Volkswagen Polo Road Test Drive Review


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So you thought we are going to talk about Polo, The mint with a hole? Well, The Polo which we have got in our hands today is entirely different, though it still shares a common similarity that it tempted us, just like a small kid would be after holding that mint candy. The new Volkswagen Polo is an effort by German car maker to grab hold the premium hatchback segment of Indian market. Also depending upon its fate we may possibly notice rolling out of more such products in future, and as per the news, Polo has already received quite a lot of bookings resulting in wait list of two to four months which must be a sign of joy for Volkswagen Auto.
 
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How It Looks Outside?

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The designers at Volkswagen have styled the Polo really very well to suit the taste of large amount of audiences. With that sophisticated and well shaped design, Polo looks a ‘typical’ premium hatchback in real terms and is of course up-market as well, thus, we won’t be surprised if it is easily distinguished amongst many other hatches while running on public roads.

Although, initially we had a complaint about absence of smoked headlamps like of European version but we have now sooner or later gotten used to Indian ones too, which aren’t any dull looking either, Also thanks to the new dual chrome stripe radiator grill which adds an elegant touch. The side profile is not so great looker and some may even find it incomplete or boring but for those who don’t believe in much show, this is a perfect combination of simplicity and elegance. Bold wheel arches increase the car's muscular feel and merges along with the waist line.

Similar to Chevy Beat, Polo too has swept back style wing mirrors which prevent any damage to them in-case another motorist hits, which is quite a familiar scene in India. The subtle styled integrated rear spoiler adds some excitement to rear design which is however; in any case poles apart when compared to front. The small pentagonal tail lamps aren’t eye catching and look alike with old Fiat Uno, but Volkswagen logo at the center of hatch is not just another monogram, A good amount of thought process must have gone behind because it actually acts as a push-type boot opening lid, like we saw in Passat and Jetta.

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How It Looks Inside?

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All four doors open wide enough with three step function and hears a nice grunt when shut. Move inside and you certainly find the interiors to be redefined with practical touches around. Volkswagen has taken the care well so that there are less squeaks & rattles when car goes into motion, also, a typical German luxury is what you get out from Polo. The cabin feels chic due to beige and black color mix match and quality of plastics is quite commendable to an extent.

Three spoke steering is nice to hold and weighs well, which greatly maneuvers in tight city traffic. Horn is just at your thumb’s reach whereas speedometer console is placed right behind and is good to look at especially during dark when lit up, Moreover, the multi-function display screen provides useful information such as current and average fuel consumption, range, journey distance, odometer and time. The front Seats are amazingly comfortable and most of the controls are within driver’s reach.

The Air-conditioner vents have simple design like in earlier generation cars but it chills the cabin real quick. Storage spaces like glove box have well managed compartments like sun glass holder and coin holder. The Power windows are truly powerful and roll down quickly at slight touch. Now, jump behind at the rear seats, the leg space is much limited but should be comfortable for two average size persons. But thanks to small quarter glass which makes rear a bit airy.

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How It Moves?

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Polo 1.2 Petrol has one of the best and frugal engines under the hood which is class rivaling to Maruti’s K series. This 1198cc is boasted out of just three cylinder's and is the same which is seen in Skoda Fabia. However, Polo makes out figures of 74BHP @ 5400RPM and 110Nm @ 3750 RPM. Cranking the engine could jerk up even a sleeping driver but once it is started, there is barely any noise or vibrations. Let it be bumper to bumper city traffic or a quarter-mile competition, Polo is all set to race. It’s simple, smooth and powerful. You need to drive it to feel it. Just move it on to first gear, it smoothly revs and redlines up to 42kph, Further in 3rd gear it could even cross hundred kph, and I’m sure it’d be real fun driving1.6 once it is out.

Volkswagen’s 1198cc diesel mill produces 74bhp @ 4200rpm & 180NM of torque @ 2000rpm. Though we all know that diesel engines have turbo lag up to 1650rpm or max to 1750rpm but this is my first time I am experiencing a greater turbo lag of 2100rpm. This doesn’t make it much pleasurable to drive inside city.


The gearing ratios are not okay for any cities which have bumper to bumper traffic. Polo really struggles to find a pace at the lower speed at higher gears. Just slot in to gear 1 & it moves sluggishly up to 2100rpm & adrenaline rushes only after 2100rpm which makes a mark to 42kmph & 2nd gear pulls up 88kmph with 3rd gear touching 120kmph. This engine really feels home only at the revs (2200rpm - 4500rpm), in a slow moving traffic, TDI engine gets busted & doesn't manage 20kmph in 3rd gear, Even if you floor the pedal down to the ground.

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How It Performs?

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Starting with refinement, Polo stays a mile ahead from the rest in terms of handling and performance. The Gear is are heaven to work with and thanks to the short throw slick shift gear ratios, its knob is easy to hold and slots in perfectly. Grounding the gas pedal rushes polo to destination and light steering helps drive during parking as well as in slow moving traffic easier. The Ground clearance of 168mm is great and most of the bumpy roads in the city are absorbed by McPherson struts with stabilizer bars at the front and Semi-independent trailing arm at the rear.

