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Old 28th June 2012, 16:35   #1
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Default VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Replacements. EDIT : Now Sold!

How it all started

Our garage needed a hatchback as we just had one big car, the Octavia for our city and highway usage. Living with a big car in the city was getting tough, especially finding parking space. We had plans of buying a hatchback for long, but it happened only in the latter half of 2011.

Thus began my car decision journey! Little did i know that the next few months (7 to be exact) will be some of the most stressful months, and Iíd end up buying a car Iíd ruled out in the beginning?


The selection process which seemed never ending:

When you have a budget of upto 8 lakhs and youíre in the market looking for a diesel hatch, youíre in a state of eternal confusion. Personally for me itís been a rollercoaster ride!

Being the car nut I am, I decided to drive every B1 and B2 segment car except three, Beat,Micra and Indica Vista. The looks arenít to my taste so had to rule them out.

The first car which came to my mind was the Figo titanium. It will be ideal for our requirements. It had the space, good engine with zero turbolag and would save almost a lakh and half of our budget which can be used for mods later on. After repeated calls to Cauvery Ford, i have a Figo waiting at my doorstep.

Ford Figo:
Likes- Drivability, VFM, Ride & Handling
Dislikes-Looks bland (purely my opinion, no offense meant), Interior design, Reports on rattles

Maruti Ritz:
Likes-Power delivery post 2k rpm, VFM, Maruti A.S.S
Dislikes- Turbo-lag,it takes forever to spool, Ride at the back, A friendís year old Ritz had developed annoying rattles

After driving the 2 cars, it dawns upon me that iím not gonna be happy driving a car from this segment. Need something more powerful and better. Enter Swift, Punto 90HP

Maruti Swift:
Likes: FTD, Loved the engine for refinement and Power delivery, Interior layout
Dislikes: Looks, Overpiced ZDI, 8month long waiting time, didnít give me a premium hatch feel when i sat inside

Fiat Punto 90HP:
Likes- Excellent drivability very little turbo lag, Steering feedback, High speed manners, Build quality
Dislikes: Interior fit and finish, Long clutch, Turning radius, Expensive with no discounts

We almost bought the Punto, but in the end decided to go against it as its a car more suited for the open road than the city.

I was so impressed with the Swift i decided to book one immediately, the booking was done in October and i was promised a delivery by late Feb or early March.

In 15 days of booking the price is hiked by 15k, i was expecting this so didn't bother much. December comes and goes almost as soon as 2011 got over. I celebrate and welcome 2012 in a big way, its the year i finally progress from being a 'Car enthusiast' to a 'Car Owner'.

I wait patiently for 3 months. Its Jan and Maruti decides to spoil my party. There is a price hike by 40k, Swift is now 8.16 OTR in Bangalore. We visit the dealership to confirm the delivery dates fearing further hikes. Weíre told delivery is only possible by April or May! The same person who had orally promised a delivery by Feb or March, made it clear that i wonít be getting my car before May. The dealer's response clearly indicated favoritism in allocating cars.
When i insisted on looking at my position on the booking list they gave lame excuses for not showing it to us. More importantly, the wait was getting frustrating and the ZDi, though fun to drive et al, wasnít worth 8 lakhs. The dealer going back on his words made us look at other options in the 8-9 lakh range.

Skoda Fabia:
Likes: Engine (yes the 3 pot impressed me), Interior quality, Space, Build Quality, Ride
Dislikes: NVH and refinement was average, Boring green illumination.
Reason for rejecting : Polo was a better option at this price point.

Volkswagen Polo:
Likes: Looks, Build quality,Gearshift, Insulation inside cabin, Interior quality and layout.
Dislikes: Turbo lag (more on this later), some niceties missing (ACC, AUX/USB, auto up/down feature),Underpowered

I20 CRDI Asta:
Likes: Features at the price point, Space, Steering feedback is not so bad, AC was acceptable
Dislikes: Peaky Power delivery, NVH (TD car had 9k on the odo and NVH in Swift was FAR better), steering rattle issues.

After a lot of thought, we finally decided to settle for the Polo for the following reasons:
  • Seemed a better option at the price point.
  • Got a cool 60k off on the car since it was a 2011 make.
  • Engine was not as bad as iíd imagined after reading online. It was acceptable.
  • Immediate delivery! Only someone whoís waited endlessly without a car will know what this means.


About the car

Looks

Enough has been said about it already, i simply LOVE the way Polo looks. At times after parking, i turnaround and admire the beauty for a few seconds!
Iím a fan of European carsí timeless design, our Octavia, though over 5 years old now and amidst new and better looking cars, never fails to impress me.
The Polo is not quirky from any angle, neat lines and a timeless design. Oh, i love the alloys design too! I find it the best in the market when you consider what's given as OEM.

