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Review: VW Polo 1.2 Petrol
Driven March 2013
The new Volkswagen Polo is mostly a refresh job, with some features added. The headlights get the mascara treatment quite like the Polo sold internationally. And the alloy wheels sport a new design. Apart from these, you can’t see anything different on the outside.
Ditto inside - we had to peer hard to spot any changes. Now they have leather wrapped around the steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake – not exactly the first things to grab attention when you enter a car. What will get your attention is the design of the new audio system, which also doubles as graphic parking-sensor display. The audio system has steering-mounted audio controls, and a USB slot tucked away in the glovebox. The top-of-the-line gets a Bluetooth hands-free that is not part of the factory audio system – it’s an aftermarket device that can be bought off the shelf.
The 1.2-litre petrol that we tested has a three-cylinder motor that pumps out 74bhp and 110Nm. On the highway, the car manages triple-digit speeds without much effort. Keep the engine on the boil and it sounds stressed after a while. In the city, power feels more than adequate. The engine feels more than eager for quick overtaking, aided by the smooth five-speed manual. The gearing is tuned for squeezing out more kilometres per litre – in our city run, we got 13.2kpl.
The light steering and small turning radius make the Polo very useable around the city. The reverse parking sensor (top-end only) is handy in tight spots. Most drivers will appreciate the light steering, but on the highway, it lacks feel. Turning hard into a corner, it’ll respond to your every input, but in a cold, clinical German manner. There’s no communication with the driver, it just executes orders.
The Polo’s ride is more than satisfactory, thanks to the softer suspension setup. It gobbles up bad roads easily; at high speeds, it feels stable and cruises comfortably, never losing its composure. The downside of the soft suspension is the handling – in fast corners, the Polo shows noticeable body roll. This is clearly more a family car than an enthusiast’s ride.
We like the Polo as an all-round family car, with its smart design and nice cabin. The updates are appreciated, but it should have come with features like integrated Bluetooth and an updated engine to better match its rivals.
3 cyl, 1198cc, petrol, 74bhp, 110Nm, 5M, FWD, 1055kg, 0-100kph: 14.47sec, 30-50kph (3rd) - 4.27sec, 30-50kph (4th) - 6.29sec, 50-70kph (5th) - 7.92sec, 80-0kph - 27.42m, 163kph (claimed), 14.3kpl, Rs 6.89 lakh (on-road Mumbai)
This Polo is just a mild refresh with a few features thrown in.