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VW Cross Polo Vs Toyota Etios Cross Road Test Comparison Review

We pit Cross Polo against Etios Cross in this road test comparison to help settle the ongoing gripping battle for segment supremacy.


VW Cross Polo Vs Toyota Etios Cross Road Test Comp

We Indians have always had special affinity for big and brawny SUVs’ though for long hefty price tag these butch vehicles used to come with ensured that only few privileged ones enjoy theirownership pride. But now with the emergence of compact SUV category within affordable price tag, winds of change have started sweeping away traditional notions of price associated with SUVs’ for a long time. Today a number of compact SUVs’ come in affordable price bracket and in fact many of these undercut the price of premium hatchbacks and sedans. Pride of SUV ownership and that too without doling out big bucks is in fact doing wonders for compact SUVs’ with customers going completely berserk about these vehicles. Buoyed by tremendous response this segment is witnessing currently, now every manufacturer wants to have slice of this pie. While some of the producers have stepped up their efforts in order to prepone their entry into compact SUV club, others have already landed in market with their best bet. Most recent entrant in this affordable SUV range is Toyota that has ventured into segment with its Etios Cross though VW has already got the head start with its Cross Polo. Both these vehicles are worked up version of their respective hatchback models and are aimed solely to encash on exponential growth in demand currently witnessed by this compact SUV segment. Now both these propositions are blowing trumpets about their own merits and are backed by credible manufacturers. So out of these two which one makes more holistic buying decision and which one you should spend your hard earned money on; we find out in this road test comparison of Etios Cross and Cross Polo.

INFLAMMABLE LOOKS

Both Etios Cross and Cross Polo looks considerable spruced up in comparison to their hatchback avatars. Both the vehicles have used effective design elements that successfully make perceptible difference between these cars and their 5-door cousins. That said, we find Toyota has done a better job here than VW as Etios Cross looks far more rugged and SUV-esque than Cross Polo. Dominating front grill with silver guard immediately lends SUV character to this car. Exaggerated use of black cladding that runs all-around the Etios Cross equips this Toyota with manly and butch character. Roof rails and rear spoiler add a zing of excitement and so is done by skid plates.

 
        


Cross Polo, like Etios Cross, uses a plenty of SUV design cues though VW has done this in more sophisticated manner. There is no intention to offend buyers and unlike Etios Cross in-face design, Cross Polo feels a bit humbled. There is no aggressive grill design as featured in Etios though the band of black matte cladding runs across the length just like Toyota design.


        


Overall both these designs have their own identities and their preference decision will be subjective in nature. While people who value sophistication and fluidity of design are sure to appreciate Cross Polo design folks looking for outright masculinity will prefer Toyota design over its German counterpart. As this compact SUV category is exclusively focussed on brand values of ruggedness and heroic, we find Etios Cross a bit more satiating than Cross Polo.

Cross Polo: *****   Etios Cross: *****

CABIN & SPACE

As usual there are two primary concerns: quality and practicality that decide the fate of this cabin and space bout. Cross Polo wins quality battle with Etios Cross hands down as this German is features high quality material stitched together in flawless manner. Cross Polo is in league of its own when it comes to build quality and even capable to give higher segment vehicles a run for their money. Everything is in its proper place and ergonomically the whole arrangement is nothing but perfect. The only grouse one could have is that the whole arrangement looks a bit Spartan and lacks flair. Nonetheless Cross polo makes up for this deficiency with its sheer feel of quality and luxury.


            


Unlike Cross Polo, Etios Cross suffers severely on quality front as this Toyota feels notches lower than VW on quality front. Although Etios Cross comes with new black piano finish for interiors which certainly looks up market than what we have felt inside normal Etios; still it is not able to cut the ice. Quality is average and everything feels to have built to price. Centrally located instrument cluster and vertically stacked air-con vents make the average feel of cabin further simpleton and boring.


            


However on space aspect, Etios Cross quickly swings into action and achieves huge lead over cramped Cross Polo. Although front seats of Cross Polo are as spacious as of Etios; it is rear bench where Polo cedes much of its ground to Etios Cross. In stark comparison to liberally spacious rear bench of Etios, Cross Polo feels claustrophobic with tight leg room and even worse head room. There is hardly any knee room left once front seats are moved all the way to back; making Cross Polo to score just average on practicality aspect. Etios Cross on other hand feels as impressive as its cousins and occupants are sure to indulge in the extra-space available at their disposal.

