Volkswagen began the volume game in India with the Polo, followed by the Vento. These products began with a hike in the company’s sales, however they couldn’t continue the momentum. To top it up, Volkswagen even slowed down its India plans as the market sees some correction from the excessive growth that it witnessed in the last few years.
Volkswagen however has been introducing several versions of the Polo. First we saw the GT TSI, then came the Cross Polo and now the GT TDI. We get our hands on this new version of the Polo and find out if it is really the next hot hatchback with an oil burner. Read further to understand how does it fare in our tests.
The GT TDI has the same design like the GT TSI. The Polo badges go missing, but here it doesn’t even get the GT stickers on the C-pillar. Volkswagen is attempting to separate the GT range from the regular Polo, but it seems they might have to make some extra effort in making the difference a lot more prominent than what it is at the moment. The twin five-spoke alloy wheels, the design and everything else is the same on the GT TDI. The same front grille with similar smoked-effect headlamps is visible on the GT TDI. The GT TDI gets the same spoiler at the rear as well.
The GT TDI has the same interior styling like the GT TSI and the Polo Highline. It gets sporty seat fabric with dual-tone shade and it has some nice stitching done to it. The GT TDI has a a twin-dial instrument cluster with a three-spoke multi-spoke steering wheel. There is an in-dash music system with auxiliary, USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
The quality of interiors on the GT TDI is good and even the look and feel are good. It comes equipped with dual airbags. The equipment list on the GT TDI is good. The front row seats are large and are extremely comfortable. The thigh and side support is good too. The rear seat knee room is a bit too cramped and even the thigh support could have been better. It is very tight if two six-footers sit on the front and rear seats on the same side.
Engine and Transmission:
The GT TDI comes plonked with a 1.6-litre diesel engine that produces 102bhp of power. This is the same oil burner that powers the Vento and the Rapid. This engine has a lot of diesel clatter, and it is extremely loud on cold starts. The noise is a bit too loud, and we assumed being a Volkswagen the company could have increased the the insulation of the engine compartment and dampen the sound. The power produced by this engine is more than sufficient for city or highway driving. It has turbo lag and it is evident when the engine is spinning under 1800rpm. After this, there is a lot of torque developed once the turbo kicks in. Hence one needs to downshift a bit more often in city driving or even for those quick overtaking manoeuvres.
One of the biggest disappointments have been that the GT TDI doesn't have an automatic transmission. This engine comes mated to a five-speed manual transmission, making it the same drivetrain like the Vento. We expected this also to get an autobox. The other downside of this manual transmission is that the clutch has a lot of travel, which sometimes makes it painful for your knee whilst driving in bumper-to-bumper city traffic.
Volkswagens are always fun to drive and the GT TDI is no different. The Polo chassis has been designed for the Polo Cup and this can take a lot more power than 100bhp. The alacrity of the chassis is good on the road car as well. You push it around a bend and you will get the results. The suspension ensures tyres stick to the ground. The Apollo Acelere on the Polo have a very loud roar on concrete roads. We wish the GT. TDI came with a bit more softer tyres than the currently used Apollos.
The steering wheel is electronic and hence it is extremely light, making it convenient for steering around in city. The ride however is on the stiffer side as you can feel a lot of the road shocks, specially on bad roads. The ride is otherwise supple on smooth roads at low and high speeds.
Volkswagen GT TDI is just Rs 8,000 more than the GT TSI as it costs Rs 8.08 lakhs (e-showroom, Delhi). This is an expensive deal for a hatchback as you have compact sedans with similar power with a lot more space. Our pick will be the GT TSI if you need a powerful hatchback as you even get the benefit of a dual-clutch. GT TSI.