Volkswagen Polo GTI Review & Test Drive


Volkswagen Polo GTI Overview

The GTI has finally graced the Indian shores. The first GTI to be brought here is the Volkswagen GTI, a souped-up 3-door version of the Volkswagen Polo. We all know that when a Volkswagen gets the GTI badge, it is focussed and fast. Now that the famed GTI badge is officially here after 40 years since its inception, the hot hatch enthusiasts will be grinning ear to ear.

It is the Polo GTI which is being imported as a CBU. The headlamp shape remains the same but get integrated LED DRLs. It gets the signature GTI mesh grille and gets a new sharper bumper that sports a wide mesh air-dam with integrated fog lamps. While the profile remains same, the front doors are longer as the rear doors have been ditched. The tail is the same except for the twin pod tail pipe that stands out. For more info on car loan check Fincarz.

The GTI will be based on the top-spec Highline variant of the Polo. It gets manual height adjustable driver seat, electrically adjustable and folding mirrors and cruise control. The 2-DIN music system has USB, AUX and Bluetooth compatibility. The interiors are in black with a flat bottom sporty steering wheel with steering mounted audio controls. It gets a driver armrest as well as a pull-out armrest for the rear passengers. The rear seats are foldable to increase the stowage capability of the hatchback.

Well, this is the most exciting part for the enthusiasts. It gets a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the Octavia churning out 189bhp of power and 250Nm of torque. While it gets the expected DSG automatic gearbox, enthusiasts would have loved the six-speed manual option. The Polo GTI hits the ton from standstill in just over seven seconds on the way to a top whack of over 200kmph.

Volkswagen Polo GTI Design

The 3-door Volkswagen Polo GTI exterior measures 3976 mm in length, 1682 mm in width and 1452 mm in height, while having a wheelbase of 2468 mm. It has a kerb weight of 1273 kg and fuel tank capacity of 45 litre. As for the front fascia, It flaunts full LED headlamps with Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) and red inserts. The Volkswagen Polo GTI features a sportier front bumper, flanked by the signature GTI honeycomb grille. There is body cladding on the sill panels and the ORVMs have integrated turn indicators. The side and rear windows have green-heat insulating glass. The Polo GTI rides on 16-inch ‘SALVADOR’ grey metallic alloy wheels. Coming to the rear end, there are LED license plate lamps, dark red tail-lamps, dual chrome exhaust pipes and reflectors on the bumper, to sum up the exterior styling of the hatch.

Volkswagen Polo GTI Cabin

Slide into the front seats and one will notice that the cabin doesn’t really stand out from the Polo in terms of design. In fact, with a price tag of Rs 26.80 lakhs, we felt that the GTI deserved to at least get some leather upholstery. The check design may not appeal to everybody but it’s always been a design trait with the GTI badge and offers a retro look. That said, the quality levels along with fit and finish are top drawer thanks to it being an import.

Though the dash design feels premium, its similarity with the Polo ultimately doesn’t make it feel as special as say, a Mini Cooper. At first glance, the seats hardly look like they have any contours but there’s lots of lateral support on both on the front seat squab and the back support. The manually operated front seats offer appropriate comfort, thigh support and shoulder room, along with lots of legroom and headroom.

Also, nudging the lever on top of the front seats get it to fold and slide ahead to aid access to the rear bench. It’s a bit of a struggle to squeeze in, but once seated, the seats are surprisingly comfortable with the appropriate backrest angle and sufficient legroom and headroom. Even the visibility from the rear seats out of the fixed window glass is amazingly spot on.

The GTI gets ESP, ABS, all four disc brakes, electronic differential lock, hill start assist, start/stop system, and six airbags. There’s a flat bottom steering with multi-function controls, stainless steel pedals, LED headlamps with DRLs, dual exhausts, three-point seat belt for middle passenger, and parking sensors. It also gets features like climate control, touchscreen infotainment system with AUX, USB, Bluetooth, and six speakers. To know more details on Volkswagen Polo GTI  check Isc2013

Volkswagen Polo GTI Performance

TSI is a technology we all are familiar with thanks to the Jetta and other group offerings in India and the same now finds itself in the Polo as well with a 1.2 TSI petrol engine. Thanks to TSI technology, it produces the same power, 105PS, as the bigger 1.6-litre petrol engine found in the earlier Polo (optional engine) and the current Vento. Further, maximum torque is way more, importantly building up from as low as 1500rpm which makes city commutes a piece of cake!

