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Old 12th September 2013, 17:43   #1
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Default An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this review are my personal views and by no way I mean to offend anyone or any car for that matter.

Warning: This review is long and might eat good amount of your time (but itís worth it Ė I guess).

The buying decision:

It all started in April-2011 when I and my wife returned to India after a two years assignment in Europe. With no further long term out of India assignment on horizon, we decided to buy a car. When I had left Pune in 2009, I had an Alto, belonging to my elder brother. But when I left, he decided to sell off the Alto and hence I was without car when I came back.
I got a car from my FIL as a stop gap arrangement, which was an Indigo CS. A good car I would say but nothing exciting about it. One of the good things about that car was the driving position, high but not too high.

However, the search started. Firstly, there was no budget in mind but I made a mental note of not spending more than 10L. But as the special kind of automobile nuts we are, I started checking out all the cars right up to 30L budget! This is the reason we have ladies in our life Ė to make us sane. And my fair lady brought me right down to the cars costing not more than 6-7L. And I am very thankful to her for that. Otherwise it would have been one very wrong decision to buy a D1 segment car when you really donít know if you want it.

Anyway moving on, so the cars which were considered (excluding the 30L ones lol) were as follow:

1. Hyundai i10: Before I tell you how I felt about the car let me tell you that I still get calls about my buying decision from the dealer! Can you believe that? Though thankfully the frequency has gone down from once a week to once a month. Anyway, I drove the AT variant. Pick-up was lame and also the transmission response was unbearable. Overall the drive was jerky. May be I felt it too jerky and lethargic as I was and still am used to MT cars only. Sales team was polite and well informed about the features. I liked the high seating position for the city driving. All in all, the car failed to impress me.

2. Hyundai i20: Went with wifey for this one. She liked the interiors. I too liked it. Specifications looked impressive on paper. Went out of the showroom for a TD. Fired the engine of petrol version (forgot the exact variant name but was top of the line) and fired again, because I heard no sound at all! Great NVH levels this car has. The grin on SA's face was the best thing of the visit. All these good impressions vanished in next 100-200 meters of driving. Suspension was softer than a cheese cake. Steering felt like it could rotate so effortlessly that it felt scary. However, overall no drivers car and for me being the driver who lives because someone invented cars, it was a big no.

3. Chevy Beat: Really till today I donít understand why I went to TD this car. Because both of us didn't like it one bit in pictures. But good we went. We both liked it in the showroom. The rear bench was, well a real bench. But other than that we liked the car. The HPS steering was very good and had some feedback. Also, the petrol engine was peppy. Came back home satisfied with the performance, looks, price and overall feeling. That night we decided that next weekend we would go again to the same showroom and pay the booking amount. Color chosen was bottle green after much WWF with wife over decision between this one and black. I of course compromised as like most helpless husbands.

Actually these were the only cars that were considered and Polo was nowhere to be seen in the line-up. Because I didn't like the 1.2 petrol engine when I drove my friends car and didn't want to buy diesel.

So next weekend came and surprisingly I was up at 8 in the morning which usually is not the case. How our mind works is a case to be studied in itself. Got ready and waited an hour for wifey to get up. She was as excited as we were when we went to buy ďKhariĒ (itís a high calorie fried/baked bakery product which is just irresistible for me) last night. So after much waiting and no ďKhariĒ left in any of the dabbas in house, she emerged all ready to buy some cars.
And off we went in FILís Indigo CS with an over excited driver. On the way, a sky blue color car overtook us and it was none other than a Polo. We both started drooling over it. It really looked beautiful. The next stop was VW Pune West showroom to check out Polo. I was not expecting much as the 1.2 litre three pot noisy engine didn't really appealed to me.
Anyhow, we went in and were greeted by front desk ladies. And we were asked to wait for 15 mins till a SA is assigned to us. Now, if you remember the start of this post then its anybodyís guess that which car I started checking? It was none other than Passat. Wifey was almost furious for me being so random. There are two places in world where she gives up on me - car showrooms and electronic stores.
SA named Ajay came to us and immediately started explaining Passatís features and specifications. I told him right away that I am here for Polo and not Passat but like a good SA he is, he offered to show all available cars. I wasn't much interested in Jetta or Vento or Bettle so just spent some time with Passat and went straight to a same sky blue color Polo which was parked in the showroom. It was a Highline. We both liked the classy interiors and functional ergonomics. The build quality really impressed me. Bonnet was so heavy which gave a safety feeling. Jemery Clarkson and my views about safety are somewhat similar. He says the more the metal on car the safer it is.

