The Polo has been a predominantly successful car model in Volkswagen India’s lineup and it’s not astonishing why the company does not hesitates to maintain a buzz about it in the market by keeping it up-to-date with the trend after nearly 3 years since launch. We’ve already seen the Polo SR and sizzling hot GT editions. So what’s the hoopla of Cross Polo all about? Unlike regular Polo, Cross Polo is blessed with more machoness to appease those buyers who desire to utilize convenience of a hatchback with a SUV’ish attitude. Well, not literally. Although Volkswagen claims to have introduced this version for people seeking an active lifestyle with a taste for adventure but make no mistake. This is not the car someone in his right mind would want to go off-roading with.
European avatar of the Cross Polo offers revised ground clearance as well as fatter rubber but when it comes to Indianised form of it, the story is rather different. Technically, there is no disparity in the specification sheet when compared with Highline Diesel. Nearly all major changes are apparent at a first glance on the exteriors itself. Straight from a single slit chrome accent front grill to a contrast black plastic cladding running across lower end of the entire hatchback.
Standing out evidently are silver toned bumpers coupled with circular foglamps on front (opposed to triangular sharp design) and a stripe of supplementary reflectors on each side of rear in an effort to give the overall car a rugged look. To complement the ‘Cross’ badge are roof rails that have increased Polo’s height by 21 MM over normal variants. Additionally, 10 spoke alloys are swapped with a set of bolder 5 spoke design. All-black interiors have new Livon Titanium upholstery but more or less remain the same.
Though Polo is naturally one of the better handling hatchbacks, 3 cylinders, 1.2 TDi engine (Producing 74 BHP and 180 NM Torque) isn’t something that would particularly delight the enthusiasts. It suffers from a significant turbo lag as well as lacks the refinement and outright punch when one needs it. The engine is annoyingly loud with a clear diesel clatter on all kinds of speeds but switching up the windows does help to an extent to filter out that unwanted noise. Until around 2000 RPM mark, accelerator pedal feels totally unresponsive but it’s only a while after which power begins to develop. Gearshifts are not as smooth as we expected them to be either. However, high speed cruising is what one could enjoy when driving a Polo with true-blue German characteristics that offers a strong stability and sheer sense of sturdiness.
Folks with a habit of upshifting early will require sometime to get accustomed with Polo’s tendency, especially in start stop traffic. And while we’re talking about traffic, I found the clutch pedal to be soft but a bit too over-raised for my preference, making long drives a tiring affair. Just like any other Polo, Cross Polo is fun to handle on curves but light steering wheel is what keeps away from providing enough confidence for sharp maneuvering. The ride quality, on the other hand, is quite impeccable and well-settled for Indian road conditions. Much to my surprise, the braking of Cross Polo felt far more impressive, exactly opposite to our experience with Volkswagen Polo GT TSi test car.
So that’s the Cross Polo for you. This move is much similar to what Volkswagen’s subsidiary brand, Skoda did by bringing Fabia Scout to India but ironically neither of them seems to have clicked in the market so far. With a hefty premium of Rs.60,000+ over regular Polo, does it make sense to put money on the Cross Polo? I doubt. You’re better off aesthetically customizing normal Polo for half of the amount that too according to your taste through aftermarket modifications, which are abundant for this particular car. Or better yet, now that the GT TDi is on sale in market out there, it sure makes for a very tempting package to plonk 25 grand extra for a ‘hot hatch’ that’s as much economical to run but is manufactured to offer more go than the show.
Note: This review is only focused on changes in Cross Polo over regular Polo since we've already extensively covered minutest details of the car in GT TSi review.
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