Volkswagen recently launched the new Polo, which we reviewed in our last issue and were quite impressed with the improvements made to it. Now it was only a matter of time that the GT versions came out wearing the new changes. We were invited by the company to drive the petrol and diesel Polo GT in the scenic surroundings of Amby Valley and on a makeshift circuit on an airstrip. Here are the technical changes in the new models. Find best offers on Polo GT
Even in the redesigned Polo GT TSI, little has changed. The front is exactly the same as the Polo facelift and the rear gets the same treatment. But it’s not that Volkswagen hasn’t tried telling people that this is the go-fast version of the regular Polo. So, there is GT badging on the front grille, on the C-pillar, on the rear door, and as a doorstep garnish. The ‘Estrada’ alloy wheels further differentiate the car from the regular Polo.
However, the biggest difference is that the Polo GT TSI gets a rear spoiler which enhances the appeal of the car especially when looked at from the rear three-quarters. The ground clearance of 168 mm ensures the GT TSI is fit for most Indian roads. Overall, the car retains its classic, sober design and the subtle changes add to the sportiness of the new car. The paint quality and attention to detail is among the best you will find in a hatchback in India.
The Polo GT TSI drives like a dream hatchback and it’s practical too. You get enough space inside the car to fit four people comfortably; three on the backseat can be a little cramped. The boot has enough space for two big bags or a sub-woofer, whichever you prefer.The driver gets seat height adjustment and the instrument panel shows a lot of relevant data like distance to empty as well as some irrelevant stuff like, in this case, the fuel efficiency. There is also tilt and telescopic steering wheel for the driver to adjust his reach.
You also get four speakers with a music system that can read music off a USB device, SD card and AUX. There is also bluetooth connectivity for your smartphone and a lot of buttons on the steering wheel that you can explore when stuck in traffic – the car even makes sure you don’t get bored while sitting idle.The Polo GT TSI comes with automatic climate control and the overall fit and finish of the cabin is exactly what you expect of a German car. The chrome inside the cabin has been subtly used and is tasteful.
This is one aspect where the Polo does really well, as do the GT models. The GT TSI with the 7-speed DSG gearbox especially is an absolute bliss to drive. It performs well not just as a good automatic hatchback for your daily errands in the city but also as a performance hatch for your long drives. The GT TDI on the other hand has ample of torque thanks to which it doesn’t demand too many shifts while driving through traffic. That said, the clutch is a bit heavy. Ride quality and visibility all round on both the cars remains good.
The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI retains the same direct injection, turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine and the 7-speed DSG gearbox from the earlier GT. In this trim the Polo pumps 105PS of power and 175Nm of torque. The gearbox is seamless and responds instantly to the inputs of the throttle. Slot it into Sports or shift manually and the Polo GT TSI with its easy and quick revving engine makes for a delightful drive.
The GT TDI with the new 1.5-litre engine feels even more energetic than the petrol. Despite the fact that Volkswagen has retained the same engine from the standard Polo for excise duty benefits, it pumps out an extra 15PS of power and 20Nm of torque in the GT TDI guise. However, even though the new GT TDI is more punchy to drive than the regular similarly engine diesel Polo, it does feel a little lacklustre compared to the older 1.6-litre powered TDI. As for the shifts on this manual; the 5-speed gearbox is slick with precise and short throws.
DRIVING DYNAMICS ;
The Volkswagen Polo GT TSI also gets ESP which prevents wheel-spin although this system isn’t really required on this car since power is fed in a smooth manner. There is also hill hold which isn’t of much use on an automatic car. The GT TSI is lighter than the GT TDI and is less stiffer too, the softness of the suspension being very noticeable when you hit a bump, the tendency to bounce a bit and leave its line is there. There is less understeer though and ride quality is excellent. The steering is quick but could do with more feedback, more so considering the GT is a performance model. Braking performance is excellent and the car stops dead in its track at any given speed (the hazards turn on when you stand on the brakes). The new Apollo Alnac tyres offer better grip and don’t lose traction as quickly as the Aceleres offered before.
Last year when it was reported that some of the most popular compact cars sold in India failed crash tests done by Global NCAP, almost immediately Volkswagen announced dual front airbags as standard fitment on all variants of the Polo. That says something about the company’s commitment to safety. The GT TSI gets ample safety features such as dual front airbags as standard, anti-lock braking system, rear-parking sensors, electronic stabilisation programme and hill-hold function. However, we believe that in addition to rear-parking sensors there should have been a rear-parking camera too.
What advantage the Polo GT TSi has is that it isn’t just an automatic that is fuel-efficient but at the same time it is more powerful than the conventional automatics. This means you can take this hatchback for weekend drives and at the same time even use it as your daily city car. This is fun and convenient at the most affordable cost.The German build quality, driving dynamics and the styling of the Polo makes it stand out of the crowd. The Polo is the oldest premium hatchback in its segment, but the German automaker has done a phenomenal job to keep it fresh in design and even features. The Polo is certainly a good option to consider.