TD time came and I knew that, okay now all the love developed so far will vanish in thin air. So with heavy heart I sat in the driverís seat and looked out to see a black Polo parked with 1.6 badge. I asked SA about it and he said itís a bigger engine variant of Polo petrol. Before the next sentence out of SAís mouth, I was in that car. I fired the engine and (yes you are right) fired it again. I think this is common problem with drivers like me who learnt driving on a Mahindra Jeeps and practiced it on Ambassadors. Anyway, off we went and in next 10 seconds I said to my wife this is the car we are buying. And that is what we did. Back to showroom and booking amount was paid, color was chosen as pepper grey and delivery in 3 weeks.

True to his word, Ajay delivered car within three weeks but unfortunately me and my wife both were out of India. Our FIL took delivery of the car and parked it in our parking for one week before I could see it after my return. Right away we went for a long drive to Lonavla. I still remember the grin on my face when I floored it. Linear power delivery along with awesome handling. Yes, the decision to buy this car was absolutely right Ė I said to myself.

Financial damage details: OTR price was 7.3L and I got cash discount of 40K + 20K as additional discount which was adjusted in insurance amount. So total it made me poorer by 6.7L. I added absolutely no accessories. Took a loan of 5L for 3 years tenure from VW finance. Process was hassle-free and also after sales support of VW finance is very good.

The experience so far:

Drive: Okay, there is lag when you step on the gas, however, it is minimal. It takes half a second for the car to jump on the tracks and then it goes like a bullet (no, not the RE one). Steering is very light and has no real feedback but if I have to choose between Linea and Polo steering I will choose the later one simply because it becomes so easy to drive in the city. Also, on highway it does give you some feedback or at least a sense of it (yes the Polo steering I am talking about, Lienaís steering is ďbaapĒ (father of all steering) on highways). Brakes are awesome and so is clutch. Gear shifting is very slick and this makes it fun to drive as you are tempted to play with the gears. Though I love to stretch this car in 3rd gear. Visibility is decent for a hatchback. Electronically adjustable ORVMs are Godsend. I havenít install any rear sensors as I donít feel the necessity of it.

Comfort & Interiors: Front seats are okay in comfort, but they lack in under thigh support. They hug you decently while cornering which I like a lot. Rear bench comfort is good but space is not much. This was not a concern for me as most of the time itís only wife and me in the car. We have a son now but itís another year before he finds his legs but then also we donít need much space at the back. Fabric quality of seats is lovely. But then you get additional dust in interiors compared to leather or leatherette seats/covers. I have kept the seats stock and may be in future might add covers to reduce the pain of cleaning. Interiors finish is very classy and elegant. Aluminium inserts add to the classy feeling. Vanity mirror is shockingly missing though. ICE could have been better. The SQ is strictly average. No Bluetooth as well which made me buy Jabra equipment. All in all I love to travel in this car compared to my FILís Linea.

Exteriors: I love the looks of Polo. I have always liked Polo exterior design right from the generation-1 to what we get today. Simple but with a touch of elegance. The fog lamps shape adds to the overall boxy shape of Polo unlike the round fog lamps of Vento. The car looks longer when viewed from side and also the wheel arches makes it look wider than it is. Pepper grey colour is easy to maintain is what I learnt from my experience with earlier company car (Octavia). Alloys look okay not great. Planning to upgrade after completing three years and if I keep the car then after. Build quality is very good. I touched the rear bumper to a wall while avoiding a stupid driver reversing without looking back (yes thatís how some people drive in our country and hence God made reverse sensors). Got down with a sad face imagining dent and scrubbed paint. But nothing happened! Absolutely no change of shape, form or looks. Yes, the decision to buy this car was absolutely right Ė I said to myself again.

