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Old 25th September 2014, 16:11   #1
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Default And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

The VW Polo & its siblings, the Vento & Rapid! All 3 are basically the same car with / without a boot.



In the history of the Indian automotive scene, there has been no other model sold with as many engine & transmission options. In total, this car (in hatchback & sedan guises) has had a whopping 9 engine & gearbox combinations.

Petrol + Manual:

• 1.2L MPI Petrol with 74 BHP & 110 Nm torque (Polo).
• 1.6L MPI Petrol with 104 BHP & 153 Nm torque (Polo, Vento, Rapid).

Petrol + Automatic:

• 1.2L TSI Petrol & 7-speed DSG. 104 BHP & 175 Nm torque (Polo, Vento).
• 1.6L MPI Petrol & 6-speed AT. 104 BHP & 153 Nm torque (Vento, Rapid).

Diesel + Manual:

• 1.2L TDI Diesel with 74 BHP & 180 Nm torque (Polo).
• 1.5L TDI Diesel with 89 BHP & 230 Nm torque (Polo).
• 1.5L TDI Diesel with 104 BHP & 250 Nm torque (Polo GT TDI, Vento, Rapid).
• 1.6L TDI Diesel with 104 BHP & 250 Nm torque (Polo GT TDI, Vento, Rapid).

Diesel + Automatic:

• 1.5L TDI Diesel & 7-speed DSG. 104 BHP & 250 Nm torque (Vento, Rapid).

Mass market cars typically have 1 petrol & diesel each. Top sellers like the Swift, Grand i10, Dzire, City, Innova etc. adopt that strategy, with most giving an optional AT on the petrol. Some offer 3 to 4 engine + gearbox combos (Liva, i20, Punto, Linea, EcoSport etc.); only the Vista, Verna, Bolero and a handful of others have gone higher. Yet, none of them can match the sheer number of motors & trannies that the Polo's bonnet has seen. 9 engine + gearbox combinations on the same car is unprecedented.

Why did VW do this? It's partly due to poor planning, and partially due to circumstances. The 1.5L diesel is what the Polo should have been sold with from day one; the erstwhile 1.2L 3-cylinder diesel was too unrefined and suffered from horrible turbo-lag. It gave the Polo a bad name. The small car excise duty (benefiting sub-4 meter cars with <1.2L petrols & <1.5L diesels) was in place before the Polo's launch. VW always had the 1.6L diesel which they could have downsized even back then.

It's also a matter of circumstances. The 1.2L TSI is the global replacement of the 1.6L NA petrol, hence VW had to go down that road. That's not to say the 1.2L TSI couldn't have been offered in the first place.

Then, as is evident from our monthly sales analysis, the Polo, Vento & Rapid are facing the heat from fresher competition. The Polo was launched 4.5 years back and is now getting long in the tooth. The next-generation Polo is still some time away, while VW has slowed down on its Indian investments. Solution? Refresh your limited product line-up as frequently as possible, and offer the widest range of engine & transmission options you possibly can.

P.S. The Polo GT 1.6L TDI is the best diesel hatchback ever sold in India. It'll be remembered as an icon. Fast, torquey, manual transmission, good fuel economy, excellent driveability and immense practicality. A rare car that appeals to the heart as well as the head!

Last edited by GTO : 26th September 2014 at 09:49.
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Old 25th September 2014, 17:38   #2
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Indian Car Scene!
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Old 25th September 2014, 18:10   #3
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Great analysis GTO.

Rather than all this mess they have ended up creating, they could have aggressively priced all diesel variants by passing the excise benefit to the customers.

This is just utter stupidity on VAG's part. Can recall both Fiat and Tata going down this road some time back, and both had to restrict the options later on.

VW also needs to realize that there are mainly two categories of car buyers in India: those who will stick with Japs/Koreans till the end of the earth, and those who are willing to bite the bullet and take their chances with Europeans and the rest. Other than the (very welcome) strategy of offering DSG across variants, how will these options help any prospective customer? Add to it the reduced price difference between rapid and vento.

VAG needs to address the fact that buying VW/Skoda is still considered taking a chance.

Last edited by avisidhu : 25th September 2014 at 18:29.
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Old 25th September 2014, 18:33   #4
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

I guess the 1.2/1.6 MPI options are still there in the line-up just to advertise that low starting price. In reality they can do with just two engine options (1.2 TSI & 1.5 TDI) with the power outputs of 90bhp and 105bhp.
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Old 25th September 2014, 19:01   #5
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

I think it's about time that we go easy on these guys (especially VW, if not Skoda, even though they are brothers). There are certain facts that are impossible to ignore :

1. VW makes solid cars with powerful engines (let's talk about now, not past). So, if someone wants to buy a car from VW/Skoda these days, will end up buying a good product which is fun and fast on road.
2. VW is certainly trying to improve the service center issues. I own a VW and a Maruti and I can safely say that I am more than happy with the customer service experience (graph is going up, not down). Even spare part situation is getting better.
3. I for one appreciate the fact that they revised there strategy (lower sales targets and market share for next few years). This gives them room to improve the mistakes and improvise. They can still be on track.
4. These cars are high on quality, have high tech but user friendly (and fun) automatic gearboxes and top class safety features across variants. I see at-least couple of segment first features there.

