VW Polo - The king of Hatchbacks
What really inspires me to participate is I see a lot of reviews about the Polo diesel, but hardly any about the Polo Petrol. So the next best thing to do for me was to write a review of my own, about my Polo comfortline 1.2 Petrol. I'm no car expert but I do hope the reader gets a fairly good idea about his expectations from the Polo. I bought the car at a time when VW was going through a tumultuous phase owing to the "diesel gate" scandal. I was perturbed initially, but on second thoughts I figured out that since it was a Petrol, my contributions to environmental detriment would be lesser. I would evaluate on four main counts which matter to me. These are Looks, Drive, Features and Economy. Hopefully this should highlight pros and cons of the car. Looks: When we discuss looks, I'm fond of stylish yet subtle. And my Polo perfectly fits the bill. It's a grey car with neat straight lines and an confident 'ready to pounce' stance. The car at the first look distinguishes itself with its elegance and sophistication. Even a layman would figure out that it has a different classy aura about it. The car has powerful road presence with wide tyres. It commands respect and makes me proud even among expensive cars. It appears heavy and solid. For the interior the Polo exudes a luxurious and premium feel. The instrument cluster and other controls look posh and high-quality. The front space is quite comfortable and I'm 5'11". The rear seats may not feel comfortable due to knee space constraints. The boot is ample and can easily accommodate four regular suitcases with adjustments in the tray. The inbuilt Music system is great and rich even at low volumes. Drive Being a hatchback it is expected to give very good maneuverability specially on city roads. I regularly travel on a route which is through villages on the outskirts of Kolkata and is serpentine with lakes and paddy fields on both sides. My Polo is very very sure footed and gives optimum confidence even while clocking 40-50 KMPH on these roads. I have previously driven asian made hatchbacks in the ghat sections of Coorg and around the Bellandur Lake (Bengaluru), but I found those cars wobbling at sharp turns if you pushed the pedal a bit. But the Polo behaves very differently and grips the road perfectly even in high (considerable) speeds. It never wobbles which may be due to the heavy weight of the car and lower ground clearance. A car is a dream to drive on highways. As I said its very sure footed and grips the road like a snake on a tree. During overtakes you have ample power and the steering feels highly accurate. However due to the heavy weight, I must mention that the car doesn't respond to quick accelerations, unless the tachometer revs up to at least 1500 RPM's. This is a disadvantage on city roads also where you may not feel very comfortable overtaking quickly if you are at lower gears, or the other way out would be to shift down. Having said that, there is an advantage too, which is, once revved up the car easily pushes up to 110-120 Kms on highways and never makes you feel out of place. I haven't pushed it further as I'm concerned about safety. The German engineering and solid make of the car does give you a sense of added safety. And yes, inside, the car feels like a silent room, with zero NVH. Features The car meets all the checks expected out of a premium luxury hatchback from a feature per se. It has Airbags as standard across variants. And the Highline comes with all the bells and whistles including ABS and EBD. And if you can pour more sugar, the Polo GTI is the father of performance hatchbacks. However I will stick to the 1.2 Comfortline here. As I mentioned earlier the car feels premium and luxurious inside. The upholstery is subtle and high quality. A lot of people talk about the plastic being used, though I don't find anything special about it. The inbuilt Music system is indeed a pleasure with four speakers. My polo also has a tilt and telescopic steering, which is quite useful if the car is expected to be used by many people. It does help me as I have tuned it considering my height and leg space required. The electronic functions (ORVM's, Steering) act very precise and respond accurately. The information panel provides all kinds of information including cautions for periodic maintenance. The AC works perfectly fine in the hot and Humid Kolkata weather and surprisingly instead of slowing down the car, when turned on, it gives a surge to the acceleration. Am not sure if this is specific to my car, but during heavy traffic I'm watchful about it. From the first touch of the door handle you will realize that not only it feels like a premium car, but it is also heavier than its Asian counterparts. The doors are heavy, solid and close with a definite thud. Economy This is one area I have not thought about too much, because my average expenditure around fuel and maintenance cost remains almost same and minor variation do not really pinch. However during long highway drives the information panel at times declares a mileage of 20 KM! But to be honest, the car is not very economic and on an average I get about 12 - 14 KMPL. This is calculated within city drives on a full tank to full tank method. There are no free maintenance schedule for Polo, but they have recently introduce a free inspection at 7000 KMs. Nevertheless the first service occurs after 15000 KMs or a year and thereafter repeats the same interval. This may be considered economic than other cars as their maintenance schedule is normally biannually and for lower KMs. Also it must be mentioned here that the maintenance costs are at least 10% - 15% higher than Asian cars. But considering the advantages, this is something I can live with. I could go on and on, but the gist would remain that VW Polo is a fantastic car and though there are minor cons, it is worth the ownership experience. In fact I have decided that my next car would again be from the VW stable. It may sound disconcerting, but the snob value of the car does make me feel proud and gives it a distinctive character.
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