Ride: Ride is stiff but manageable. Suspension setting is perfect as it doesn't break your back and at the same time doesn't gives you a feeling of floating Titanic. Small speed bumps are better handled when the speed is above 15kmph. Not a car for people with comfortable ride as priority.

Summing it up:

Till date I have clocked 25k on the odo and completely satisfied with the performance and after sales service. No niggles except a rear power window failure which was proactively recognized and replaced by the service guys during first servicing. Out of 25k kms, I have driven 24k and 900 kms by my brother and 100 kms by driver or my friends. FE in city is 12.5 Kmpl & 15 to 15.5 kmpl on highways. My driving pattern is a mix of spirited and sedate driving. A/C is 99% on and the 1% is when car is in Mahabaleshwar or similar places.

Sorry for not posting many pictures, but I didn't click enough so far. Will click some and post soon.

Upgrades in pipeline (If I donít sell the car next year): Performance enhancement via piggyback ECU from Europe and upgrading ICE as well. Might change alloys, headlamps to smoked ones and a spoiler.

Likes:
  • Handling
  • Linear power delivery
  • Slick gear-box
  • No non-sense exterior design
  • Classy interiors
  • Build quality
  • A.S.S experience so far

Dislikes:
  • Average ICE with no USB/SD card or even AUX option
  • No armrest
  • Average headlamps
  • Beige interiors get dirty easily

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. I will keep the thread updated as and when something interesting happens (good things only, I hope)
Attached Thumbnails
An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6-100_2127.jpg  

An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6-img20120828wa0001.jpg  


Last edited by Eddy : 12th September 2013 at 23:19. Reason: formatting
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Old 12th September 2013, 23:22   #2
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Default re: An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6

Thread moved from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 13th September 2013, 01:20   #3
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Default re: An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_skyliner View Post
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. I will keep the thread updated as and when something interesting happens (good things only, I hope)
Let me be the first to congratulate you for the Polo. Best looking hatch in the market presently.

Good write up and liked the face masked picture.

We need more pictures and pictures complete the ownership report.

Drive safe.

Anurag.
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Old 13th September 2013, 07:27   #4
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Congrats on the new car , undoubtedly a drivers car from every perspective. Nice colour too one of my favourites. Twenty five thousand km is a lot. Could you mind sharing the service cost as I understand it to be around ten thousand a year and not more than that. You could update the headlamp bulbs to osram or Philips night breakers for an improvement.
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Old 13th September 2013, 10:09   #5
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Originally Posted by abishek2222 View Post
Congrats on the new car , undoubtedly a drivers car from every perspective. Nice colour too one of my favourites. Twenty five thousand km is a lot. Could you mind sharing the service cost as I understand it to be around ten thousand a year and not more than that. You could update the headlamp bulbs to osram or Philips night breakers for an improvement.
Thanks, abishek2222. First service bill was 7,765/- and work done was as per my expectations. Second service is already due and got appointment for next week and an estimate of 11k as brake pads will be replaced as preventive maintenance. Shall update the actual bill details and experience next week.
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Old 13th September 2013, 11:42   #6
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Default re: An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6

Congratulations on the purchase and wishing you a great ownership experience , my enthusiasm was similar when i first discovered the Fabia had a 1.6 available as well and did not want to look at any other trim post that.

After market arm rests are available easily so i am sure you can find something and get that one point out from under Dislikes :-)
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Old 13th September 2013, 12:25   #7
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Originally Posted by puchoo View Post
Congratulations on the purchase and wishing you a great ownership experience , my enthusiasm was similar when i first discovered the Fabia had a 1.6 available as well and did not want to look at any other trim post that.

