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        Volkswagen Polo GT TDI Review

        Aditya Chatterjee

        Aditya Chatterjee


        It is a universal fact that when it comes to zeroing in on high performance cars, petrol engines dominate the votes. These engines churn out highly impressive performance statistics (bhps and Nms). In India, there are not many car makers who have taken the plunge to introduce such cars.

        Volkswagen had launched the GT TSI for performance seekers. Long waiting periods of it speaks about its success but then there are a few who are too sceptical to opt for it. The 3-cylinder Polo variants are for the cost conscious customers who would want a European car with its trademark build quality. 

        But then there are individuals who seek performance and but at a reasonable price. The Polo GT TDI makes perfect sense for them. It offers a 1.6L 4-cylinder diesel engine and also is the most powerful hatch in the sub 10 lakh budget. With so many bells and whistles, is it the best buy for an enthusiast? We find out.

        Appearance Exterior

        While some other manufactures prefer going overboard with the design and slapping the body with extra skirting and air vents to scream about the performance of the car, VW guys choose to lay low with the-let-the-car-do-the-talking-for-itself mood.

        The GT TDI gets similar GT badging on the twin slat front radiator grille. It also gets smoked headlamps. The edgy styling of the Polo is carried forward on this variant too.

        The 6Jx15 "Estrada" alloy wheels look nice. It gets Apollo Acelere tyres which provide sufficient grip. Unlike the GT TSI, this one does not get any decals on the C pillar. This may not act in its own favour as there is nothing visually different about the GT TDI from other variants. This one too gets body coloured door handles and ORVMs which can be adjusted electrically.

        The rear profile looks very neat with its compact styling. The rear windshield is wide. It is not very useful while reversing the car as one has to rely on the parking sensors but then visually it is nice. The exhaust pipe has been tucked in so nicely that it can’t be seen at all. Except for the GT and TDI badges on the tail door, it gets really difficult to differentiate this car.

        Polo is a good looking car with its minimal yet impact making design lines. However, the GT series should have looked different than the other versions to highlight the differences. A little extra muscle and the GT TDI would have indeed looked its part.


        Appearance Interior

        The GT series of the Polo are the most expensive cars when it comes to its segment but then inside it does not do justice with the badge. The GT TDI comes with 'Milan' Titanschwarz fabric upholstery which could have been ditched for premium quality leather with GT engraved on it.

        Since the Polo is a low slung design car, getting inside the cabin can be an issue for taller passengers. Even the seating platform feels lower than other cars. I would not complain about this since I like lower driving positions, gives the driver a sporty stance.

        The multifunction rake and reach adjustable steering wheel comes in leather wrapping. It offers adequate grip but then there can be some more support to it. The instrument cluster has a simple design with the speedometer and odometer. The MID display shows the essentials like trip reading, fuel efficiency and distance to empty in addition to the ideal gear position to engage while driving.

        The front row seats are the best to play around since the kneeroom recess is great. Even the headroom and the legroom area are decent. The seats which are finished in premium fabric feel comfortable but won’t be of much help in long journeys. It’s exactly the same as seen on the GT TSI. If the front row brings joy then the rear snatches it away with its bench like feel. Rear seats lack under thigh support. In long journeys, it’s a strict NO to be seated in the rear.

        Technology is the best when you don’t have to refer the owner’s manual to operate it and so it is in the case of the GT TDI. It has a RCD 320, two din music system with USB, Aux, SD Card Slot and 4 Speakers. The music system is very easy to use and also pairs phones swiftly. Music playback quality of the speakers is impressive.

        This one like other highline variants gets Climatronic automatic air-conditioning with dust and pollen filter. It cools the cabin very efficiently. The AC was put to test under extreme weather, the front row passengers were very happy but the rear row passengers were just satisfied with it.

        The door pockets feature impressive bottle holders. It also has useful storage spaces equally spaced out inside the cabin. The boot space too can pack in loads of luggage with an easy access area.


        Performance Drive

        The spitfire revving petrol motor of the GT TSI floored us completely with its supreme prowess. It was fast, peppy and had a very athletic feel when revved hard. The TSI petrol engine with DSG gearbox is a perfect package and fulfils wishes of many.

        The only problem, it is a Petrol!!. The diesel as a fuel still scores more over the petrol with the main reason of it being a cheaper option and also the torque delivery of diesel engines is far more superior to their petrol counterparts.

        The GT TDI is not a smooth motor to hear and not that it purrs like a car. It has a 4 cylinder 1.6L engine which produces a power of 105 PS at 4400 rpm and a supreme torque of 250Nm at 1500-2500 rpm. These numbers look great in front of the puny 1.2L 3 cylinder variants which produce a power of 75PS at 4200 rpm and a torque of mere 180Nm at 2000 rpm.

        The GT TSI is indeed quicker than the GT TDI and for obvious reasons. It gets a petrol heart and a 7 Speed DSG transmission box but then personally, the fun quotient is high when the shifts are manual. It may be a very old school thought but then shifting the gear stick looking at the tachometer is anyday better than a computer overriding it with its own brains.