The Polo easily gathered pace, with the speedometer needle kissing the 150km/h mark with utter ease. We reckon given the road, this hatchback will crack the 175km/h mark, making it the fastest hatchback in India. No, the VW Bettle is still seen as a coupe, not a hatchback! The 0-100km/h run should come up in around 10 seconds, which is around a half a second off the earlier Polo 1.6’s timings. However, the engine is not only about its outright punch that will give you mile wide grins in plenty, it’s also the way this engine responds in traffic thanks to the 7-speed DSG ‘box. Gear changes are lightning quick and suddenly, all other conventional four and five speed autos we have seen on the regular hatchbacks feel obsolete.

With an ARAI rated figure of almost 18kmpl, this car makes me remember the famous saying, “sometimes, you can eat your cake and have it too!”

Volkswagen Polo GTI Riding

We move on to the ride and handling characteristics. Volkswagen has taken the effort to raise the GTI’s suspension to offer more ground clearance for Indian road conditions. This makes it more useable and you really don’t have to worry about taking the car anywhere you want. Though the suspension is stiff, it isn’t as stiff as other hot hatches like the Mini Cooper, and is hence more forgiving on our roads. At slow speeds the slightly stiff ride results in road imperfections being felt and heard in the cabin, but it doesn’t get uncomfortable at all. As speeds increase, the bump absorption over broken surfaces and undulations is good, but as a result there is some up and down movement.

The GTI gets a quick and accurate steering that makes the car eager to change directions. It rolls a bit too. However, if you enter a corner too fast, it tends to understeer but the trick here is to stay on the power and the traction from the trick differential, which gets power to the correct wheels, allows the car to stick to the intended line. It doesn’t feel artificial either. Now, in hot hatches, you’d expect some adjustability in terms of chassis, but the GTI feels too planted especially the rear, and the chassis doesn’t feel as playful as say a Mini Cooper does. Meanwhile, the brakes offer superb feel and good feedback with hardly any brake fade under intense braking situations.

Volkswagen Polo GTI Safety

Volkswagen Polo GTI features disc brakes at the front as well as rear, of which calipers are painted in a bright red paint scheme. It gets an array of high-end safety systems, such as ESC, ABS, ASR, EDL and EDTC. The company is offering 6 airbags as standard equipment in the hatch. There are 3-point seat belts at the front with height adjustment and pretensioner. The rear seats have height adjustable L-shaped head restraints and 3-point seat belts. In addition, a park distance control feature is also available, which provides the driver an acoustic warning signal for obstacles at the front and rear.

Volkswagen Polo GTI Price in Hyderabad

Volkswagen Polo Gt On-Road Price in Hyderabad ranges from 11,27,219 to 11,41,679 for variants Polo GT TSI and Polo GT TDI respectively. Volkswagen Polo Gt is available in 2 variants and 5 colours. Below are details of Volkswagen Polo Gt variants price in Hyderabad. Check for Polo GT price in Hyderabad at Carzprice.

Volkswagen Polo GTI Summing Up

What goes against the Volkswagen GTI is that it looks too similar to the much cheaper Polo, and even the cabin and dashboard design is the same (only steering differs). Again, it is slightly soft-sprung as per hot hatch standards. On the other hand, it has a powerful engine with a superb DSG ‘box, good handling, a pliant ride, sleeper looks, and is about 3 lakhs cheaper than the Mini Cooper.

If you look at it, the GTI has the essence to be the most well rounded hot hatch in the country. A hot hatch that you can comfortably use more often than not, over the rivals. However, buyers plonking so much money into a hatchback also look for exclusivity. It could have worked in the GTI’s favour if it came with distinct interiors, sportier body kit and flared wheel arches to differentiate it with the Polo. We feel that Volkswagen’s GTI could work out with the conservative owner, but for me the exotic nature of the Mini Cooper still strikes as a more compelling buy.


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