2014 Volkswagen Polo 1.5 GT TDI Review
We all often have a preconceived notion about things in life. An expensive phone has to be made by Apple, an exotic vacation has to be in Switzerland and a red sports car has to be a Ferrari. This limits our thoughts to a generic approach applied uniformly on everything.
This review is about a hatchback, which costs a little less than Rs.10 lakhs on road. By definition, a hatchback means a small car without an extra boot section. Many reading this review might write it off thinking of numerous sedans available for the same amount of money spent. Generally, sedans are a more realistic option compared to their hatched offerings.
But then...What if there is a hatchback which puts a tick on both aspirational as well as practical needs. It sounds fictitious? The new Volkswagen Polo GT TDI thinks otherwise.
Except for the distinguishing GT badges, this one looks no different from the standard version. Volkswagen has always liked to be humble on design unlike their Korean competitors. Their designs mainly consist of straight lines and simple profiles.
A retouched headlight with an added detailing takes up the spot of the earlier version. The difference isn’t much. The radiator grille gets an additional slat with chrome garnish. The GT badge has been moved from left to right. Front bumper features a new profile with redesigned lines. Fog lamps get a smarter housing with a wide chrome line flowing along its width giving it a wider stance.
It was a nice move to make it a bit longer than before improving the comfort of the rear passengers. Apart from increasing its length, they have got the roof up too which makes it taller than the earlier variant. While the new Polo drives on TOSA alloys, the GT gets 15-inch 'Estrada' alloy wheels. I would rather go with the new TOSAs as they look newer compared to the one on GT. In the earlier model, there were GT stickers on the C-pillar which have been removed in the new version.
Like the mild detailing in the new headlights, even the tail lamps have been tweaked. The tail door paired with the new rear bumper design makes it feel larger than before. There is a small GT badge sitting on the tail gate. If only VW made the GT look more different than the standard version enhancing its appeal...even blackened alloys would have done it for me.
Does it come in Black? Oh yes! The GT gets all black upholstery instead of the twin shade beige trim on the new Polo. While the one on Polo surely feels more premium, the one on GT has a sporty feel with dark and contrasting chrome inserts. One thing remains consistent though, it is the amazing build quality.
My favourite addition in new Polos has to be the new flat bottom steering. Apart from looking rich, it also gets glossy winged inserts done in piano black. The instrumental cluster has been retained except for an important update in the central function display. Bidding farewell to the functional red display it now gets brighter and more lucid digits which appear more engaging. All the basic information on this multi function display can be accessed with steering mounted buttons.
The central console gets piano finish surround for the 2 DIN Music system. In terms of features, it gets a USB, Aux-in and Bluetooth connectivity to stream music as well as operate telephony. There is an additional card slot too.
Rest of the layout remains similar except for the minor addition in space in the rear. It has freed some more breathing area but still remains tight on space. Instead of beige fabric, the seats in GT are offered in twin shades of grey which doesn’t feel much premium. The cushioning on rear seats are on the flatter side thus no joy for passengers sitting here on long journeys. Polos have always sported a driver centric design with maximum focus in the front.
No one buys a GT cause of the way it looks from outside or inside. It is a hatch which delivers more than any other car of its segment. The GT TDI sports the newly added 1.5L engine in the Polo. The price difference between a highline trim and a GT is almost Rs.1lakh. So does it really make sense to get one?
The GT TDI gets a 1498cc diesel engine which generates 105PS of power at 4400 rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1500-2500rpm. Both these numbers are greater than the standard version. In fact, the GT TDI produces more torque than many other cars in its range. Unlike the TSI which gets a dreamy DSG box, the TDI gets a more realistic manual transmission.
When it comes to ride and handling, there is no beating the Polo. Both the petrol and diesel are extremely precise in it. The new 1.5L surely feels higher on response than before. The additional torque of 20Nm is beneficial in city where the numbers of shifts have gone down. This being the bigger mill feels great on highways than in city traffic. There is no lag felt in bumper to bumper traffic even with a heavy clutch. However, it is only on highways where the advantages of the TDI get highlighted.
