Next in the series of generation-comparo, this week we at ECARDLR decided to stack previous generation Polo against its new 2014 facelift avatar. VW Polo despite of being an all-around and capable car never sold to its true potential. Although boasted by vault-like build quality and impeccable fit-finish, Polo was heavily bogged down by its lackluster 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder wheezy diesel motor. Though now VW has replaced this lacking oil burner of older variant by brand new bigger 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged power train. Flush with new vitality and vigor, Polo has found a new confidence swagger that makes it now more confident in confronting its segment rivals. What else has changed and up to what measure, we find this generation comparison test.
Over The Skin Alterations
2104 VW Polo: Sleek and Stylish
Cosmetically the cosmetic i.e. over the skin changes that new 2014 Polo features is subtle in nature and requires a concerned eye to get noticed even for a bystander. New 2014 Polo has got new bezel headlamps with discreet chrome layer bottoming the two horizontal black slatsgrill. In comparison older Polo had three chrome slats on grille design. Long stretched wrap around air dam adds a nice touch to Polo frontage and its chrome embellishment is more perceptible than one on grille. Long sloping hood as well as low-slung nose of older design has been carried over which is in fact a nice touch. Profile too has been carried over however on rear new Polo features a new bumper with embedded utility of parking sensors. The utility was severely missed on Polo predecessor and is in fact a welcome addition on new 2014 Polo.
Older Polo: Teutonic Beauty
Even the older version of Polo was not a pushover and was in fact equally competent in its turnout. VW too seems to be fully aware of this fact and that’s why company hasn’t altered much with either dimensional or structural periphery of Polo. Except for minor nip-tuck job VW Polo retains its design and style supremacy. There has been 13 mm addition on crucial parameter of wheelbase though given the cramped nature of older Polo we doubt whether this addition would prove suffice.
2104 VW Polo: Sleek and Stylish
The major changes inside the cabin of Polo are silver finished centre console and new sporty steering wheel that comes with mounted controls. However we wish VW had added some more flair to overall lay-out and layering of cabin. Despite of being an extra-ordinary performer on quality and stitching front, new Polo seems to have lost battle to its rivals on overall aptitude. The only difference in new Polo cabin is silver coloured centre console though we like the all-black design theme of older Polo. The addition of new steering wheel indeed brings in some chunky feel to Polo manoeuvring experience and mounted controls with their tactile stimuli aids the practicality of cabin. On space aspect, new Polo even with addition of 13 mm doesn’t score high as rear of this German five-door hatchback still feels quite cramped.
Older Polo: Man in black
Though the colour choice is subjective issue we still like all-black theme of the older Polo that felt more in-line with its image. However the addition of new steering wheel is worthy of being given a round of applause as previous one lacked the utility of mounted controls. Further the addition of 13 mm though not large enough to completely address the space constraint grouse but still an honest move to address the space anxiety of prospective buyers.
The big talking point of the new 2014 Polo is its new brand new powerful 1.5-litre,4-cylinder diesel engine that replaces the older 1.2-litre,3-cylinder rattling oil-burner. This new unit has been derived from Vento’s 1.6-litre diesel engine and in order to avail excise exemption, VW has reduced the displaced capacity of this Vento unit by more than 100 cc. Bore of the Vento motor has been squeezed in order to accomplish this capacity reduction task and in this process performance figures have also taken a hit. Still by hatchback standard, the power of 90 PS and torque of 230 Nm is incredibly good. In fact compared to 75 PS and 180 Nm of older Polo, new Polo feels massively improved version on both paper as well as on road.
2104 VW Polo: Mighty and Powerful
We always knew that new Polo would be quick than the outgoing model though the kind of linear power delivery, on par with the best, that this German vehicle delivered really came across a pleasant surprise to us. VW’s engineers have really worked hard on drivability aspect as new Polo not only comes as a quicker version but also a car that won’t require urban commuters to virtually have their left hand on gear lever all the time. City driving has become far easy in Polo than on any other vehicle from VW stable including Vento from which this engine has been sourced.
Older Polo: Muscle debility
In the same vein, on highway where usually the pedal to metal operation begins, new Polo is sure to plaster a big smile on your face. It has got a bigger heart and now one can fully exploit the Polo’s dynamic and chassis competencies fully with this powerful oil burner. The motor revs quite smoothly and though towards the top-end it loses some of its composure, still it’s not a big botheration in typical city driving circumstances. Another delightful feature of VW that new Polo has retained is crispy and slick shifting 5-speed manual transmission that is undoubtedly a segment benchmark.
On dynamic front, new 2014 Polo shares uncanny similarity with its predecessor and there is little that differentiates older model from new one. Additional weight of the engine has mandated a bit stiffened suspension setting in new Polo though it is not very perceptible thing in daily driving exercise. Overall the tuning of springs is on a stiffer side though this doesn’t sour the ride experience. In fact in comparison to older version new 2104 edition of Polo comes with somewhat mature combination of ride and handling. The new setting boasts of a bit pliant cues in contrast to a tad jarring experience of the older Polo.
2104 VW Polo: Mature driving dynamics
Handling forte of older Polo has been further fortified by its new version with 2014 Polo drawing on strong anti-rolling character of its predecessor. Taught chassis, tight skinning and body controls make Polo one of the best handlers of the hatchback segment. Like Maruti Swift and Fiat Punto, VW Polo is totally an enthusiastic machine with sporty and racy character.
The major transformation that new Polo 2014 comes with is under the hood where VW has replaced the older puny motor with stronger and powerful oil burner. This replacement has been due for long time and in fact VW should have launched Polo in India with such a strong and powerful engine. This major shot in arm of Polo in terms of new engine is sure to give impetus to sales momentum of Polo and now VW has a genuine reason to expect a spurt in sale. The real deterrent that has now left in Polo is its premium price tag that borders on Rs 8 lakh tag for top most highline trim. Otherwise this new 2014 version is finally the Polo we always desired to have.