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Old 28th December 2014, 17:34   #1
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Default Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI

A slice of history

VW and I go back a long time. Here is a picture from 1980. My family owned a white VW bug in Nigeria. That's me in the foreground.

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I'll begin my review the GT with a few pics that capture some of the features that I love and some others that I don't find great.

Nothing extroverted but an elegant design with the right proportions. I had always liked the laid back design. The alloys also look good. The subtle GT badge tells discerning viewers what under the hood. For all other a sleeper.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-front_view.jpg
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-rear_view.jpg

Well put together dash. Fit and finish of the dash is one of the best. Leather wrapped steering great to hold.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-well_wrapped_steering.jpg

Knurled finish on the knobs. Where does VW spend the money - on quality and engineering, but you need to look closely to see it.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-knurled_knobs.jpg

The rubber mats are simply great and though a paid option, a great buy. The front mats have clips to prevent them from sliding forward.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-clips_on_front_mats.jpg
The edges of the mats have a heavy rubber border that create a enclosure similar to the 3D mats. The fit of the mat at the rear is perfect ensuring that no dirt get out to the carpet. I am seriously impressed by the thought that has gone into designing such a simple item.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-lip_on_mat.jpg
The spare wheel is an alloy (great VW!!). VW has provided a thermocol tool holder. The wheel spanner has to be called out for it's lightness and has an Audi stamp on it.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-fifth_wheel_alloy_tool_holder.jpg

If switched on, the hazard light switches off automatically when the indicator are put on so that people behind are not confused.
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A storage space has been provided for the hazard triangle. Unfortunately the provided hazard triangle does not fit into this space.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-hazard_warning_triangle_storage.jpg

The lack of a boot light is also a miss at this price point.

Black inserts on the headlights look great. However the light provided by the headlights is mediocre at best. A headlamp upgrade is a must for regular night driving. The alignment of the headlamps was also not proper when I got it. Fixing it helped things somewhat. Upgraded to Bosch Silver 60/55 bulbs as well that provide upto 50% more throw.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-headlight.jpg

Another example of VW engineering is the humble mud flaps. I have had instances where a miss judged kerb height has resulted in them bashing the tarmac. In the Swift this has resulted in misalignment of the flaps at the front and of the rear bumper at the back. In the Polo the flaps are engineered to flex after a certain point and do not transfer the impact to the body.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-mud_flap.jpg

Last edited by shibujp : 28th December 2014 at 19:58. Reason: improper tense
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Old 28th December 2014, 17:56   #2
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The rear spoiler kicks up and is very well integrated. It also has a slight gap at the point the leading edge meets the roof that lets air through and increases the downforce. On rainy days the path of the air is well defined on the underside of the spoiler. The roof antenna is not too long and looks good.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-rear_roof_spoiler.jpg

An interesting feature is a set of rubber flaps provided behind the radiator. These are weighted at the end. I assume this lifts up above a certian speed to provide adequate cooling.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-rubber_flaps.jpg

The GT scuff plates are provided on the front but not at the rear.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-no_scuff_plate_on_rear.jpg

The wheel jack is designed for ease of use. The handle is integrated in it and operating it is a breeze. You also do not have to lug a heavy spare wheel out of the way to access it as it resides in the tool box as well.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-wheel_jack.jpg

The rain gutter is inadequate for our monsoons. In heavy rain water slips off the roof and into the car when the door is opened.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-rain_gutter_not_adequate.jpg

The alloys are made in Spain by a company named Ronal. however they are prone to damage and chipping by stones. One of mine already has a deep gouge and a bit chipped off by a stone that ricocheted off it on the highway.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-soft_alloys_prone_to_damage.jpg

Stock wiper blades have been replaced with Bosch aerotwins which have greatly improved the wipe on a rainy day. The three step adjustable interval is also a great feature. The washer tank has a good capacity at 7 litres.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-wiper_blades.jpg