The electric power steering is a boon in the city especially to manoeuvre around small lanes. You can leave all the 250Nm of torque for the highway as it feels too much to be used in city traffic. The gear ratios are equally distributed along the entire engine rev range.
The rev friendly diesel unit makes way and opens up generously even at the slightest push on the throttle. Even at lower engine speeds, it comfortably reaches higher speeds. Since the torque ratings are higher, the suffocation of the lower displacement has gone down with loads of torque to play with even at lower engine speeds. The new engine generates the heavy torque band at 500rpm less than the peak of the earlier engine. The ride and handling has been improved with this new unit. So not just in the low and middle range, it delivers as impressively on the higher redline range too.
|Ex-Showroom Price||Rs. 8,23,548|
|Power in PS / RPM||105 / 4400|
|Torque in Nm / RPM||250 / 1500 - 2500|
|Wheel base mm||2469|
|Fuel tank capacity L||45|
|Tyre Spec||185/60 R15|
|ARAI MIleage Kmpl||19.91|
|Dual front airbags, driver and passenger side||Yes|
|ABS (Anti-lock Breaking System)||Yes|
|Dual-beam halogen headlamps in black finish||Yes|
|New front fog lamp design with cornering lamps||Yes|
|Outside mirrors and rear spoiler in Deep Black||Yes|
|Chrome application on air dam||Yes|
|15-inch, 'Estrada' alloy wheels (Set of4)||Yes|
|'GT' badge on front grille||Yes|
|Sporty flat-bottom steering wheel design with control for audio, Bluetooth and Voice Command||Yes|
|New front & rear bumper and new tail lamp design||Yes|
|Leather-wrapped steering wheel with chrome accents and Piano Black finish||Yes|
|Leather-wrapped gearshift knob and handbrake lever handle||Yes|
|Superior 'Milan' Titanschwarz fabric upholstery||Yes|
|Aluminium pedal cluster||Yes|
|'GT' doorstep garnish||Yes|
|Driver-side dead pedal||Yes|
|Piano Black finish on front centre console||Yes|
|'Climatronic' automatic air-conditioning||Yes|
|CD/MP3 player with USB, Aux-in, SD card input and 4 Speakers||Yes|
|Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phones and Voice Command (depending on mobile handset capability)||Yes|
|Monochrome MFD (Multi-Function Display) includes travelling time, distance travelled, digital speed display, average speed, fuel efficiency||Yes|
|Rear parking sensors||-|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||GT TDI||Asta 1.4 CRDI||ZDi|
|Price (Ex Showroom Mumbai)||Rs. 823,548||Rs. 804,052||Rs. 702,898|
|Power in PS/RPM||105 / 4400||90 / 4000||74 / 4000|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||250 / 1500 - 2500||220 / 1500||190 / 2000|
|Gears||5-speed Manual||6 MT||5 MT|
|Wheel base mm||2469||2570||2430|
|Fuel tank capacity L||45||45||42|
|Kerb Weight (Kgs)||1158||NA||1080|
|Tyre Spec||185 / 60 R15||195 / 55 R16||185 / 65 R15|
It doesn’t particularly look a fast car nor does it feel as expensive from inside. The rear view mirror doesn’t feature an auto dimmer and has a manual switch behind it. Apart from the dark trims, there is nothing that makes the GT feel more exclusive compared to the standard version.
The Rs.10 lakh price sounds higher unless you count all the other merits in its favour. Not to forget, the GT delivers a mileage of 19.91 kmpl (ARAI) which is impressively high for a car with such performance. Honestly, not many manufacturers offer a car for driving connoisseurs considering the increasing emphasis on cars with higher efficiency. In this case, the GT TDI is the best diesel hatch for enthusiasts as it is a fun to drive car complimented with mundane practicality.