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विज्ञापन
April 27, 2013, 06:27 PM IST by Ninad Mirajgaonkar
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Car Tested: Polo [2012-2014] , Version: GT TSI

Introduction

The Polo GT TSI sorely tempts me to write about the all the hatchbacks that we love – draw parallels with few of the all-time bests and make claims that might set tongues wagging. But that will have to wait till we do a full road-test and back it up with performance figures. For now let us look at this GT version as something that looks similar to the standard Polo hatchback, but with power figures and technology that Volkswagen can brag about.

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Design and Comfort

There are hardly any changes to the exteriors apart from a new sleek GT grille, ten-spoke premium set of alloy-wheels, some stickers to the side and GT TSI badging on the rear. The blacked-out headlamps that were introduced last September with the facelift continue on the GT variant. The interiors of the car are almost unchanged as well and that is something that disappoints me. The seats feel rich but are still fabric, something that might not go well with the customer paying a premium to own a hatchback. VW should at least offer leather as an optional extra through dealers. The rear bench does not have a center armrest – not that its absence affects sales in anyway, but something that is called a Grand Tourer should do that extra bit to make passengers comfortable. Not that Volkswagen has completely neglected the cabin; the seats have been changed liberating 20mm of legroom for the rear passengers. The extra space does not seem much but it does make a difference; also the same seats are now used across the Polo range.

The technology makes a strong case for the GT. Where the three-cylinder Polos (both petrol and diesel) are harsh and noisy, this is but the most silent car in the segment. In fact the NVH levels are so low that they seem comparable to those of the E-Segment sedans like the Honda Accord or Skoda Superb.

 

Drive

The Polo GT TSI is technologically the most advanced car in the segment. The four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI engine produces 105PS and 175Nm making it the most powerful hatchback in the segment. The power figures are comparable to those of the midsize petrol sedan and as a matter of fact more than the ratings of the 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol unit of the Vento (103PS and 153Nm).  VW achieves these numbers with the help of direct injection and turbocharging that also significantly improves the efficiency. What’s more, the power is delivered to the front wheels by VW’s dual-clutch seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, making it the smallest car in India to get a dual-clutch transmission.

The DSG gearbox offers three driving modes – D, S and Manual. Hold the brake, slot the stick into D mode, lift your foot of the brake pedal and the car won’t move instantaneously – well that is the function of the Hill Hold. It will hold the car for an instant longer before starting to roll slowly; only other car in this segment to offer similar feature is the Fiesta AT.  The ‘D’ mode is best suited for city driving; the car shifts gears seamlessly between 2000rpm to 2300rpm, cautiously sipping the valuable fuel. But that does not mean the Polo is docile in this mode – the peak torque spread is between 1500rpm and 4100rpm, so jab the throttle little harder and the car will provide sufficient thrust for that spirited overtaking manoeuver. Even the highway drives are stress free with car clocking 100kph at close to 2200rpm and comfortably cruising at 150kph.

The ‘S’ (Sport) Mode makes the car livelier. The upshifts occur later – close to 3000rpm, while the down shifts are crisp keeping the engine running at optimum revs. Slam the throttle hard and the engine will rev all the way to 6000rpm before selecting the next ratio. Push the stick to left from the D mode for Manual and you are in total control; the best part is car will hold the lower gear and won’t upshift when you lift-off the throttle. Enthusiasts are going to miss the paddle shifters though, but that is something VW has sacrificed to keep prices in check. Another thing that might upset a few is that the exhaust note (although exquisite) is not loud enough, the car is audible only past 4000rpm or during down-shifts in Manual or S Mode.

The ARAI efficiency figure of the Polo GT TSI is 17.2kpl, but that is with high octane fuel. The number will be a bit lower with the 91 octane fuel available at pumps across India. The onboard trip computer hovered between 9.5kpl and 12kpl during the drive in Goa and I think 13kpl can be achieved on the highway runs.

 

Verdict

For India, the Polo GT TSI is the hatchback from the future. Few years down when the difference between diesel and petrol prices is down to nominal, turbocharging small petrol engines for efficiency and performance won’t remain an option. But till then the Polo GT TSI has no rivals in the country – if you are looking for a hot-hatch that can double up as a sensible daily commuter, this one has no competition. Just bear in mind that all the technology comes at a cost.

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