Build quality

Typical euro car like build quality, only the Punto feels more Ďsolidí in my opinion. The Japs and Koreans are no match in this. The doors have that íthunkí sound (no, i don't hear a 'thud') when they close, and overall the car feels very well put together. Some parts like the door handle feel like itíll outlast the car.

Engine

Noise, vibration and harshness

There is a bit of shake-up on starting the engine, and the noise in cabin is bearable. Its not as refined as some of the 4 cylinder units there. However, on the move with the music playing at low volumes, you barely hear the noise. The insulation is pretty good, being a 3 cylinder i expected it to be a lot noisier but Iím happy to be disappointed. Iíve not had a problem with the harshness levels in the car, thereís not much of it felt on the steering wheel

However, on the clutch pedal though especially when its fully depressed the engine is a lot more noisy. I wonder why. Overall, the refinement and turbo-lag is definitely not on par with the competition. Having said that, the in-cabin noise at city speeds is not significantly more when compared to the other 4 cylinder units, its only the turbo lag youíll be disappointed with.

Power delivery

City drivability
To put it in one word: Satisfactory. There is a significant amount of lag, the only saving grace is the turbo-assist begins at 1800 rpm and once you get past 2200 rpm, the engine is in the power band and it never feels like an effort to drive. The only time youíll be complaining is if youíre stuck in a traffic jam, going up an incline and you canít shift to 2nd youíll resort to brutal clutch slipping in 1st. Once past 2200 rpm the engine is punchy till about 3.5k rpm depending on the gear youíre in.
As of writing this review, the odo stands at 3400kms. The 2nd and 3rd gears are vital for city traffic. Iíve found myself using 2nd for all the quick overtakes within the city and 3rd on those rare stretches where you can maintain a speed of 50-60km/h. In-gear acceleration in these 2 gears is very good, iíve never timed my car but it makes very quick progress and before you know it, youíre zooming past the traffic.
Having said that, the car is not for the spirited driver at all, the lag bogs you down and even when in the mid range, the car isnít as exciting as say a Swift.

Highway drivability
I find the performance acceptable till speeds of 100-110km/h, iíve not tried pushing my car beyond that consistently. Only once, i hit 140kmph the engine noise and tyre noise were a bit of a bother at such speeds. The engine feels strained beyond 120 and also the noise at such speeds is unbearable, lets see if things change with more kms on the odo. The best gears for highway cruising are 4th and 5th, youíll only have to shift down if your revs fall too low, iíve found the 5th gear sufficient to overtake cars doing 80-100kmph.

In conclusion, this engine is not class leading in terms of performance or refinement, what it manages though is a bit of both.

Gearbox
Everyone has only praise for it, but mine is a tad bit hard. It was very hard when new, but with 3k on the odo, its gotten better. Iím hoping after 5k kms the gearbox should feel better. However, it slots in perfectly with short throws and despite being hard, its still a joy to use.

Suspension & Ride quality
One word, excellent! Polo handles the potholes and undulations brilliantly, you can hear the suspension at work but youíre never tossed around. I think only Punto beats Polo in terms of handling bad stretches. Most of the time iím the sole occupant in the car and if you inflate to 32 psi the ride gets stiff and bumpy, put it back to 30 or 28 and the car will reward you with a great ride.


Interiors
The quality of plastic is far better than whatís found on the competition, in my opinion only the Fabia was better with the touch and feel being typical European. Interior illumination is a combination of red, white and the odd blue on the music system. The backlight on dials is white, the needles are red which i find quite pleasing to the eye. Like all VWís youíll find red illumination elsewhere.

Glovebox has dampeners! I donít think this car will rattle if maintained well.

The AC is an absolute chiller, cools the cabin in no time at all and youíll have the rear seat occupants request you to lower the blower speed. However, i wish theyíd give ACC in the Polo, not that i miss it too much but wouldíve been nice to have at this price point.

The ergonomics are spot on, all the crucial controls like power window switches, Lock/unlock button, and the electric adjustment for mirrors are easy to reach. Even the HU is located such that its very easy to change radio channels/tracks, volume without taking your eyes off the road.

The car has 1.5l bottle holders upfront; the rear seats can only hold magazines. You have 4 cubbyholes around the handbrake lever and 2 cup holders in the center console with some storage space behind to keep your mobile, wallet etc from prying eyes.

