The name “Polo” has been around for as long as we can remember, and it is often associated with everyday family hatchback with uncompromising performance. The Polo 1.2 GT TSI still remains one of the best performing hatchbacks today
Now, considering the market demands of a cleaner and more fuel-efficient VW. The company has given the Polo, a heart transplant, and quite frankly this surgery is why we took the new Polo 1.0 for a spin around the city to see if this new 1-liter heart goes well with that VW badge. Let’s forget this doctor’s analogy for now and get straight into the review.
The Polo 1.0 looks exactly like, well any other Polo. VW hasn’t done much to differentiate the 1.0 from its already existing lineup. It retains the same low slung design that we’ve come to know and love over the past few years. A slim front grill dominated by the VW logo with triple lines running underneath is flanked by headlamps on both side and fog lamps below them.
The bonnet is decorated by strong lines on each side. Over to the side, the low ground clearance makes the car look longer than it really is. Adding to the elegance is a prominent character line that stretches from the tail light all the way to the headlight. The raised wheel arches add some much-needed muscle to the car.
Things are pretty simple in the back, with a roof lip spoiler that houses the brake lights and conventional headlamps as usual with that big VW logo that doubles as a boot opener. The entire body sits on alloys that were on the older Polo which looks good and makes the package whole.
Just like the exterior, the interior remains untouched… which is a good thing? You get the same quality materials present in the one before it. Soon as you enter you are greeted by a cozy cabin that is filled with all the features you need. There are plenty of cubby holes and the bottle holders on the doors are nice and large. The bolstering on the seat is adequate and will not make you feel exhausted on long journeys.
The fit and finish of the dashboard is the best in class. The infotainment system is a touchscreen unit with a smart interface and good response time. The steering wheel is a flat bottom unit that adds a sporty feel to the car. Over on the passenger side of the car, the bench seats are comfortable; the cabin feels airy thanks to large windows. The knee room is a bit cramped, while headroom is more than enough. Apart from this, the boot is large and has a wide opening that makes loading and unloading a piece of cake.
Under the hood is where you will see all the changes. Going back to our doctor’s analogy, the old 1.2 liter 3-cylinder heart has now been taken out; now a smaller 1 liter 3-cylinder heart takes its place instead. The new engine may be smaller but it still makes a similar 76 bhp. But where the new engine loses out is torque; it pushes out only 95 Nm compared to the earlier 1.2’s 110 Nm. However, the weight of the new Polo is down by 14kg. The car accelerates from nought to 100kph in 16-17 seconds, the engine revs all the way to the redline and sounds great doing it.
While on the other side the engine is even quieter than the 1.2 liter it replaces. Driving out on the city roads is peppy, you get a small yet meaty surge of power. The weight of the car is well balanced, and due to the low ride height, the body roll is almost negligible. The steering wheel is light but well-weighted which makes nipping through traffic and hitting corners a joyride. Also with a claimed mileage of 18.91 km to the liter, you don’t have to worry about your fuel tank drying out anytime soon when the next shortage hits.
The brakes have a strong bite and stopping won’t be an issue during triple-digit speeds, however, the clutch travel is long which might be tiring in stop and go traffic. The suspension is a bit on the firmer side when compared to the old Polo, but nothing to put you off. It does handle all the bumps on the road without giving one too many feedbacks into the cabin. Overall, this 1-liter engine doesn’t feel like a 1 liter, it feels much more powerful.
When the VW Polo first came out, it blew our minds as to how powerful an everyday hatchback can become. The 1.0 didn’t blow our minds out, but it came very close. It looks smart, it is sensible and practical while considering everyday standards, and most of all, it packs a decent punch under the hood and is one of the most exciting 1-liter engines in the country right now. When all that is combined with a ludicrous pricing of NRs. 25.18 lakhs, the Germans seem to have hit their “efficient and affordable” hammer on the right hatchback.