The service book is a piece of trash with very little useful information and a lack of transparency on what should be done in each service schedule. In my opinion addressing this one item itself will greatly improve VW service rep. The fact is that the service manual provided with previous Polos and Ventos has much more information. It is a car for an informed buyer else the service costs can burn quite a hole in your pocket.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-service_record_page.jpg
This is the page with the most info in the book.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-the_page_with_most_detail.jpg

A view of the air filter element and the air box. I may replace it with a K&N filter as done by bbraj (Remapped VW Polo 1.6L GT TDI: 134 BHP, 320 Nm, 0 - 100 in 8.8 seconds). All screw heads are of the Torx type.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-air_filter_element.jpg

Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-air_box.jpg

Drive on,
shibujp.

Last edited by shibujp : 28th December 2014 at 17:58.
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Old 2nd January 2015, 01:01   #3
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A perfect storm is what I would call it. A combination of circumstances that eventually led to me selling the Swift. One month before I actually bought the GT I was never in the hunt for a new car.

Run-up to the buy
First was the decision to go with the 185/70 R14 tyres for the Swift. They did give me a certain level of ride comfort that I was looking for but I found I did miss the 205s that I had used previously.

1.63 lakh kms on the Swift and the Michelins looked to do the job for another 20 - 30K. A 205 change at that point would be pointless unless I was ready to continue for another 40k kms to around 2.5 lakhs and I wanted a change.

The biggest factor was that there were simply no products in the 6 - 10 lakh range that excited me. The GT TDi was interesting but at 9.5 odd was expensive. Also I had my concerns about the lack of rear leg room. But then VW announced a 60K discount on 2013 GT models. Under 9 was still expensive for a hatch from a layman's perspective but for me took the GT from interesting to worth a look.

What kind of resale would I get for the Swift? VW quoted a very low exchange amount and I would rather use the car for another 50K kms rather than sell for that. So things slowed down again. The main drawback seemed to be such a high mileage on the car. I then decided to try my luck online. Using my long term ownership report on tBHP to make the ownership of such a high mileage car transparent I posted ads on olx and Quikr. Things started moving and I straight away started getting prices close to what I had targeted. Within a week the car was sold and the GT was booked after a TD. The TD did reveal what I had suspected - a soft rear end which meant that it did not handle as well as the Swift. But it also meant that on an undulating road things were much more comfortable inside. However it was not so bad as to negate the decision to buy.

When I look back I think that if I had 205s on the Swift, I might still be driving it around. An acquaintance happened to mention that when you sometimes examine the rational for some decisions you might find that the root cause may actually be something simple.

Got the GT
So sometime at the end of June 2014, I owned my first 100 bhp car! 10 years back, after getting my first job, I remember looking at the pics of the 200bhp R32 Golf and thinking that it would be a practical beast to own. Now I have something close.

You could have all colors as long as they were red, black or white. So white it was again. Red was not to my taste and though I love black the fact that it would get pretty hot in sunny Kerala meant that black was not to be.

Here are a couple of pictures immediately after delivery.
Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-polo2.jpg

Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI-polo3.jpg

Ownership Experience
15,000 kilometers down the line it's delivered as expected. Other than the lack of space in the rear seat which is not a problem 90% of the time for me it does not have any serious drawback. Even the soft suspension is something that you drive around. I also upgraded to Yokohoma S Drives - 205/55 R15s shortly after I got the car so that has helped the handling too.

The car is fast and you rarely need to go beyond 75% of it potential. Overtaking is a breeze and half chances get converted that previously you would not take. It is only that the cars in the opposite lane do not expect you to close down so quickly sometimes. In gear acceleration is very good and the lag is much less compared to the Swift. The power is usable and you rarely have to rev up the engine too much to access it or get caught in the wrong gear. The only fly in the ointment is the slightly heavy clutch compare to the Swift or the i20. However it is not too heavy and your legs do get used to it in time. The fact that you don't need to shift frequently also helps.