After market arm rests are available easily so i am sure you can find something and get that one point out from under Dislikes :-)
Thanks for your wishes, puchoo!

Nice to meet like minded people
Actually, I also wanted to check out Fabia but because I had Octavia for two years before buying this one, we skipped it as it would "feel" same. BTW, I loved the Octavia.

Thanks for the pointers about armrest. I read somewhere on forum about retrofitting it on Polo. Will search the relevant thread and look in to it. Need it for long drives only.
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Old 13th September 2013, 13:01   #8
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Default re: An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6

Something i have learnt as well , i always wanted an arm rest and then i got it with the T-Jet but over time have realized that its great on long drives and as much as i would like to use it all the time , there is no point and neither is it convenient in the city given the number of gear changes.

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Thanks for the pointers about armrest. I read somewhere on forum about retrofitting it on Polo. Will search the relevant thread and look in to it. Need it for long drives only.
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Old 13th September 2013, 18:13   #9
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Default Re: An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6

Congratulations !! this is one car which I wanted to buy and replace the current Swift Zxi with but then let it go off, Sad.

Loved the way you have narrated your car shopping experience, once a car nut always a car nut and will always drool over bigger engines when visiting a showroom, I too do that whenever I get a chance to visit a showroom with friends or relatives who are prospective customers.

Your upgration plan looks good and also in the right path, best of luck and enjoy the beast - you are one lucky Polo 1.6 owner.
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Old 17th September 2013, 12:26   #10
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Update: So finally I succeeded in putting first sractch on my Polo. :( The other party involved was a pillar of a parking slot. This happened yesterday while I was trying to park in a very very tight parking slot of my brother-in-law's building. There was hardly a gap of an inch on either sides and I was tired due to a long drive. Still I went ahead without using someone for directions, a bad mistake I would say. However, it's now water under the bridge. Will now check DIY method to remove it or else will get it done on Thursday during second service. Will post pictures soon.
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Old 17th September 2013, 13:54   #11
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Default Re: An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6

Well it has to happen at some point , if its a light scratch get a remover such as Scratch Out and see if it comes out with that!

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Update: So finally I succeeded in putting first sractch on my Polo. :( The other party involved was a pillar of a parking slot. This happened yesterday while I was trying to park in a very very tight parking slot of my brother-in-law's building. There was hardly a gap of an inch on either sides and I was tired due to a long drive. Still I went ahead without using someone for directions, a bad mistake I would say. However, it's now water under the bridge. Will now check DIY method to remove it or else will get it done on Thursday during second service. Will post pictures soon.
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Old 17th September 2013, 14:01   #12
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Default Re: An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6

Congratulations... I have been smitten by polo since it was launched, but then lack of rear leg room made me jump to Vento. Love the write up and look forward to more pictures and journey ahead.
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Old 17th September 2013, 14:22   #13
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Well it has to happen at some point , if its a light scratch get a remover such as Scratch Out and see if it comes out with that!
Thanks for the condolences and advice. Will try it and see if it goes off, however I doubt it will, because it's quite deep. Actually the sractch is made by a metal strap which is used to hold the PVC pipes of waste water flow of buildings. Will let you know the outcome.
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Old 20th September 2013, 12:32   #14
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Default Re: An Impulsive Decision: My VW Polo 1.6

Were you able to make any positive headway on this or have not had time so far?

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Originally Posted by the_skyliner View Post
Thanks for the condolences and advice. Will try it and see if it goes off, however I doubt it will, because it's quite deep. Actually the sractch is made by a metal strap which is used to hold the PVC pipes of waste water flow of buildings. Will let you know the outcome.
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Old 20th September 2013, 13:46   #15
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Were you able to make any positive headway on this or have not had time so far?
Unfortunately couldn't find time for it due to workload. But gave the car for it's second service today and the SA said he will to polish it off FOC. If it's still not working then I have to spend some time on it after the car is back tomorrow. Here is a picture of the damaged area.
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