2014 Volkswagen Polo GT TDI and TSI India first drive
New? But the look almost exactly the same...
Well yes, this is a very small tweak and is essentially the Polo post the update that we saw in July when it debuted with the new 1.5 litre diesel engine. So the both the GTs get the same tail lamps and grille treatment. What's new on the outside is the black mirror caps and black spoiler. Oh and the GT badges have moved from the left of the grille to the right if minute details like that interest you. The interiors also get the new multi information display in the instrument cluster and that lovely new flat bottom steering wheel. Where the regular Polo gets a black and beige interior the GTs get a more sporty all black cabin.
What about the mechanicals?
The Polo GT TSI is completely the same and that's no shame because it was an excellent package to begin with. The 1.2 litre turbocharged engine packs the same 105PS/175Nm which is sent to the front wheels via a quick, smooth and 7-speed DSG automatic. All in all, still a brisk and lovely car to drive.
The 1.5l diesel engine boasts 105PS/250Nm
The GT TDI on the other hand gets VW's brand new 1.5 litre motor, this time producing 105PS/250Nm vs the 90PS/230Nm from the standard hatch. Power delivery is expectedly strong. The engine pulls without complaint from right above idle before a strong surge sets in at 2000rpm before tapering off above 4000rpm. It's very similar experience to the 90PS engine only with a slightly stronger shove. But the difference isn't as large as you might expect. Unlike the petrol and the new Skoda Rapid DSG we recently drove, the TDI only comes with a 5-speed manual. But then you won't be wrong to expect a DSG variant in the future.
So do they live up to the GT badge?
The petrol is an absolute pleasure to drive thanks to the smoothness and punch it offers
Whether it was the short handling course or the high speed set up, the diesel was consistently faster thanks to the huge slug of torque the engine offers
Quite well. Like before, the GTs don't get any suspension mods over the standard Polo so you have a soft chassis but plenty of grip. Volkswagen had set up a series of slalom courses on the drive. Whether it was the short handling course or the high speed set up, the diesel was consistently faster thanks to the huge slug of torque the engine offers. But the petrol runs it very close and it's an absolute pleasure to drive thanks to the smoothness and punch it offers. The steering is precise but without much feel. We drove the cars on a very wet day so we did experience a bit of understeer but the new Apollo Alnac tyres were impressive and a definite improvement over the Acceleres that the Polo used to run. So yes, the Polo GTs might not be the sharpest handlers in a segment with cars like the Figo, Punto and Swift, but their power advantage makes them a lot of fun.
So which is the smarter one to buy
The last time we did this story it was very close but the diesel won because of its combination of strong power and good mileage. Today the story is different because the standard Polo isn't powered by a wheezing 3-cylinder engine any more. Infact, I actually made sure I drove a new 90PS Polo back to back and the difference wasn't that much. Which means if you want a fast diesel hatch why not just buy a standard Polo and save about Rs 62,000 (ex-Delhi)?
The GT TSI continues to be unique and is still a better buy
The DSG box is something which you get only on cars above Rs 10 lakh
The GT TSI on the other hand continues to be unique. The engine is a peach and the DSG gearbox is something you only get on more expensive cars. It also comes with ESP which the diesel doesn't offer. The GT TSI costs the same Rs 7.99 lakh ex Delhi as the GT TDI and that's a pretty good deal for what's all the car you would ever need if diesel and a boot are not priorities.
Starts Rs 6.17 Lakhs
Starts Rs 7.49 Lakhs