The ride is tuned towards the softer side so it sharp movements tend to upset the car's balance a bit. Keep things smooth, ensure that you contain the roll before a corner and it works fine. It does tend to pitch at times too when you get on and off the brakes too fast. On B-grade roads however it is a much more comfortable car to drive compared to the Swift. Not a point and shoot instrument.

The build is great. You immediately feel the weight of the doors, see the consistent shutline and the fit of the dashboard. It feels built to last. On the road there is this feeling of solidity that you get at the wheel. I would slot it between the Maruti and the Punto in this department - much closer to the Punto scheme of things though.

Mileage as expected is around 1kmpl lower than what I used to get in the Swift. My regular usage average is around 15.5kmpl which I am happy with considering the power on tap and the engine capacity. Best has been around 21kmpl while highway drives regularly deliver in the high 18s and 19s.

Drive on,
Shibu.

Last edited by shibujp : 2nd January 2015 at 01:05.
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Old 3rd January 2015, 12:13   #4
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Default Re: Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 3rd January 2015, 13:08   #5
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Congratulations on your new car and nice to see you having fun with this beast. Please consider getting yourself extended warranty if you already don't have one for peace of mind with VAG cars.
You never know what kind of issues crop up when resulting in component failures for no fault of yours. I am going through a harrowing experience with VW ASS for fuel injector failures.
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Old 3rd January 2015, 13:20   #6
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Congratulations on getting the GT Polol - truly a hot hatch in the diesel segment.
Recommend you get the 3D Kagu mats for the Polo. It will help to retain the beige carpet in immaculate condition.

Have Fun and Drive Safe!
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Old 3rd January 2015, 13:33   #7
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Took your sweet time to pen down the report eh Shibu?

Many congratulations. I have removed the mud flaps now that monsoons are a good 5-6 months away. Lends a very unique stance to the car without the flaps. Do check it out.

That snap with you and the Bug in the background looks very special and nostalgic.
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Old 3rd January 2015, 23:17   #8
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A classic review! When I was reading thru, what struck me is this review got things what others never talked about!! That's quite refreshing and kudos for you to write something different about the same car.

Congrats on the beast and wish you miles of smiles with it.
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Old 4th January 2015, 00:26   #9
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Many congratulations for the VW. It sure is the cleanest designed hatch in India. No fussy curves and lines that might look good on day one but get boring as age hits the car. Polo on the other hand will age well atleast on the design front.

A very clean and to the point review, many happy miles on your GT.
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Old 4th January 2015, 08:02   #10
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Thanks for the appreciations everyone. Given the service rep that VW has it was a really tough call for me given that I would need at least two service calls a year. But the threads from bhpians Gannu_1, clarifications from Hari, and bbraj's post on the remapped 134bhp GT Tdi finally made me take the plunge.

The DIY experience that I had with the Swift and the wealth of information on the Polo available on the internet also helped me with the decision. I feel that the Polo

Quote:
Originally Posted by thenomad View Post
Please consider getting yourself extended warranty if you already don't have one for peace of mind with VAG cars.
You never know what kind of issues crop up when resulting in component failures for no fault of yours. I am going through a harrowing experience with VW ASS for fuel injector failures.
Well I do plan to chip the car so the extended warranty may get voided. Crossing my fingers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by volkman10 View Post
Recommend you get the 3D Kagu mats for the Polo. It will help to retain the beige carpet in immaculate condition.

Have Fun and Drive Safe!
Well the standard Polo mats are pretty good in the sense that they do provide a dish like effect that the 3D mats do. Check out the pictures. The GT interiors are black as well including the carpets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
Took your sweet time to pen down the report eh Shibu?

Many congratulations. I have removed the mud flaps now that monsoons are a good 5-6 months away. Lends a very unique stance to the car without the flaps. Do check it out.

That snap with you and the Bug in the background looks very special and nostalgic.
...tonguetied reading your posts!! Well my long term ownership of the Swift was posted at 33K so this is an improvement.

