Volkswagen Polo diesel road test

We drove the VW Polo Petrol variant some time back and as promised, here is the review of the Volkswagen Polo diesel variant.

volkswagen polo diesel road test photo
Photo: We road test the Volkswagen Polo diesel

As always, if you are in a hurry, scroll all the way down for the technical specifications and a photo gallery of the Volkswagen Polo diesel. Also read the Volkswagen Polo petrol road test. The VW Polo was launched in India to great expectations, and a sedan version of the Polo, named the Volkswagen Vento, is on its way to India too.

Design

Cosmetically, the diesel Volkswagen Polo TDi is identical to the petrol one. The exteriors are typical German and have a very clean and contemporary look from outside. This design of the Polo was launched in 2009 worldwide and still it doesn’t look dated from any angle.

Interior

At the first look, you know this is a solid hatch. The wide stance and the muscular body panels suit its low slung appeal. For the road test of the Polo diesel, we got the top-of-the-line Hyline variant, which comes with 15 inch alloys and broader tyres as standard. Other things exclusive to the Polo Hyline include Chrome interior trims , “Livon” upholstery including the door pads, ABS, Dual Air-bags, front airbags, company-fitted CD-MP3 player, rear wash-wipe, MID screen on the speedo cluster and remote locks.

volkswagen polo door

The fit and finish is better than all other cars in this segment, and reminds you of the Volkswagen Jetta and Passat. Body panels have clean shut lines; everything here looks and works as if they are designed to last for ages.

Seats are designed to suit the widest of behinds. Height-adjustable driver’s seat goes well with the height and reach adjustable steering. Rear seats are good, but during the road test, we felt that a bit more lean on the back would have made it the best in the segment. Rear seat headrests offer head support for the passengers – but they also come in the way of the driver’s view while reversing.

volkswagen polo diesel india road test photo
The Volkswagen Polo diesel, as well as the petrol, score high in build quality

Instrument cluster is exactly as in the other variants. A a Multi-Info-Display (MID) which is placed in between the RPM and the speedo meters. This display gives out the readings for the time, temperature, instant mileage, service interval for the car, tank to empty, and also a gear-shift indicator which prompts you with arrows weather to upshift or downshift to get the best economy out of the Polo. The factory fitted MP3-CD player performs well with 4 speakers that blend the acoustics in the cabin. The AC vents have a chrome lining for the Hyline variant and also chrome is thrown around the door knobs and the stereo to increase the rich effect in the cabin. Storage area in the door pads is large enough to absorb a 1.5 litre waterbottle. Without a doubt, the plastics used are the best in class, and at par with the ones found in the Jetta and the Passat, the glovebox, dash, steering and the door pads simply ooze German quality at its peak.

Volkswagen Polo diesel road test: Engine and performance

vw polo diesel tdi engine
The TDi diesle engine of the Volkswagen Polo is quite frugal

The Volkswagen Polo diesel TDi or TDi Polo as its named is powered by a 1.2 liter (1199cc) 3-cylinder engine rated at 74bhp @ 4200rpm and has a 180 nm of torque @ 2000rpm. It is mated to a 5-peed manual transmission whose ratios have been altered slightly to suit the diesel powerplant.

The diesel variant is fun to drive but only after 2100 RPM unlike the the petrol engine which had a flat out response. We found the diesel engine smoother and more silent compared to the petrol at idle. Below 2100 rpm the car is not so responsive, but cross the 2100 rpm barrier and the fun begins.

The turbo kicks in and you are smack in the middle of the power band. Follow the gear-shift indicator on the MID and you stay in the power band. During the road test, the Volkswagen Polo TDi diesel took 14.7 seconds to reach the 100 km mark. The engine is responsive and if you insist it can drive all day in the 5200 rpm without complaining.

Volkswagen Polo diesel fuel efficiency

Overall mileage figures of 13.5 kmpl are what we managed with a mix of bumper to bumper city and quick highway bursts. This engine is very capable and you never notice that it’s a 3-pot engine. Response is quick after the initial 2100 rpm and fuel efficiency is good in this class.