On the boot space though equation again changes as Cross Polo feature larger boot with more practical lay-out than Etios Cross. In comparison to 251-litre of Etios Cross, Cross Polo comes with 294-litre of trunk room and unlike Etios Cross where suspension towers intrudes heavily, VW engineers have done a good work in keeping these intrusions to minimum.

Cross Polo: *****   Etios Cross: *****

ENGINE & TRANSMISSION

Both these cars have front-wheel drive system that channelizes the power to front wheels of vehicles through provision of manual transmission. Etios Cross comes with 4-cylinder, 1.5-litre diesel engine that puts out 68 PS of max power and 170 Nm of max torque. In comparison Cross Polo has 3-cylinder in-line geometry diesel engine that displaces 1.2-litre of total swept volume. Power and torque figures of this German wizard stands at 75 PS and 180 Nm respectively. Even with one cylinder chopped off in comparison to Toyota, VW has managed to churn our more performance oriented figures though on road the result is not in line with these theoretical expectations.


          


Toyota Etios feels far more spirited and agile than Cross Polo as throttle responses are much more agile and immediate. Etios Cross feels far more frugal than Cross Polo and moves without any unnecessary fuss. There is less weight drag feel than one is sure to encounter in Polo. NVH levels of both the cars are although just about average though a comparison between these is sure to put Etios ahead of Polo. Drivability of Etios is strikingly good and one can easily crawl in the city in higher gears. On the other hand, Cross Polo demands a regular shift exercise to keep its motor on boil. 3-cylinder motor of Polo is much more prone to NVH and these vibrations are quite perceptible all the time.


            


Out on highway, Polo Cross fares better than the way it performs in city. Open stretches give the chance to VW to unwind its motor and it does perform reasonably well in terms of its overall performance. Three-digit speed mark is attained quickly and one can attain this speed without any major hiccup.

Both the cars come mated with manual 5-speed gearbox that sends power to front wheels of vehicle. VW gearbox requires a bit effort though mechanical feel of this transmission is in league of its own. Throws are short and tooth clogging is very inspiring. In comparison, Toyota gearbox too feels genuine with almost no notchy feel though it falls short in direct comparison with VW. On steering department too, VW has a slight edge over very light and vague Toyota steering though on brake front, both these competitors are equally matched. Still with the higher kerb-weight and taut chassis Cross Polo emerges as ideal choice for highway running.

Cross Polo: *****   Etios Cross: *****

DYNAMIC ABILITIES

Even before this round start, we know that VW will perform well as this German has proven track record on dynamic front; especially on handling aspect. Cross Polo with its communicative steering and rather a bit firm-suspension setting performs exceptionally well around corners. Even high speed throw manoeuvres are handles with aplomb by this vehicle as Cross Polo treads its line with cunning precision. Taut chassis further help the Polo to check body roll and a sheer amount of weight equips this vehicle with amazing sense of stability and safety. That said low speed ride is a bit jarring and jittery as firm suspension doesn’t absorb the adulations as well as Toyota does.


                 


Etios Cross shines exactly on this slow speed cushioning prowess where Cross Polo struggles. With its soft suspension settings, Etios Cross absorbs road-undulations and even potholes with equanimity. Even pot holes are dispatched with confidence though on handling front, this Toyota fades quickly in front of Polo. Further the light and vague steering of Etios makes it more vulnerable to rolling disaster.

Cross Polo: *****   Etios Cross: *****

OVERALL VERDICT

The price difference between these two cars is just about average with Etios Cross undercutting Cross Polo with margin of around Rs 40k (ex-showroom, Delhi). Cross Polo has its own shares of strengths especially on build quality and handling this German does extremely well. It is more accomplished than its Japanese counterpart on stability aspect too but then the key area of looks and performance this German work horse can’t hold candle to Toyota. Especially on styling front Toyota has gone whole hog to ensure that Etios Cross looks every bit of a SUV. There is no holding back in Toyota design and given the fact that most critical element in this category is design and looks, Etios Cross establishes unsalable lead over Cross Polo immediately after first round. Further performance oriented motor and more practical cabin seal the deal in favour of Toyota in this road test comparison. Nonetheless VW has done a commendable job by giving tough fight to Toyota though its efforts falls short as rival Toyota clinches the title of best compact SUV.

Cross Polo: *****   Etios Cross: *****

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