It’s been almost a decade since the current generation Volkswagen Polo was first launched in India. If you look at the Polo’s rivals, you’d notice that all of them have undergone generation changes in this decade while the Polo continues to soldier on with cosmetic and equipment updates every now and then. The new generation Polo has been launched globally but it won’t be coming to India anytime soon, meanwhile the head honchos at VW India have given their hatchback another minor update. We drive the 2019 Volkswagen Polo GT TSI to see whether this premium hatchback still makes for a sensible purchase.
On the outside, not much has changed and when you look at the current Polo, it doesn’t feel very outdated because this design has surely aged well. Of course, other manufacturers have been offering more striking designs with sharp lines but it is the Polo that still cuts it for people who want a graceful and minimalist design. The 2019 model comes with 16-inch grey coloured alloys and they do suit the hatchback really well now, improving its stance too.
Again, barely any changes on the inside of the 2019 Polo. You get a sense of familiarity when you step inside the cabin and the all-black layout looks good and fits well to the sporty image set out by the GT. The quality everywhere continues to remain top-notch and better than rivals too. The centre console houses a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth/USB connectivity.
A reverse camera is sorely missed because even cheaper hatchbacks come with one now. The Polo also misses out on a start/stop button and projector headlamps, yes it still gets halogens which really don’t offer adequate throw. While the seats are fairly comfortable, space at the rear continues to be a concern. Safety features include two front airbags, ABS with EBD and traction control.
What we still love about the Volkswagen Polo GT is that lovely 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder TSI petrol mill and the state-of-the-art 7-speed DSG and this engine-gearbox combo is still best-in-class. The engine is a gem, it has oodles of punch and it can just pull the Polo on and on. It scores high on the refinement front too and at high RPMs, there’s just a consistent thrum that you get to hear. Performance never disappoints and the cherry on the cake is the gearbox which is quick and smooth, but does feel a bit confused at low speeds.
Handling and ride quality are other prowesses of this Volkswagen and the suspension cushions out potholes very nicely. The steering is well-weighed and is quite precise though we feel some more feedback would’ve been better. The Polo is agile, always eager to dive into corners and it maintains its line very well. Braking power is decent too and the 16-inchers do a good job of not only improving the grip but also offering better stability to the car.
The Volkswagen Polo does feel a bit old in the segment but nowhere has it become boring. The Petrol-AT variant is hard to beat and this car offers a very good driving feel along with its premium quality interiors. Where the Polo lags is its cabin space and the fact that some vital features are missing, especially when you see that the GT TSI costs Rs. 11 lakhs (on-road, Mumbai).