2019 Volkswagen Polo GT TDI review: Pocket-rocket hatchback
NEW DELHI: Is a decade too long for a car? If you think so, meet the hero of today’s story. Enduring several facelifts, a sea of competition and yet retaining the charm over the years, Volkswagen Polo sailed into its 2019 avatar.
Power-packed and entertaining to drive, the Polo fetches most of its traits from its predecessor. Currently priced at Rs 6.5 lakh – 11.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), Polo-Vento duo has been immensely successful for Volkswagen India. Soon or never situation, there is a solid reason why you should get your hand on the Polo GT TDI. We will get to that in a while. For now, what’s new, let’s find out:
Revised exteriors: Too little to spot
Polo’s understated design has survived and delivered the goods in the world of Hyundai i20s and Maruti Suzuki Balenos. Barring a minor design tweak, Polo largely carries the simplistic and unassuming layout. Noticeable changes have been offered upfront. The Polo houses refreshed honey-combed grille with reworked bumper to meet pedestrian safety standards. The full-LED light set up too gets new elements.
The top-of-the-line GT variant, however, breaks the monotony. The chrome-embellished ‘GT’ on the grille and side scuff plate along with black spoiler offer an aesthetic breather. Few may dislike how it looks, but the Polo’s modest silhouette packs an explosive engine, rearing to perform.
Report under the roof
Stepping inside, I was genuinely eager to crank the engine since there’s not much to report here. Black-and-grey themed interiors host a simple front apron, with an updated 7-inch infotainment system. The redesigned instrumentation includes the Volkswagen Connectivity Suite, which displays several real-time driving statistics — tracking the drive, drive pattern, fuel efficiency and more.
A tray under the instrument console, dual cup holders and a cooled glove box sum up the storage spaces. Knobs, switches and in fact most tangible parts offer satisfactorily sturdy feel. Talking about the room, you are bound to feel uneasy on long drives. The multifunction-cum-flat-bottom steering, with tilt facility, is light and provides decent confidence.
Energetic experience behind the wheels:
Volkswagen has transferred the 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder, diesel motor from the previous generation. The powertrain offers 110 hp and 250 Nm while mated to a 5-speed gearbox, which transmits inputs to the front-wheel drive. Sport-spaced and not the quickest to shift in nature, you need to regularly switch gears in city traffic.
The turbo-charge quotient of the engine kicks in around 1,800-2,000 rpm. Free-revving in nature, Polo GT TDI exudes oodles of torque, pulling the car strongly up to the top-end. Cabin insulation and ride comfort seek some attention, especially for fellow passengers. A fair amount of noise creeping into the cabin is rather interrupting with the stiffly-tuned suspensions, which unsettle the poise every time you hit a road undulation. Barring NVH levels, Polo is at peace while cruising at triple-digit speeds.
The feedback from the steering is reasonably encouraging. Light in nature, the steering wheel weighs up as you gain speed. Do expect some amount of body roll in the corner along with occasional understeers. Covering up for these minor imperfections is the frugal return. During our test run, the GT TDI delivered 19.7 kmpl.
With the world doing hullabaloo over BSIV to BSVI switch, the Polo GT TDI’s future looks a bit uncertain. Talks in the MoTown suggest Volkswagen may bring in a complete new iteration based on the MQB AO-IN platform.
An economical powertrain with an exciting response: Guess, that gives you enough reasons to get your hand on GT TDI. Add to that a five-year warranty and heavy discounts till the BSIV stock lasts make the deal lucrative. However, Polo GT TDI being on the expensive side of the price chart, Maruti Suzuki Baleno, Hyundai Grand i20 and Honda Jazz do look affordable bargains.
That said, after a decade’s (steady) stint, the Polo is all set to switch gears, pass the baton on to a cleaner and greener avatar. TDI aside, Polo does offer the 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre TSI petrol options as well. Enthralling us over the years, expectations remain sky-high to see some form of GT TDI in days to come.
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