Volkswagen Polo GTI Review
- Published On: 7 May 2018
- 5 min read
The German-car maker’s Polo-based GTI variant is out and we took it for a drive in Spain.
Volkswagen’s GTI stands for Grand Touring Injection and has been the company’s performance brand for more than 40 years. The GTI was known to be the car that started the ‘hot hatch’ segment internationally with the original Golf. However, in India the first car to get the GTI badge was the Polo which is why we test driving the next-generation model of the Polo in GTI trim.
On the outside
The new Polo GTI has a few tweaks on the outside but it still looks similar to the model it replaces. The headlights continue to have the twin bulbs and the grill continues to use the honeycomb design. This is the case towards the rear also; the car uses the same taillights which remain square shaped. The biggest changes come in form of different contours and proportions giving the car a more rounded design. The car also has a few small changes like the red stripe being in the centre of the grille instead of the bottom. The new model also features 18-inch alloys which are finished in a grey and black combo, looking much neater than its predecessor.
On the inside
The older model had a very similar interior to the standard model; the only changes were the chequered seat pattern and sporty-looking steering wheel. Other than this, the dials, vents and doors are pretty much unchanged. The car didn’t exactly impress in terms of interior. However, on the new variant, the dashboard is new and looks a lot sharper. Furthermore, there is neat red swathe running across it which looks impressive. Adding to its sporty character is how the instrumentation is directional towards the driver.
This car also features a fully-digital instrument cluster and infotainment system. This makes the car look considerably more modern. The screen is also customisable and display navigation similar to the screens Audi uses. Additionally, the car uses high quality buttons and feel really nice while operating.
Since every journalist got their own unit, we spent all the driving the sporty hatchback. The seats at the front are supportive and deep. They even offer enough support to slimmer individuals. Once you move to the rear, however, you can tell that this car is a lot bigger and there is sufficient room for most.
How does it drive?
The car is a sporty hatchback which means speed and aggressive handling is something you would expect. This car is powered by a large 2.0-litre turbocharged direct-injection motor from the Golf GTI. In this car it makes 200hp and 320Nm of torque.
The Polo GTI also uses an electronic differential which is pretty impressive and offers better handling. Additionally, the new MQB platform also offers more performance thanks to its 28 percent stiffer chassis. The car was very drivable and unlike other sporty hatches. It has a 0-100kph time of 6.7sec and since we couldn’t try it out for ourselves, we found it pretty decent.
Hot hatches have a harsh ride and we expected it. Even though they are everyday cars, hot hatches offer a harsh ride, so harsh in fact that you feel like you have broken something. But the Polo is surprisingly comfortable and more suited towards our rough roads.
The car also features drive modes as one would expect. When you go through the gears, you realise that it is really quick. But, the car does shift up on its own if you rev out a gear too much. To add to that, the handling is pretty undramatic and the car runs wide when you corner. You are required to go off the throttle to bring the car back in line.
Should I buy one?
The big question is if you will be able to make one. Volkswagen isn’t sure about launching the hot hatch here. We can also expect it to be pricier since it offers a lot more than the model it replaces. So, if and when the hot hatch does make it here, assuming it’s well-priced, should you consider it? Yes, this is a GTI that deserves serious consideration. So as things stand at the moment, the new GTI has a lot going for it and VW just has to get the price right and judging by the good sales of the older GTI. There is surely a market for it in India.