No one can bring back the confidence of customers that have been treated badly. Still, it does not make sense to talk about these incidents in every discussion. I think the number of lemons and service issues have reduced considerably. I am not a representative from VW. I am just another customer who has used Japs, Koreans, Indian cars all these years and believe that Europeans get all the stick all the time. They need to work on customer service but please give them space.
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Old 25th September 2014, 19:08   #6
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

I was thinking today of same topic after I saw the print adv of Vento TDI+DSG. And heres a thread for it already. I would love to see the 1.5 TDI+7 spd DSG in Polo GT. Would love to add a hot hatch in family.
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Old 25th September 2014, 19:45   #7
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

Pity the Taigun is still a year plus from being ready for launch. VW could have done with a compact crossover - would have spiced up the segment nicely. With quite a few customers looking for European solidity, it would have really set the cat among the pigeons.
Be interesting to see the response for the DSG Vento/Rapid diesel in the first couple of months.
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Old 25th September 2014, 20:16   #8
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

Thanks for confirming my suspicion about all these variants. The backoffice database people at VW India must have a 1.6L headache with all these combinations. Certainly the service centres are not done any favours either when they have to keep knowhow for so many variants in mind. The 1.2 L petrol should never have been introduced in the first place ... although after seeing the LTT rates and slabs (1.6 / 1.5 fall in higher slabs than the 1.2) I am trying to extract a small silver lining out of our 1.2L purchase.
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Old 25th September 2014, 20:30   #9
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

Its interesting how VW is offering so many engine options, and whats better than that is the 7 speed DSG they are offering on the Vento diesel. This segment has been desperately waiting for a good AT transmission.

The updates to the polo too are extremely tasteful, and add a bag load of character to an already classy car. I love the way the new interior looks, and those engines are quite exciting too. Thank god VW realizes that stuffing a car with chrome is not the only way to update a car.

Having bought my polo at the time when VW thought that we Indians deserved no features, I actually feel jealous of the new owners who get their cars jam packed with features and that excellent driving package.

I honestly believe that the polo is a complete car now, which is established in almost all areas.

VW's ASS has been getting better, so I hope the road ahead is only uphill, and ze Germans get a good grip on Indian roads.

It is to be appreciated how they are the most radical, and take car technology further, unlike (uhum) some other car manufacturers.

Last edited by prakhar1998 : 25th September 2014 at 20:31.
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Old 25th September 2014, 21:22   #10
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

I do hope that they offer a Polo GT TDI DSG and take the number of variants to an even 10.

GTO, any little birdies tell you something on this iteration being launched in the near future?

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
In the history of the Indian automotive scene, there has been no other model sold with as many engine & transmission options. In total, this car (in hatchback & sedan guises) has had a whopping 9 engine & gearbox combinations.
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Old 25th September 2014, 21:25   #11
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

Nice thread, and a very keen observation about VW offering the maximum number of engine-gearbox combinations for the Indian market.

On a related note -

I think they also hold the record for claiming to have the maximum number of independant models from what is essentially the same car with/ without boot. Here's a snapshot of VW India website taken just now -

Name:  Untitled1.jpg
Views: 12471
Size:  134.9 KB

That said - they have transformed their cars into real nice packages for the enthusiasts now. GT TSi, GT TDi and now Vento TDi DSG all are segment best choices IMO.
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Old 25th September 2014, 21:32   #12
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

Now if they can just add a Polo GT 1.2 TSI with manual transmission, I will be happy

That lovely turbo-petrol combined with the slick VW gearbox and ideally ESC as well, will be really satisfying to drive!
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Old 25th September 2014, 21:49   #13
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

In my view, they should not be having the 1.2 and 1.6 NA Petrol engines at all. The manual Petrol's also should have been the 1.2 TSI. Maybe the Petrol Polo sells a bit, but a 1.6 Vento/Rapid Petrol is a very rare sight. May as well offer the 1.2 TSI manual and am sure a lot of people will queue up for that.

This is quite confusing to even the well informed enthusiasts. The average Indian buyer looking for a car and entering a VW/Skoda showroom is going to be totally confused. 1.2, 1.6, Petrol, Diesel, NA, TSI, TDI, DSG, TC AT.

In addition I am sure there will have some stock of the 1.6 TDI's and the Vento Konnect's also to sell. Pity the salesmen

But whatever said and done, I appreciate VW for bringing these technologies to these B, C segments. Especially the TDI DSG.
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Old 25th September 2014, 22:17   #14
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Folks, any reason I should choose the 1.5L vento diesel DSG over the 1.2 litre petrol TSI?

I test drove the polo GT TSI and absolutely fell in love with the peppy engine. I also test drove the 1.6L vento diesel but was not as impressed by it. I also saw an autocar review in another thread which compares the DSG TDI and the DSG TSI and concludes that the TSI is more peppy.

I understand the diesel would be more fuel efficient but also more expensive. From a driver viewpoint, would they be the same? What about maintenance?
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Old 25th September 2014, 22:22   #15
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Default Re: And the Award for the 'Car with most engines & transmissions' goes to....

Kudos to VW for bringing so many options to the table. But I am still very apprehensive. All this excitement about DSG doesn't really make sense to me since the reliability of the whole unit is still a big suspect. Yes there are talks of them having finally figured out the fault but then its still to prove itself. Such claims have been made in the past too. And with no extra protection being offered to customers on there DSG boxes, a failure will really pinch the customer in this price bracket. Going by the figures on the forum, a whole unit replacement a couple of years down the line would easily be almost worth 15-20% of the total car value itself.
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