Ride and handling

The suspension setup on the Indian Polos have got the tuning to suit our tough driving conditions common here. The Polo behaves like a mid-size sedan and is very composed at high speeds. Ride quality is soft and uneven roads are won over by the Polo. The 15 inch alloys with broader tyres helped the matters further.

German cars are known for their handing abilities and the Polo is an strong example of that breed, it is a smooth handler while cornering and the body roll is well-controlled. The electronic power steering EPS is good but the feedback could be bettered. Brakes are pretty good in here and the brake setup along with the tyres and ABS make the car stop confidently and safely. 168mm of ground clearance on the Polo is one other benchmark for this segment. Gear shifts are slick and the short throw helps matters here. The torque diesel power plant is among the finest in the segment along with the Ford Figo diesel’s TDCi unit. Related: Want more? Read road tests of Indian cars and SUVs

Verdict

A few small things more would have been great in the Polo: power outside mirrors, a slightly larger rear view centre mirror, door auto lock and unlock on ignition, slightly more leg room at the back would make the Polo the segment leader.

The Volkswagen Polo diesel has a very able engine along with the typical German virtues that of unmatched quality and design. Fuel efficiency is top notch in the segment, ride quality is spot on, plush interiors with best in class quality and a large-car like feel are the positives in the favor of this car.

Not much of a difference between the petrol and the diesel Polo variants, as far as ride quality and handling go. The diesel Polo is more drivable after the turbo kicks in, while the petrol sibling is fast from the word ‘go’. And the diesel Polo is frugal all the way. We enjoyed both the variants and they stand out against the competition.

Choose between the diesel or the petrol Volkswagen Polo – make the decision based on your requirements. If saving on fuel costs is important for you, the diesel Polo is the one for you.

Competition

The Polo Diesel rivals in the segment mainly the Ford Figo TDci, Maruti Suzuki Ritz and Swift diesels, Tata Indica Vista diesel and the new variants in diesel from Hyundai i20 not forgetting the cousin Skoda Fabia and the Fiat Punto diesel. Priced at Rs. 5,32,000 for the 1.2 L 75 HP TDI Trendline and Rs 5,81,800 for the 1.2L 75 HP TDI Comfortline while the 1.2L 75 HP TDI Highline is priced at Rs 6,70,000 ex-showroom. The VW Polo diesel sure does offer a very good option in the hatchback segment if one desires best in quality. Also for you petrolheads, the 1.6 Polo Sports is just around the corner and would be launched very soon.

Things we missed on the Volkswagen Polo diesel

Auto lockafter ignition
Electrical power mirrors missing even on the top Hyline variant
Rear head rests obstruct a clear view while reversing
Puny centre rearview mirror
USB and Aux IN connections missing from the stereo

Things we liked on the Volkswagen Polo diesel

Over all quality, fit-finish and brand value
Interior quality especially the plastics used in the cabin is 2nd to none
The sweet sound the doors make every time we shut it
Best-in-class front seats offering superb support and lumber comfort
Torquey engine which is fuel efficient and has a lot of punch in the power band

Volkswagen Polo diesel photo gallery / slideshow

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Volkswagen Polo diesel technical specifications

Volkswagen Polo Diesel TDi Specs

Engine Type    In-Line Engine
Engine Description    1.2L 75bhp 3-cyl.
Engine Displacement(cc)    1199
No. of Cylinders    3
Maximum Power    75 @ 4,200 (PS@rpm)
Maximum Torque    180 @ 2,000 (Nm@rpm)
Fuel Supply System    CRDI

Transmission Type    Manual
Gear box    5 Speed

Front Suspension    McPherson Strut with stabilizer bar
Rear Suspension    Semi-Independent trailing arm

Steering Type    Electronic Power (EPS)
Steering Column    Tilt & Telescopic
Turning Radius (wheel base)    4.97 m

Front Brake Type    Disc
Rear Brake Type    Drum

Fuel Tank Capacity (litres)    45

Tyre Size    185/60 R 15
Wheel Size    15 inch alloys