Volkswagen has only one hatchback in its Indian lineup - the Polo. But the company is determined to offer as many avatars of the Polo as possible to attract customers with different expectations. First came the Polo with 1.2-litre petrol and diesel engines for the regular customers. This year Volkswagen introduced the much expected and praised Polo GT TSI for the minority enthusiasts. Now, in a bid to enable the regular customers to experience the sporty side of driving without affecting practicality, Volkswagen Polo GT TDI is here.
The Volkswagen Polo GT TDI is powered by a 1.6-litre pumping out 105 PS of maximum power at 4400 rpm and a peak torque of 250 Nm at 1500-2500 rpm making it the most powerful hatch in the country in the sub-10 lakh category. While the engine is the same running the Volkswagen Vento, under the bonnet of Polo it turns a new leaf. Turn the ignition on and the clatter of the motor is quite audible. On the run, the engine gets more verbal but sounds better. Though there is a turbo lag till 1500 rpm, get past it and there’s no stopping the car. The Polo GT TDI pulls strong post 1500 rpm and the sudden surge of power pushes you into the back of the seat. Even at speeds over 160 km/h, the Polo GT TDI never feels out of breath and wants you to push for more.
And it’s not just about the insane power. The 5-speed gearbox is notchy and feels great in your hands slotting neatly into the assigned gears. You start realizing the real prowess of the car when you push it through the corners. Thanks to an amazing chassis and well setup suspension, the Polo GT TDI grips the road without a thread out of line. While the brakes were enough to provide satisfying stopping power, rear disc brakes are heavily missed. Also the 185/60 tyres left me craving for bigger profile ones.
While the engine is enough to buy the car, there are other things that we think could have been better. If you line up all the Polos (the 1.2-litre petrol and diesel, GT TSI and GT TDI), you would not be able to differentiate them visually. Except for the absence of Volkswagen and Polo badges in the rear and the presence of GT badges, the cars look identical. And there lies the problem. While it is appreciative of Volkswagen to bring in sporty hatchbacks, the company should also understand that just a powerful engine may not be enough. I groused about how the Polo GT TSI looked the same as just any other normal Polo and I grouse some more here with the Polo GT TDI. Agreed Volkswagen Polo is a great looking car with time-defying design. But, a sporty body kit will reap more benefits.
The interiors of the Polo are again identical to a Polo Highline variant with dual-tone interiors, steering mounted controls, multi information display and automatic climate control. The GT TDI version gets additional features such as sporty aluminium pedals, leather wrapped steering and dual tone seat upholstery. The quality of the interiors is as always top notch as ever with other Volkswagen models. Space inside is again identical to the Polo seating four people in satisfying comfort but a third person in rear middle is a big thanks to the large hump.
The Polo GT TDI and the Polo GT TSI both cost just about the same. So which one will I go? I prefer the TDI. To start with, TDI makes identical power and more torque, gets a 5-speed manual gearbox and finally, it’s a diesel offering more fuel economy and being cheaper to run. Yes, the TDI misses out the 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox and ESP of TSI. But as I said earlier, the Polo GT TDI offers the sporty ride without the compromise of practicality.