Owning a car with the German craftsmanship was a costly affair until the folks at Volkswagen decided to launch the Polo hatchback in India. And now, India's most budget friendly poshest hatchback has received a mild facelift. What are these changes and how good it is to drive, we find in our Volkswagen Polo 1.5-litre TDI review?
The updated Polo has received hardly any change when compared to the previous model and you need a keen eye to look out for the differences. The front looks as ravishing as ever with rectangular headlights and fog lights and the chrome line on the grille gives it a unique look. The side profile has a flowing design that integrates well with the rear end. The rear end gets squarish tail lamps and we particularly love the VW badge, which also acts as the boot latch.
We couldn't find an iota of a problem in the cabin and this is one of the best cabin when it comes to material quality and overall feel. The new Polo comes with ACC, cooled glove box, and cruise control, though we are surprised to see there's still no start stop button. Talking of the instrument cluster, it's made simple, yet crisp and clear with all the necessary data. Special mention to the flat bottom steering, which adds a flair to the cabin.
The seats are on a bit of stiffer side, both in the front and the back. If you like the front seats, chances are you will loathe the rear seats. Reason being, there's not ample space in the rear seats both in terms of the legroom as well as the shoulder room. The central tunnel ensures that the fifth occupant can't move legs freely.
Engine, Performance and Gearbox
If you are a performance person, this is the car for you! We drove the 1.5-litre TDI engine that is capable of producing 90 PS and 230 Nm of torque. The mid range torque is one of the best in the segment and this is a car where you should opt for the driver's seat instead of the passenger of rear seats.The power kicks in pretty late, somewhere after 1700-1800 rpm, but once you are there, the power is in ample, and you will hit the 100 kmph mark in no time.
The gear ratios are pretty low, which means you have to change gears all the time when in bumper to bumper traffic, which could be tiring. Though, when on the highway, cruising over 100 kmph is a breezy affair. It comes with a 5-speed manual gearbox with this beefy knob which feels sporty to operate.
Ride and Handling
The ride quality is a bit on the stiff side, which is justified considering, it is made for the performance. The downside is, you will feel most of the bumps if going through a rough patch. The handling on the other hand, is one of the segment best, and at par with the Maruti Suzuki Swift, which is considered a benchmark. Be it high speed curves or be it city maneuvering, Polo's steering will help you conquer all the situations with an ease.
Safety and Features
The Polo comes with dual airbags and ABS and has been given 4-star in the global NCAP safety rating, which makes it the safest hatchback in India. It's surprising to see that VW Polo doesn't come with a touchscreen infotainment system, which is in fashion now-a-days. But since the build quality is so perfect, we can hardly complain. There's no push button start and reverse camera. Elsewise, a cooled glovebox, cruise control, auto. climate control, all are available in the Polo.
Volkswagen Polo checks all the boxes that define a good hatchback. It looks good, has a solid built, feels rich inside the cabin and performs really well. If you are a keen driver and need something premium, but are short on budget, this could be a good buy.