In a country where diesel is the drink of choice when it comes to your car, we find out if the Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TDI hits the sweet spot!
The mid size hatch segment is boiling and options are numerous. Few cars stand out from the crowd and one of them is the globally successful Volkswagen Polo. Volkswagen have been through an extremely aggressive ad campaign and its spelling out to be successful for the German auto giant.
It is definitely a hot hatch which is quick and under control all the time. Even though it doesn't have the initial of a GT TDI, it doesn't disappoint you and leave you with a smile on your face once you ride it. The braking is a big highlight of the car. I've had situations where I thought I would hit the car infront of which came to sudden stop but managed to stop my car inches away from it.
The bad side would be the high cost of maintenance it comes with and also the lack of Good service centres Volkswagen has. Service center people have sometimes misused the cars of their customers which is not at all good for the reputation of Volkswagen.
But such cons are overshadowed by the sheer driving joy the car gives to rider.
Now into the proper details
Exteriors – The exteriors remain the same between the petrol and diesel versions. The VW logo in the center of the bonnet is catching and the headlight assembly is nicely shaped and defines the look of the car. The lower part of the front bumper is aerodynamically designed with sharp projections on either side, just below the fog light area.. Sharp lines running along the sides look appealing and enhance the look of the car in general. The rear is slightly disappointing compared to the overall look of the car, it looks slightly outdated, especially the tail light cluster. TDI badge on the lower right corner is the only way to distinguish between a petrol and diesel variant. Integrated spoiler and boot opener integrated with the VW logo is classy. Overall the car looks sleek and stylish.
Boot space is on the healthier side and rear seats can be folded in approximately 60:40 ratio.
Step in and the one is greeted with 2 tone black and beige interiors.
Seats are comfortable but if you are a tall driver, you are in for some trouble as your left leg would hit the center console while driving (using the clutch) and one would probably need a knee guard like the one used in MotoGP. To overcome this, one is forced to take the seat further behind and its a bit better. Driver seat height adjuster and tilt adjustable steering is standard. A small glitch shadows the door locking mechanism. The doors do not auto lock and can be opened and locked only from the drivers side. All 4 power windows are provided but the rear windows cannot be rolled up or down from the drivers side. Quite funny since the driver can control all four windows in most cars. Surprisingly no electrically adjustable mirrors, not expected from a premium hatchback. Rear headroom and legroom is adequate. Seats are comfortable.
Built Quality – The Germans are known for top notch build quality and even though VW’s tagline says “German engineering, made in India”, the built quality is indeed German. The Polo’s built quality is as good as the Polo’s reputation internationally. Plastic quality is top notch and hard to find any panel gaps even with a microscope. Potholes are well soaked by the suspension with hardly much being passed onto the passengers. Doors shut with a loud thud and top of the line variants come loaded with ABS and Airbags, adding to the safety. German engineering also does not go with any rattles and squeaks and so did the Polo.
On the Move – The 1.2 liter 3 cylinder engine starts with a wee bit of vibration. Slot into first and one notices that the Polo’s gearbox is one of the best in the segment. Effortless short shifts with no hint of notchiness or rubbery feel at all. The TDI engine feels extremely sluggish till about 2000 rpm and there on, the Polo is a pocket rocket.
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