Volkswagen is planning to launch a new variant of its Polo that will cater to those looking at a need for speed, a true little hot-hatch. This will be a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol engine with power boosted to 105 bhp.
Earlier Volkswagen had launched the Polo 1.6 in India with the Vento’s petrol engine, putting out 104 bhp of power. However, the car found very few takers because of its high purchase cost of Rs. 6.5 lakh. The car is still available in limited numbers and made against orders only. Sister company Skoda too launched the Fabia 1.6, which again had very limited appeal. Also read: Volkswagen slashes prices of top-end Polo and Vento
Now, Volkswagen wants to tap the hot-hatchback market again, but this time taking full advantage of the excise sops available for small cars. The norms state that a sub-4 metre car needs to have a petrol engine under 1.2 litres or a diesel engine under 1.5 litres to qualify for the 12% excise duty slab for small cars, otherwise they get pushed into the 24% excise duty category. Therefore a 1.6 Polo didn’t make economic sense.
However, by turbo-charging and introducing direct injection to the three-cylinder 1.2 litre petrol unit the Polo, the car can provide enthusiasts with plenty more power, without the buyer having to fork out a much higher price for it. The turbo-petrol will also alter the car’s pick up characteristics and make it a delight to drive. If reports are to be believed, Volkswagen will also equip the car with a seven-speed DSG (dual-clutch automatic) transmission, which will give you the best of both worlds – the convenience of an automatic with the performance of a fast manual.
The regular 1.2 litre Polo petrol putting out 74 bhp of power will also continue in the line up, while the diesel Polo will feature the three-cylinder 1.2 litre diesel engine also putting out 74 bhp of power. Also see: Volkswagen Polo video review
While the 1.2 TSI petrol will definitely attract enthusiasts, it’s a pity Volkswagen can’t bring in a 1.6 litre diesel Polo. Even if they do launch a 1.6 litre diesel with the Vento’s diesel engine, the car would be too highly priced (in the region of Rs. 8 lakh) and won’t get too many takers. VW was running the diesel 1.6 Polo in the Volkswagen Polo Cup racing series till last year. The only diesel “hot-hatches” at the moment are the Fiat Punto Sport 90, Hyundai i20 and recently introduced Tata Vista 90 Quadrajet.