But jokes aside my intent was to put some miles on the car so that I could speak to the experience as well. Small things that I tend to notice only as I put on the miles. For instance I just noticed yesterday that VW provides a fuse puller slotted into the fuse cover!

I kind of like flaps on my cars my only requirement being that they should look well integrated. In Kerala we do have rains pretty random these days and the car being white with upsized tyres I am keeping them from a very practical standpoint. I did have a concern that they would be bat ears but they look fine.

Regarding the old pic, the history I had with VW was always on my mind ever since they entered the country and I was sad that they were making a hash of the opportunity in India. Between that was also a long miler with over a 100,000kms on the odo before we sold it - incidently a 1.6 as well!

Drive on,
Shibu.

Last edited by shibujp : 4th January 2015 at 08:11.
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Old 4th January 2015, 08:13   #11
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Congratulations on getting yourself a powerful, elegant beauty.

Reading your review, I do miss this car as we had made 70% of the payment for Red GT TDI but thanks to the awful dealers attitude clubbed with no information given as to when I would be getting the delivery put me off making me buy the Swift ZDi.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shibujp View Post
Small things you tend to notice only as you put on the miles.
Good point. These are the "Smaller yet significant things!" which matter in the long run. Not all read the owners manual so such points help a lot.

All the best and keep clocking miles with smiles.
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Old 4th January 2015, 08:34   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post

Reading your review, I do miss this car as we had made 70% of the payment for Red GT TDI but thanks to the awful dealers attitude clubbed with no information given as to when I would be getting the delivery put me off making me buy the Swift ZDi.
From my experience when buying a VW you need to expect and address two things - a high and mighty sales attitude and a less than impressive service experience. For me the sales was not much of an issue because I once I had decided to buy the GT at the 50K discount, I did not expect any kind of discount from them and tried to make the process as transparent as possible. In spite of this they did play around and a particular incident around refunding my NCB amount on my old car had to be escalated to VW which then saw swift resolution.

Service wise I feel it is important to establish a relationship with the service manager and the others if you are in for a long term. Looking at service and replacement schedules of this model in other markets also help you make a call on what can be put off to rationalise cost. Of course the difference in conditions have to be factored in. Also the service center will pull the warranty void threat too which you have to decide whether to want to call the bluff or not. Having owned two Marutis I agree that the experience is much more consistent. Here is it more like you are expected to pay a bomb for service just because you have bought a VW. Well you don't get it all...

Drive on,
Shibu.

Last edited by shibujp : 4th January 2015 at 08:41.
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Old 4th January 2015, 14:45   #13
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Default Re: Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI

No doubt the Polo GT TDI is a great car.

My vote is always behind VW and I can say out of personal experience that their cars are great.

I have heard that the ASS experience is also improving.

This one is built not for the show, but for the GO (no pun intended).
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Old 4th January 2015, 18:56   #14
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Congrats on your purchase . Happy to see that VW is now catering to the enthusiasts as well.
You are lucky to have the pre-face lift GT TDI. THe new 1.5 mill is apparently not as enticing to drive.
The interiors are truly a class apart and is a wonderful place to be in.
It is a pity I have the 1.2 MPI petrol. I am still a (law abiding) teen so I don't drive. However, I influenced my parents to go for it so now they blame me!
Wish you many lovely miles with your beast.
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Old 5th January 2015, 10:42   #15
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Default Re: Shibujp's VW Polo GT TDI

Congratulations! The GT TDI is easily one of the best enthusiast cars to buy today. A performance hatch with the practicality of a diesel and thankfully a manual transmission. I considered the Polo when it first came out, but the lack of rear space proved to be an immediate deal breaker.

However, I love the cars' build quality & suspension. Some people argue that the GT's should have been stiffer, but honestly it makes no sense on our roads. It would help the handling, but unless you spend 90% of your driving time on a race track, it's not worth the rougher ride quality.

Hope the VW service experience has improved. VW has reduced their sales expectation for the next few years, so I hope they take this time to get their local foundation strong.
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