On face of it Hyundai i20 Active and VW Cross Polo looks quite similar though under the skin, these sporty cross-hatches differ substantially from each other. First contrasting virtue is their debut time where Hyundai and VW occupy opposite extremes of continuum. While Hyundai is latest entry in segment, VW is the one which kick-started fashion of cross-hatch in India. Further, Hyundai have equipped i20 Active with flared up design credentials though VW has tried its best to underrate Cross Polo genes. That said, performance output of both cars are evenly matched though there is huge dissimilarity the way gearbox operate on these cars. Hyundai i20 Active has got 6-speeed gearbox to give it long highway legs though Cross Polo’s 5-speed manual transmission offers class-leading shift experience. Fuel-efficiency too is matched closely though dynamics and on-road performance is what we hope to reveal through this road-test comparison review. On its previous encounters, Hyundai i20 Active has triumphed upon the likes of Etios Cross, Fiat Avventura though without beating VW Cross, segment throne won’t get crowned on Hyundai head. Hyundai doesn’t want to delay its crowning ceremony and hence thrown a gauntlet to its German counterpart. VW is more than ready to accept challenge as we witness yet another showdown in burgeoning cross-hatch category.
How These Look Like On Outside?
Young and Sporty: a theme rightly characterizes both i20 Active and Cross Polo. Both cars use their hatchback frame to eventuate though Hyundai has added a more bling to Elite i20 while drawing up i20Active. While all-around body cladding is existent in Cross Polo too, Hyundai has used traits like skid plates, aggressive front bumper and stylised rear more directly than subtle approach used by VW.
Hyundai i20 Active: Stylish design
VW, as usual, has placed minimum emphasis on bling as Cross Polo comes across as simple yet stylish crosshatch. There is still a class that this VW commands and despite of best efforts, Hyundai can’t get same adoration form pure artistic minds. Subtle creases on Cross combined with body cladding lends unique charm Cross Polo that is exclusive, inimitable and a bit adorable too. Proportions are spot-on and build quality is easily best not only in its own class but also among notches higher.
VW Cross Polo: Subtly designed
Dimensionally both cars stack under 4 meter length criterion though i20 Active dwarfs Polo on all parametric consideration. Be it length, width or height, Hyundai stays ahead and on crucial parameters of wheelbase and ground clearance, it takes decisive lead over VW. Cross Polo comes with ground clearance of 165 mm which doesn’t imply its sporty nature as even some hatchbacks come with higher belly off the ground.
Hyundai i20 Active: 4/5 VW Cross Polo: 4/5
What Are They Inside?
VW art of designing simple yet elegant cabin is exceptional and though Hyundai has done commendable job with i20 Active interiors’, it simply can’t stand quality and finish precision of its German rival. On any other day, Hyundai would have walked away with honour though not today. Cross Polo has got all important parameters like quality, ergonomics, precision, finishing etc. inch perfect.
VW Cross Polo: Classy cabin
Hyundai has done commendable job with interiors too though in front of Cross Polo, the whole scheme of i20 Active interiors pale. Undoubtedly, Hyundai has done a commendable job as it’s finishing too though holding candle with VW seems a little difficult. That said however, on space front Hyundai trounces Polo with huge margin. Hyundai i20 Active comes with class-leading wheelbase that helps it to liberate enormous spacious cabin.
Hyundai i20 Active: Spacious cabin
Luggage space in both cross hatches are limited though i20 Active leads once again with bigger trunk space. Loading lip, however, is a bit high which makes hauling a bit strenuous task.
Hyundai i20 Active: 3.5/5 VW Cross Polo: 4/5
How Much Grunt These Have?
Hyundai and VW are closely matched in powertrain department as both closely match on engine displacement and performance. Power output of both cars is 90 PS while torque output of Cross Polo leads pack with 230 Nm compared to 220 Nm of i20 Active. That said, there is whole lot of difference in refinement level as Hyundai feels incredibly smooth and efficient. Such is level of refinement that it’s hard to realize that oil-burner fits under the bonnet.
Hyundai i20 Active: Incredibly Refined
Drivability is better too in i20 Active as Hyundai feels incredibly easy to manoeuvre in city. Even in higher gears, you can easily crawl in city though same is not true for Cross Polo. VW’s oil-burner not only lacks in refinement but also sounds gruff at higher revolutions. VW has yet to take its finest foot forward as this oil-burner doesn’t boasts the class VW known for.
VW Cross Polo: Intrusive oil-burner
Hyundai has very cleverly used sixth gear ratio in i20 Active as it allows the car to have long legs on highway. Shifting is refined and direct though VW’s tranny is altogether in different level. Cross Polo comes with 5-speed gearbox i.e. one gear less than Hyundai though its precision and slickness is highly commendable. Gates are defined incredibly and there is no directional effort that Polo requires for shifting manoeuvres.
Hyundai i20 Active: 4/5 VW Cross Polo: 3.5/5
How These Behave On Road
Road behaviour of Hyundai and VW is as different as chalk and cheese. While Cross Polo emerges as complete driver’s car, i20 Active lags behind by decisive margin.
VW Cross Polo: incredible dynamics
There is no way both these vehicles are comparable as VW is altogether in its own league. It offers a bit firm ride though handles like a dream machine. Had VW plonked more able machine under the hood, Cross Polo would be a sheer driving pleasure.
Hyundai i20 Active: Average handler
Hyundai is learning on driving dynamics and its achievement on this front is quite commendable. Contrasting sharply to its past, new Hyundai cars are coming with better driving characteristics and i20 Active is no different in this regard. In sum, Hyundai is on right track though requires more time before it matches rivals on this front.
Hyundai i20 Active: 3/5 VW Cross Polo: 4.5/5
On pricing front, both these propositions are closely matched and in fact top-version of Hyundai i20 Active costs more than Cross Polo. But then, Hyundai justifies this extra money by providing more equipment and features which is larger than what top-variant of Cross Polo has on offer. Overall Hyundai has got all basics right with i20 Active. It is spacious, comes with incredibly powerful and drivable engines, and offers long list of equipment. Large Hyundai network is another positive aiding overall appeal of this Hyundai crosshatch. VW Cross Polo, on the other hand, has its own strengths and limitations. Its looks are classy and boast of universal immortal appeal. Clean and clear body lines, uncluttered and classy interiors and benchmark dynamics are sure to favour its buying appeal. However, 1.5-litre TDI engine is still gruff and lacks the low-speed punch and refinement of rivals. Cabin space is matter of concern and so is trunk room. So if you can live with these shortcomings, get a d grab Cross Polo otherwise all-around and practical Hyundai i20 Active makes a handsome choice.
Hyundai i20 Active: 4/5 VW Cross Polo: 4/5