Space & Comfort
Seat support is pretty good by hatchback standards, the front seats good have been made bigger. I find the i20 and Swift have better front seats. At the rear, the legroom is tight, but the rear seat offers good back support when compared to other hatches. The under thigh support is only average though.The rear seat is a tad bit low and also the headroom at rear is a bit of a premium

The front seats have long travel range and even those above 6í are comfortable finding a proper driving position, legroom at the back is tight if you have a 6 footer upfront. In that case only a person whose 5í 7Ē or less is comfortable at the rear.

The boot is very big, i donít have the exact capacity at hand but its sufficient to carry two medium size suitcases and a few bags. What a family will need for a few daysí trip.

Handling, on-road behaviour and grip levels
The ride is FLAT and there is no bumpiness or excessive vertical movements when you drive over undulations on the highway. Iíve not really pushed the car but it corners very well at high speeds and you have a feeling of stability. Body roll, though present is very well controlled and emergency manoeuvres on the highway donít leave you nervous. To sum up, the car does what its asked to without much fuss.

Steering, braking, high speed stability.
If thereís one thing i absolutely love about the car, its the brakes! Its got terrific bite and cuts down speeds very quickly, even when its raining they donít feel rubbery like some of the other cars iíve driven. The steering is an electric unit, so enthusiasts will be disappointed. The upside though is it makes city driving less tiring, the feedback at high speeds is just average. This is no Punto.
However, the steering is adjustable for both rake and reach.


Stock ICE and Equipment
The stock ICE is pretty good, you get 4 speakers and 2 tweeters though i find it a little Ďboomyí for the kind of music i listen to. The only grouse is the lack of USB/AUX port which is a glaring omission in what is called a Ďpremium hatchí.
The Polo doesnít have a long list of equipment level to boast of, infact there are many glaring omissions in the ĎHighlineí variant too.
For starters the car doesnít have vanity mirrors! Common VW, how much did you save by removing it. The car shouldíve had it on the passenger side atleast.
In my car, the driverís side doesnít have power window controls for the rear doors. Its a nightmare if you have kids at the rear or if the windows are left open by someone who got off, and it begins to rain when you start.
The power window switches should have come with illumination, its bad at the rear as the passengers have to grope for the power window button at night.
There is no boot light as well.

I feel these are basic features which must be present in what is marketed as a Ďpremiumí hatch and especially so in the top-end variant.

The stock bulbs are pretty much useless, iíve upgraded to the Osram NB+ and its made city driving a lot easier, i find the fog lamps to be weak too, will need to be replaced soon.

Fuel efficiency
City-Best i've achieved is 15 and the worst 11.5, on an average its 13.7
Highway-Just one journey and i got 20.1 kmpl

Booking & delivery experience from the dealership

The booking and delivery experience from the dealer was very average. I had requested for a PDI at the yard before it was sent for registration, however my request was rejected as the full amount wasnít credited to their account in full. The SA and the team lead from VW palace cross were very rude, to quote them ďWeíll talk about the car once the payment is settled, ok sir?Ē
I will never recommend VW palace cross to anyone buying a new VW, my cousin bought his car from VW Downtown and the SA was more accommodating and light years more professional than the one i dealt with.

On-road price, discounts
The car was a 2011 model purchased in Feb 2012, so we ended up getting a discount of 60k on the on-road price. The final price i paid was 8,22,000.

Any niggles, problems or part replacements faced
In the month of May the car needed attention by VW. The rear right wheel brakes had jammed and the car had to be towed. The rear drum brakes were replaced under warranty and the car returned to me in 5 days. The part replacement was done in 2 days, whereas the approval for the same took 3 days to come, i collected the car a day late.

Iíve never experienced any road side assistance by other companies, but VW took 2 hrs to come to where my car was. I contacted them at 12A.M and the flat-bed came at 2A.M, so iíve no benchmark to compare and rate them against.


My review is over 4 months late, i had CA exams to finish. I hope my review was worth the wait and your time reading it
Attached Thumbnails
VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Replacements. EDIT : Now Sold!-img_20120201_151131-edit.jpg  

VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Replacements. EDIT : Now Sold!-img_20120201_150444for-bhp.jpg  

VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Replacements. EDIT : Now Sold!-img_20120205_091335-bhp.jpg  

VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Replacements. EDIT : Now Sold!-img_20120205_120521-bhp.jpg  

VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Replacements. EDIT : Now Sold!-img_20120205_120548-edit.jpg  

VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Replacements. EDIT : Now Sold!-img_20120205_120600-bhp.jpg  

VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Replacements. EDIT : Now Sold!-dsc_0005-bhp.jpg  

VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Replacements. EDIT : Now Sold!-dsc_0006-bhp.jpg  

VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Replacements. EDIT : Now Sold!-dsc_0007-bhp.jpg  


Last edited by shashank.nk : 28th June 2012 at 22:36.
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Old 28th June 2012, 19:12   #2
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Default Re: A review of my Polo TDI Highline

that's a very good looking car. And diesel ofcourse is the flavor of the season. One word of caution though: As you might know that the oil pan on the Polo & Vento diesels sit pretty low and are prone to damage on bumps, speed breakers and over sundry unnoticed obstructions like rocks, boulders etc. A skid plate to protect the engine would be a good idea as a precautionary measure since the fibre cover would not help much in case of oil pan/sump hitting any obstruction.
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Old 29th June 2012, 13:39   #3
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 29th June 2012, 14:10   #4
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by shashank.nk View Post
How it all started


Stock ICE and Equipment
The stock ICE is pretty good, you get 4 speakers and 2 tweeters though i find it a little ‘boomy’ for the kind of music i listen to. The only grouse is the lack of USB/AUX port which is a glaring omission in what is called a ‘premium hatch’.
The Polo doesn’t have a long list of equipment level to boast of, infact there are many glaring omissions in the ‘Highline’ variant too.
For starters the car doesn’t have vanity mirrors! Common VW, how much did you save by removing it. The car should’ve had it on the passenger side atleast.
In my car, the driver’s side doesn’t have power window controls for the rear doors. Its a nightmare if you have kids at the rear or if the windows are left open by someone who got off, and it begins to rain when you start.
Congratulations, and going for diesel is good choice in that budget.

My wife who doesn't know much about car brands always gets excited seeing a polo from behind, while I am driving my Wagon R.

She would praise the car for it looks and it so happened, that on two or three occasions polo caught her attention, not realizing that its the same car she spotted earlier.

On equipment side, its actually sad that a car at that price lacks those basic equipment. My wagon R which costs half your polo has all of the missing equipment quoted .

Music system has AUX input, and USB functionality can be enabled with a cable sold separately. Its other thing that cost of cable itself is 5K, so not worth the purchase.

Last edited by born_free : 29th June 2012 at 14:29. Reason: Missing info
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Old 29th June 2012, 15:16   #5
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

Congrats on owing this great looking hatch!
For service would not recommend you VW-Downtown as there are examples listed in this forum.
Wishing you great ownership and many happy crunching miles!

Cheers!
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Old 29th June 2012, 15:26   #6
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by born_free View Post
Congratulations, and going for diesel is good choice in that budget.
Thanks for your wishes! The Polo has many fans purely because of its looks. Like i mentioned in my review, i feel these ought to be made standard on a hatch costing so much. I'd thought i'll highlight them so that prospective buyers know what's missing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by volkman10 View Post
Congrats on owing this great looking hatch!
For service would not recommend you VW-Downtown as there are examples listed in this forum.
Wishing you great ownership and many happy crunching miles!

Cheers!
Thanks! I had my car taken to VW Palace cross and not downtown because of what i'd read on the forum about their service. VW palace cross staff was customer friendly.
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Old 29th June 2012, 15:34   #7
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by shashank.nk View Post
I will never recommend VW palace cross to anyone buying a new VW, my cousin bought his car from VW Downtown and the SA was more accommodating and light years more professional than the one i dealt with.

Read the above and assumed you have shifted to VW-Downtown

Cheers!
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Old 29th June 2012, 15:51   #8
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by volkman10 View Post
Read the above and assumed you have shifted to VW-Downtown

Cheers!
Oh,my bad! I should've mentioned its only for buying a new VW that Downtown is good, not servicing. For servicing, i think VW palace cross is the only good option. Any other dealers apart from these 2 ?
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Old 29th June 2012, 16:58   #9
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

That's a nice, unbiased and comprehensive report. I remember you had booked the Swift ZDi and eventually the wait period got too frustrating.

The Polo has most things going right for it - the brand image, build quality and elegant design. What really lets it down (and also evident from your report) is the engine. At 8.22L OTR with another 50K premium, VW ideally should have had the 1.6L Vento's diesel engine option in the Polo. The price is steep for a 3 cylinder car with several features missing. However, the build and ride quality seem to be top notch. And yes, it does make heads turn - especially the Highline variants.

How do you find the oil consumption of the car? VW TDi engines are known to be heavy oil sippers in the initial stages.

