Volkswagen’s super mini car, the Polo has been around for quite sometime and is going strong in European states. First launched in 1975, it has hatchback, coupe, sedan and station wagon versions internationally. But with hatchbacks reigning the Indian market, the Polo here still comes in the same avatar. The line-up also includes special versions in form of Cross Polo and Polo GT.
After a sluggish beginning in 2014, car sales in India began to materialize by middle of the year and Volkswagen too launched its New Polo in 16 July 2014. Although the original model was lauded for its build quality and ride comfort, the noisy 1.2 litre diesel engine had caused some complaints. So the latest diesel version gets a new 1.5 litre unit. It churns 89 bhp (at 4200 rpm) and has 23.4 kgm of torque (at 1500-2500 rpm). The petrol car still comes with 1.2 litre petrol mill.
What else is ‘new’ with the New Polo? It has been restyled with some design updates and even if these are subtle tweaks, they add flair to the hatchback’s looks. The new grille has a chrome strip running across its base. There is thicker chrome lining for the large air dam and the fog lamps also look different. Upper end trims – Comfortline and Highline get new alloy wheels.
The changes at the rear may not be evident instantly but a careful look shows redesigned tail-lamps and a new bumper with reflector on sides. Number plate housing has also been re-sculpted.
Polo was criticised for lack of cabin space and equipment. Volkswagen has tried to address these concerns with the New Polo – the wheelbase has been extended to 2469 mm and there are quite a few updates for the interior. The leather wrapped steering wheel has been redesigned with a slightly flattened bottom and it carries more functionality – audio, Bluetooth and voice command controls are standard on the Highline variant.
VW New Polo has an updated centre console as the air con vents, 2-DIN audio system and climate control unit get metallic surrounds. Along with CD/MP3 player and Bluetooth compatibility, the audio system gets Aux-in and USB and SD card input. Two-tone dashboard and complementing beige seat upholstery add finesse to the cabin.
The front seats were comfortable earlier and continue to be so in the new car. But legroom may still not please tall passengers on the rear seat. Air conditioner does its job well. Other features in the new version of Polo are same as its predecessor. There are dual front airbags (driver and co-driver) and ABS is standard for all variants except the base trims.
New Polo’s three variants – Trendline, Comfortline and Highline – are priced between Rs. 4.99 and 6.07 lakhs for Petrol versions and between Rs. 6.27 and 7.37 lakhs for the Diesel cars (all prices ex showroom Delhi).
With more attractive looks and the bigger diesel engine, the New Polo feels more competitive in its segment. How successful will it be against the likes of Maruti Swift and Hyundai i20, only time will tell.