A week with the Volkswagen Polo

It was just another day in a meeting with the communications team of Volkswagen, I decided to drive the Polo for a week's time. The team was boasting about the brand and the best way to judge a car manufacturer is when you drive the smallest car in the portfolio. Hence, I picked up the Polo. Read further as I share my experience with the 1.5-litre Polo.

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The first thing that catches your attention on the Polo is its colour, the finish of the paint. For those who aren't aware this has 11 coats of paint for that flawless finish. I have always liked how the Polo looks, it has a subtle design and it's a design that will not grow old on you. It doesn't have the charm of the fluidically design hatches or even gorgeous Italian beauties, but it has its own character. The alloy wheel design in my opinion isn't very exciting either but it melds well with the design.

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The interiors of the Polo have been upgrade almost every year and that is one reason why it doesn't look or feel outdated. What I really like about the Polo is its new steering wheel, with all the instrument cluster controls too mounted on it. On going through the features list, I have learnt that Volkswagen provides airbags every on the base model of Polo. In the mid-level variant, the features list is better than most of the competition. It doesn't get embellishments likes touchscreen system, push start and stop and even no smart keyless entry, so I contacted Volkswagen to understand how they think it can compete with the rest. This is when I learnt that Volkswagen follows a policy of giving the features that are required. One generally doesn't need a touchscreen system as on most of the occasions you end up using your steering mounted controls for changing tracks and that does make sense. The other features are also additional luxury features, which won't do justice for a hatchback at this price.

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Then the question comes, why is the Polo at par in pricing with other hatchbacks that offer more features? Volkswagen claims that the sheet metal it uses is a lot thicker than competition. This makes the hatchback a safer place to be in than almost any other hatchback. The German brand undergoes a stone impact test on all its cars, where a gun fires small stones on the body of the cars to check the resistance of the paint. Lets give it to Volkswagen in this part.

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My analysis of the Polo tells me that at the moment, the Polo is the only premium hatchback to have a 1.5-litre diesel engine and even the power that it produces -90bhp- every single horse can be utilised when you press the accelerator. The drivability is good and there isn't much of turbo lag either. With the engine's performance, the German brand has got it all the correct boxes ticked. I'm even impressed with the fuel efficiency as the Polo returned a mileage of about 15-16km/l in city driving, which is what you expect from a diesel engine. In my opinion some of the extra cost that you pay on the Polo is more engine power than features. I have driven the old 1.2-litre Polo diesel engine, which now has been discontinued. Honestly, that engine had a lot of turbo lag and I was never a fan of it.

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The gearbox is slick and easy to shift. Though, the clutch could have been a bit lighter. I personally find it very heavy and deep. I think this could have been made nimbler than what it is at the moment. The difference is felt when you drive on an open road. The Polo isn't just quick but it is a joy when you behind the steering wheel. What Volkswagen has injected in the Polo is capability to make you smile, and this is priceless. There are some downsides to the Polo as well, for example the knee room for rear seat passengers is limited and no full size spare is offered on the top-of-the-line variant. But I think this can be overlooked.

I just thought to spare some words after the Polo has been driven over the weekend. To test the clutch of the Polo, I decided to drive it to one of the most crowded road in Mumbai, Juhu. Well to be honest, it is a bit hard but not that bad. Yes, but eye opening fact was the fuel efficiency. The overall fuel efficiency on this trip was about 13.5km/l. The Volkswagen Polo is easy to drive and maneuver in tight city lanes. The boot isn't very massive, but that is what hatchbacks are for. If you need to carry luggage for a family of four for a weekend or carry weekly grocery the Polo's boot is sufficient. This is one of the few hatchbacks that is considered premium, even when you drive into a high-star hotels.

Source : MotorOctane