Volkswagen Polo Engine & Gearbox

OVERVIEW ;

Without doubt, the Volkswagen Polo GT TSI is the best automatic hatchback in our country today. The Polo with the fantastic TSI engine is such a hoot to drive that any petrol-head would want to get one. The car stirred up quite a lot of excitement when it was launched last year and now Volkswagen has given it a minor facelift, in-line with what the other Polo models have received in India. Unlike the diesel powered Polos, the petrol powered GT TSI doesn’t get any mechanical changes and the hot hatch soldiers on with the same powertrain which is as impressive as ever. Check for review & price of Volkswagen cars

EXTERIORS ;

Volkswagen Cross Polo sports a sharp front fascia, which features sharp headlamp clusters bearing dual units. The front grille sports a sleek chrome bar joining both the headlamp clusters. The lower front fascia comes with a beefy bumper, an aggressive grille. A thick black cladding and a faux skid plate is visible at the front. The side profile adorns thick black side cladding, while the blackened glass area delivers a sporty vibe with thick B pillar sporty silver coloured roof rails and five spoke 15 inch alloy wheels. Toward the rear profile the car doesn’t much difference compare to the standard Volkswagen Polo. It gets a roof spoiler with integrated stop lamp, rear window wiper, sharp taillamps, beefy rear bumper with faux skid plate at the bottom. Overall, the car sports a muscular and beefy appearance with the thick cladding. Check Price of Polo

Dimensionally the Volkswagen Cross Polo measures 3897 mm in length, 1698 mm in width, 1483 mm in height and 2469 mm of wheelbase. The car comes with 165 mm of ground clearance. It has a kerb weight of 1168 Kg. The turning radius for the cross Polo is 4.97 meters. It offers a boot space of 280 litres, which can be expanded by folding the rear seats.

INTERIORS ;

A number of new features have been added to make driving even more comfortable, and this includes new interior upholstery and finishes. The drivers’ seat is now height adjustable for extended comfort and convenience. The steering wheel is all new, with a flat bottom to give it a sporty feel and with multi-function buttons on the top models. The top end versions also get a piano finish near the Bluetooth and voice command buttons – all adding a rich feel to the car. The dual tone dashboard is also premium looking along with the all-new centre console. There are silver coloured elements all around, instead of dreary black and they help liven up the interior. The instrument cluster consists of tachometer, speedometer, odometer and trip meter. The centre multi-function display, which was bright red in colour and sometimes jarring, has been replaced with a monochrome display which is much more soothing to the eyes. A trip computer however is only part of the top models.

Like the predecessor, the Polo too has tons of space inside for the front cup holders, bottle holders and sunglass holders. The centre console also has a 12V power socket to charge your Smartphone and a parcel tray to keep it. Top versions come with a ‘Climatronic’ automatic air conditioning; with the base and mid-level variants having to suffice with manual HVAC with dust and pollen filter. In terms of entertainment, there is the stock sound with a CD/MP3 player with USB, Aux-in, SD card input and 4 Speakers. Again, the top-end ‘Highline’ variant gets Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones and Voice Command (depending on mobile handset capability). Rear parking sensor is also part of the Highline variant, but lane-changing indicator is present across the range. The only disappointment is the legroom at the rear seats is still limited, and not much has been done in this regard.

PERFORMANCE ;

The new 1.5-litre TDI is a re-bored version of the 1.6-litre TDI engine that will be used in the upcoming GT TDI and the Vento, but in a different state of tune. This engine deploys a Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) and churns out an impressive 89bhp of maximum power at 4200rpm and 230Nm of maximum torque flowing between 1500-2500rpm. The power output has gone up by 15bhp and the torque figure sees a huge bump of 50Nm over the outgoing car.Crank it and the difference is immediately evident, refinement levels are better, vibrations are well contained and the gruff note of the old car has vanished. Although, it is still not one of the quietest small diesel cars around, the Swift’s MultiJet engine is more refined, but the better insulation of the Polo helps you concentrate on music or a conversation with your passenger. On the move, the VGT gives the engine a lot of flexibility, with useable torque kicking in from as low as 1400rpm and power not tailing off until 4000rpm. The engine continues revving all the way up to its high 5400rpm redline. However, beyond the 4000rpm mark there is no poke and the power to noise ratio tilts in favour of the latter. Performance is as good as it gets, the engine is happy ambling along in traffic or doing high speeds on the highway. It is very eager to respond and its performance is effortless. It feels very sprightly and we won’t be surprised if it turns out to be the quickest car at that price. What adds to the pleasure of using all this power is the slick gearbox, which is one of the best around; it slots precisely and is a joy to use. The gearing is spot on for the power on offer and punting around traffic in the city is effortless, however the heavy clutch takes some time getting used to. On the highway, the engine comes on song with overtaking needing just a gentle prod of the loud pedal. Cruising along at highway speeds of 100 kmph, the rev counter was still under 2500rpm. The claimed fuel economy figure of the new car is 20.14kmpl (ARAI) in comparison the old car managed 22kmpl (ARAI). Our test car was indicating about 14.6kmpl on the display and was driven hard all the time; with some judicious use of the gas pedal the figure will rise. The competition like the Swift in comparison does 22.9kmpl (ARAI) but we believe that its torque figure more than makes up for the kpl lost.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

It is just a joy to drive the Volkswagen Polo on freeways, or highways where overtaking was a cakewalk for this hatchback. Taking sharp turns or driving on a tight-bend always remained a top priority for Volkswagen and it still retained its character as there is no change in its underpinnings. The handling and ride quality of the Volkswagen Polo also impressed me as it offers a lot of grip on the road, it feels the car is hugging the road and will never go off track. The only flaw I found while driving was the clutch travel, which was way too extra. This took a bit more effort to drive it in the city traffic. The clutch travel made first and second gearshifts jerky. In short the ride quality at high speed just stands out of the box but at the time when it comes to low speed drives it sucks all your effort to keep the drive smooth and not jerky, thus improving the clutch travel should a top priority for Volkswagen to keep the diesel buyers happy. But the overall experience was thorough.

BRAKING AND SAFETY ; European car manufacturers never skimp on safety, and this is more than evident in the Polo, which now comes with dual front airbags as standard. The braking system comprising of ventilated discs up front and drum in rear wark fairly effectively, and the Comfortline and Highline versions also get an Antilock Braking System (ABS). Additionally, there are 3-point front seat belts, 3-point rear outer seat belts, lap belt in the middle, speed-sensing auto door locks, fog lamps and many more features to ensure maximum safety of the occupants. To protect your precious investment, every Polo comes with an engine immobilizer and alarm with floating codes to make thefts difficult.

VERDICT ;

The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI has always been a hot favourite for most of us and the updated model isn’t any different. While the cosmetic tweaks do make this vehicle more appealing, mechanically nothing has changed so the performance and dynamics continue to be the major pulling points to this vehicle. The Polo GT TSI is like Jekyll and Hyde, supremely comfortably to drive in the city, offering the convenience of an automatic and the pace to close gaps quickly while out on open roads, it simply transforms into a beast, giving you an insane adrenaline rush. All this makes it by far the best performance hatchback to buy for those who love driving.

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