Rushing from 0 to 100 can be achieved in 14+ seconds which is not class leading and braking with the help of ABS always assures that you are safe at any speed. The front wheel comes with disc brakes where as rear has drums. Additionally, Polo Highline comes with seven spoke alloys coupled with 185/60 R15 Apollo Acelere tires as standard.

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How safe it is ?

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Safety is not the least factor at least for Germans and so the Volkswagen Polo, therefore it comes with a standard list of safety features such as Dual Air Bags, Ultra high-strength steel frame, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), 3-point inertia front seat belts etc. and with an extremely frugal 3 pot engine, 1.2 L Petrol gives around 12kmpl in City and 16kmpl on highways, whereas the diesel returns average of 14 Kpl and 19 Kpl in city and highways respectively.

What We Like In Polo?

  • Elegant Looks
  • Refined Petrol Engine
  • Robust Build quality
  • Slick shift gears
  • Ground Clearance
What We Dis-Like In Polo?

  • Poor Dealership Network
  • Auto Climate control
  • No Steering mounted Controls
  • No separate lock for each door
  • No vanity mirrors
 
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The Automotive India Star Ratings

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  • Design -
    (4/5)
  • Quality -
    (4.5/5)
  • Comfort Levels -
    (4.5/5)
  • Performance -
    (4/5)
  • Ride Quality -
    (5/5)
  • Handling -
    (4/5)
  • Fuel Efficiency -
    (3.5/5)
  • Safety -
    (4.5/5)
  • After Sales Service -
    (2.5/5)
  • Value For Money -
    (4/5)
The Verdict

Polo is an important product for Volkswagen in India and it has already become a benchmark of its own when it comes to engineering and build, additionally its looks are pleasing too which can suit a person of any age group. So, Does it have all to take the competition? Yes. Apart from the weak After Sales Network, Polo currently appears to be the best hatch for its price.
 
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Chrome headlamp eyelids adds a classy touch.
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We're not a fan of these tail lamps, Are you?
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ORVMs provide a clear rear view.
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Fiat Linea'ish color combination on door pads.
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Boot Space is generous.
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Volkswagen Monogram works as boot lid, an innovative touch.
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Polo Looks hottest in this color.
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Hatch door flies up right.
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Report Credits:
Road Test & Photography:Zinam
Text & Format: 350Z
 
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Hey Good report pictures and review Zinam and 350Z! Good job once again and nice to see Zinam in action after a long time! I am in love with the red Polo!

The Interiors are looking real quality and finish but the rear leg room feels very cramped to me! The boot space i feel also is only adequate for a Hatch but i like the push button boot opener and the also the position of the opened boot door! But the rear is looking rather ordinary when compared to the front! But i feel the smoked headlamps would have looked even more appealing. The seven spoked alloys are also looking great!



The diesel engine must be a real pain to drive in the city then i guess with a huge turbo lag! But the FE figures are great for the diesel as well as Petrol.

But i see no electric operated ORVM'S?

Is that pink fluid present under the bonnet the windshield washer?

And also what is that knob present in the right side of the steering wheel?
 
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Hey Good report pictures and review Zinam and 350Z! Good job once again and nice to see Zinam in action after a long time! I am in love with the red Polo!
Thanks Dhaya! Yes, I am back & you will see more reviews from me!

The Interiors are looking real quality and finish but the rear leg room feels very cramped to me! The boot space i feel also is only adequate for a Hatch but i like the push button boot opener and the also the position of the opened boot door! But the rear is looking rather ordinary when compared to the front! But i feel the smoked headlamps would have looked even more appealing. The seven spoked alloys are also looking great!
I can't say its cramped, It has adequate room for everyone!

The diesel engine must be a real pain to drive in the city then i guess with a huge turbo lag! But the FE figures are great for the diesel as well as Petrol.
Its tough to gear up & down in bumper-bumper traffic. But Petrol engine is just terrific!

But i see no electric operated ORVM'S?
No Electric ORVMs. Only Manual.

Is that pink fluid present under the bonnet the windshield washer?
Is the G12 coolant for VW brands.

And also what is that knob present in the right side of the steering wheel?
Thats the headlight control which you can find in many European / German cars.
 
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Brilliant review Zinam! A comprehensive and complete report of the VW Polo. I was awaiting this so eagerly! Though stingy space at the back is a very disconcerting factor.
(Less space=[cry])
I do hope that the rear seat is able to take two adults and a small teen at the back. The quality is terrific, though the equipment list is too short and I wouldn't really say the Polo is value-for-money. Happy to hear that the petrol engine is great (I had apprehensions about it). Though it is close, I feel my heart is tilting towards the white Polo [confused]
 
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Thanks Amaan.

Polo easily takes 3 adults at the rear. Only if they are above average, its tougher to pack.

Just checkout the car & drive it once, then you will feel its value for money factor!
 

Akash

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Excellent report Zinam.I was eagerly waiting for this report. I find Polo a really good in the premium hatch segment. I thought Polo would be priced on a higher side but with this price tag it surely attracted many and the result is, theres a long waiting period to own this german beauty.
 
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Thanks Akash!

This German beauty is priced well & slow production rate is what creates the long waiting period! But sure Polo has redefined the Indian Auto Scene.
 
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