        It is not just sheer outright performance but even at lower engine speeds, the GT TDI impresses everyone. It has enough torque to make way through the densely traffic clad areas. Also, Polo’s compact dimensions make it a great city traffic handler. The steering manoeuvres it very efficiently.

        Open highways is where the GT TDI really belongs with the strong torque spread over the varied engine speeds. Keep juggling between gears, and the transmission doesn’t resist it. Even while overtaking, a downshift is really not required as the engine produces enough punch to haul it across the overtaking vehicle.

        How about keeping the cake and eating it too?, the GT TDI delivered a mileage of 15 Kmpl which is really impressive since it has a 1.6L heart. Other 1.6Litre engines have a fat appetite and can be fuel guzzlers whereas the GT TDI chooses to behave and stick to its balanced diet.


        Tech Specs

        Technical Specifications
         Make Volkswagen
         Model Polo
        Variant GT TDI
        Engine CC 1998
        Power PS/RPM 105/4400
        Torque NM/RPM 250/1500-2500
        Transmission 5/Manual
        Turning radius in M 4.9
        Tyres 185/60 R15
        Dimensions in mm
        Length 3970
        Width 1682
        Height 1453
        Wheelbase 2456
        Ground Clearance 168
        Fuel Tank Capacity L 45
        Boot capacity 250


        Features Polo GT TDI
        Halogen Headlights Yes
        Single folding rear seat back rest Yes
        Leather wrapped steering wheel Yes
        Leather wrapped gear shift knob and handbrake lever handle Yes
        Electronic stabilisation Programme (ESP) Yes
        Anti lock braking system(ABS) Yes
        Dual front airbags(driver and co driver seat) Yes
        Electroninc engine immobiliser with floating code Yes
        Fog Light  (Rear and front) Yes
        Power windows Yes
        Hill Hold Function Yes
        Climatronic(Automatic air conditioning) Yes
        Height adjustable driver seat Yes
        Speed related electroninc steering Yes
        Central locking with boot opener in company logo Yes
        Remote central locking Yes
        Twin Din RCD 320 Music system Yes
        Bluetooth connectivity Yes
        Rear de fogger Yes
        Multi Function Display Yes
        Multi function steering wheel Yes
        Rear parking sensor Yes

        Competition All Specs

        Etios Liva
        Variant GT TDI diesel Asta TRD Sportivo
        Engine Displacement 1598 1396 1364
        Power PS/RPM 105/4400 90/4000 68/3800
        Torque NM/RPM 250/1500-2500 220/1500-2750 170/1800-2400
        Transmission 5/Manual 6/Manual 5 Speed Manual
        Turning radius in M 4.9 4.9 4.8
        Tyres 185/60 R15 155/80 R13 175/65 R14
        Dimensions in mm
        Length 3970 3585 3775
        Width 1682 1595 1695
        Height 1453 1550 1510
        Wheelbase 2456 2380 2460
        Ground Clearance 168 165 170
        Fuel Tank Capacity (L) 45 35 45
        Mileage in KMPL 19 18 20
        Ex showroom Price Mumbai 809000 808876 651680
        Halogen Headlights Yes No No
        Leather wrapped steering wheel Yes Yes No
        Leather wrapped gear shift knob and handbrake lever handle Yes Yes No
        Electronic stabilisation Programme (ESP) Yes No No
        Anti lock braking system(ABS) Yes Yes Yes
        Dual front airbags(driver and co driver seat) Yes Yes Yes
        Electroninc engine immobiliser  Yes Yes Yes
        Fog Light  (Rear and front) Yes Yes No
        Power windows Yes Yes Yes
        Automatic air conditioning Yes Yes Yes
        Height adjustable driver seat Yes Yes Yes
        Speed related electroninc steering Yes Yes No
        Central locking Yes Yes Yes
        Remote central locking Yes Yes Yes
        Music system Yes Yes Yes
        Bluetooth connectivity Yes Yes Yes
        Rear de fogger Yes Yes No
        Multi Function Display Yes Yes Yes
        Multi function steering wheel Yes Yes No
        Rear parking sensor Yes Yes No


        Finally, we have a hatch which delivers a fantastic performance without making a deep hole in the pocket. The fact that it is a diesel makes it a lucrative deal. The only areas where it could have scored more are giving premium leather seats to make the GT feel different from the other variants.

        Also, a unique GT body kit and sportier looking alloy wheels. Etios Liva which is otherwise a very dull looking car gets a different character with the TRD Sportivo body kit.

        The above is a very subjective point of view as there are a bunch of people who prefer their car to look more grounded than being loud about its performance. If someone still wants to personalise his car, he can do so by adding side skirts, body kits and other accessories according to his own taste. All we know is, we are very happy that VW finally heard the enthusiasts and got the 1.6L diesel in GT form.


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