (kmph) 155 kmph 170 Kmph 183.8 kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 14.8 Seconds 12.93 seconds 10.51 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 1060kg 980kg 1148kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 25.2kmpl 27.39kmpl 21.49kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 69.81132075471697 bhp/ton 75.51020408163265 bhp/ton 94.51219512195122 bhp/ton
 

Petrol:

While the diesel is good in both states of tune, the petrol is a tale of two extremes. The 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder MPI engine offers acceptable performance for city usage, but isn’t engaging on the highway and lacks refinement. With 75PS of power and 110Nm of torque available, it’s not as powerful as many of its rivals. The GT TSI, however, is one of the most popular performance hatchbacks in India. The turbocharged 4-cylinder mill produces 105PS of power and 175Nm of torque, and while the standard Polo petrol gets a 5-speed manual gearbox, the GT TSI gets a 7-speed dual clutch autobox that offers slick shifts and rapid progress. It helps in keeping a relaxed left-foot when you’re stuck in city traffic and enables quick downshifts when you’re zipping through truckers on those weekend trips.

Performance Comparison (Petrol)

Maruti Baleno Maruti Swift Volkswagen Polo
Power 83.1bhp@6000rpm 83.11bhp@6000rpm 103.5bhp@5000rpm
Torque (Nm) 115Nm@4000rpm 115Nm@4000rpm 175Nm@1500-4100rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 1197 1197 1197
Transmission Automatic Manual Automatic
Top Speed (kmph) 180 Kmph 160 kmph 190 kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) 12.79 seconds 12.3 Seconds 9.7 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) 935kg 965kg 1109 kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 21.4kmpl 20.4kmpl 17.21kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 88.87700534759358 bhp/ton 86.12435233160622 bhp/ton 93.32732191163211 bhp/ton

Ride and Handling:

The Polo handles and behaves like a typical European hatchback. It’s build solid and offers great stability with minimal body roll when you’re pushing it in the corners. The steering is light for city usage, but is communicative too. It can also deal with road undulations and broken patches fairly well, but hit a pothole too quick and you will feel it in the cabin. There are more ‘India-friendly’ suspension setups available in the market, but as long as you’re careful, the Polo can deal with municipal callousness quite well.

Safety

The Polo gets dual airbags as standard with ABS offered from the mid-range model onwards. Volkswagen has built this hatchback well and you also get the small, but significant safety features like anti-pinch power windows and the aforementioned auto-dimming interior rear-view mirror.

Safety Comparison

Volkswagen Polo Maruti Baleno Maruti Swift
Airbags righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose
ABS righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose
EBD close righticonClose righticonClose

Variants

  • Diesel
  • Petrol
Variants Features Price
1.5 TDI Trendline Driver Seat Height Adjuster, Power Windows Front, Dual Airbag, 7.03 Lakh*
1.5 TDI Comfortline [ In adition to 1.5 TDI Trendline ] Anti-Lock Braking System, Rear Defogger, Multifunctional Display, [ Variant 1.5 TDI Trendline price ] + 91,300 =  7.94 Lakh*
1.5 TDI Highline [ In adition to 1.5 TDI Comfortline ] Multifunctional Steering, Automatic Climate Control, Rear Parking Sensors, [ Variant 1.5 TDI Comfortline price ] + 66,100 =  8.6 Lakh*
GT 1.5 TDI [ In adition to 1.5 TDI Highline ] Aluminium Pedals, GT Badge, Powerful Engine, [ Variant 1.5 TDI Highline price ] + 73,700 =  9.34 Lakh*
Variants Features Price
1.2 MPI Trendline Power Windows Front, Dual Front Airbag, Air Conditioning, 5.52 Lakh*
1.2 MPI Comfortline [ In adition to 1.2 MPI Trendline ] Remote Central Locking, Rear Defogger, Anti-Lock Braking System, [ Variant 1.2 MPI Trendline price ] + 68,900 =  6.21 Lakh*
1.2 MPI Highline [ In adition to 1.2 MPI Comfortline ] Bluetooth Connectivity, Multifunctional Steering, Rear Parking Sensors, [ Variant 1.2 MPI Comfortline price ] + 89,300 =  7.1 Lakh*
GT TSI [ In adition to 1.2 MPI Highline ] GT Badge, Powerful turbocharged engine, Automatic Transmission, [ Variant 1.2 MPI Highline price ] + 2,09,600 =  9.2 Lakh*

We recommend getting the fully-loaded Highline variant as it gets the full-fat feature list. At the least, if you are buying the Polo, get the Comfortline variant as it does not miss out on ABS. If you are getting the diesel, it may be prudent to avoid the GT TDI as the premium it commands over the standard diesel is quite hefty and the standard 1.5 isn’t an underperformer. The GT TSI is the best blend of practicality, ease of use and performance.

Volkswagen Polo similar cars to compare & consider  
*Ex-showroom price

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