Last edited by fuel_addict : 29th June 2012 at 17:01.
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Old 29th June 2012, 17:12   #10
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

8 month long waiting time for the Swift(D)?? Thats overkill. Its almost like you liked and booked the pre-facelift model and by the time you got the delivery, you got the ugly facelifted one. (Only quoting an example here, not commenting on the swift).

My friend too has a 2011 Polo TDi highline and on occasions when I drive it, I find it to be a very good handler compared to my beauty (on highways). But ofcourse the 3-pot engine response and the diesel clatter are immediately apparent. Also, driving it in hyderabad traffic is a real pain. I found Swift (D) to be much better for city traffic conditions.
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Old 29th June 2012, 17:31   #11
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by lurker View Post
that's a very good looking car. And diesel ofcourse is the flavor of the season. One word of caution though: As you might know that the oil pan on the Polo & Vento diesels sit pretty low and are prone to damage on bumps, speed breakers and over sundry unnoticed obstructions like rocks, boulders etc. A skid plate to protect the engine would be a good idea as a precautionary measure since the fibre cover would not help much in case of oil pan/sump hitting any obstruction.
Thanks for the info. A skid plate will be difficult to source and install i guess, but will surely enquire and get one done if available.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fuel_addict View Post
That's a nice, unbiased and comprehensive report. I remember you had booked the Swift ZDi and eventually the wait period got too frustrating.

The Polo has most things going right for it - the brand image, build quality and elegant design. What really lets it down (and also evident from your report) is the engine. At 8.22L OTR with another 50K premium, VW ideally should have had the 1.6L Vento's diesel engine option in the Polo. The price is steep for a 3 cylinder car with several features missing. However, the build and ride quality seem to be top notch. And yes, it does make heads turn - especially the Highline variants.

How do you find the oil consumption of the car? VW TDi engines are known to be heavy oil sippers in the initial stages.
I haven't checked the oil levels since its only 3500 kms old.Will monitor it from now,though i hope i don't have any nasty surprises. About the engine, its pretty good in the mid range (2k to 3.5k rev band) the engine feels dead till about 2k rpm. I concur with you on the Vento diesel heart in the Polo, it would've been the hatch to beat if it came with a 1.6D engine.

More than the wait, it was the frequent and steep price hikes which made the ZDi less appealing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by racer_ash View Post
8 month long waiting time for the Swift(D)?? Thats overkill. Its almost like you liked and booked the pre-facelift model and by the time you got the delivery, you got the ugly facelifted one. (Only quoting an example here, not commenting on the swift).

My friend too has a 2011 Polo TDi highline and on occasions when I drive it, I find it to be a very good handler compared to my beauty (on highways). But ofcourse the 3-pot engine response and the diesel clatter are immediately apparent. Also, driving it in hyderabad traffic is a real pain. I found Swift (D) to be much better for city traffic conditions.
True, in city conditions its not as good as the other diesels which have lesser turbo lag. I would've got the Swift if not for the 8 month long wait on the Zdi and the price hike. IMHO, 8 lakh+ for a Swift isn't worth paying irrespective of how good the car is.
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Old 29th June 2012, 17:36   #12
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

Congrats on the Car and wishing you many Happy Miles of Motoring and all the best for the CA exam Results which will be out in another 15-30 days!
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Old 30th June 2012, 08:13   #13
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

Congrats, its a great looking car and looks even better in black and red.

Would it be possible to share the OTR price Bangalore, and was there any waiting period involved? I am starting to look for some Diesel option, and yet to start TD'ing cars. This looks like a good option if available immediately. Although i must say i am more a Japanese person then European . Thanks.
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Old 30th June 2012, 17:31   #14
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

Quote:
Originally Posted by mayankjha1806 View Post
Congrats, its a great looking car and looks even better in black and red.

Would it be possible to share the OTR price Bangalore, and was there any waiting period involved? I am starting to look for some Diesel option, and yet to start TD'ing cars. This looks like a good option if available immediately. Although i must say i am more a Japanese person then European . Thanks.
Thanks! I think you missed the OTR in my post, anyway it was 8.22 lakh when i bought it. However, it may have increased post budget, carwale says 8.93 OTR in blore now. The TDI is definitely available off the shelf, at the most a week or two of waiting.

Do TD the Polo, i'm sure you won't be disappointed with it. The Japanese options all have HUGE waiting periods
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Old 30th June 2012, 17:49   #15
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Default re: A review of my VW Polo TDI Highline : Multiple Breakdowns & Warranty Replacements

@shashank.nk - Congratulations on your new car..!!

Very detailed and informative write-up... enjoy happy and safe drive.
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