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Old 9th September 2010, 16:10   #1
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India is one of the largest small car markets in the world. We have around 21 hatchbacks to choose from. And about 100 variants. So how hard can it be to buy a 'perfect' hatchback in the country?

Well... to start with, we sadly still do not have the 'perfect' hatch in India. The definition of a 'perfect' hatch (IMO) is having a good engine(Swift), good space(Jazz), lots of tech(i20), nice build quality(Polo), plush ride quality(Polo) and good handling(Punto). So you see, each car wins in one of the areas but none of the cars excel as a whole. Yes, there is one car that comes close to fulfill all the above factors- The Jazz. It's a near perfect hatch for India but looses out on the main buying factor: PRICE!

So it started in March this year, the quest to find a 'perfect' hatch in India. Will I succeed? Read on.

This car that we were going to buy would be used as a family car. I'm just an engg. student right now. So we had to find a car that would suit all our needs. My dad wanted a car with hassle free ownership and easy on maintenance. My Mom wanted a car that looked beautiful and felt premium inside(even if it had a 800cc engine :P). My tall brother wanted a car that has sufficient legroom and headroom. And I wanted a car that looks good and has a premium feel, is fun to drive and has good ride quality.
So basically we were looking at a 'premium hatchback'. Budget- 7lakhs. And a petrol one. Since our basic running is not more than 600km a month.

Keeping all the above factors in mind, we shortlisted the following cars:
1. Hyundai i20 1.2
2. Fiat Grande Punto 1.4
3. VW Polo 1.2
4. Honda Jazz 1.2

Firstly the i20. This car is loaded with features and has a good amount of space inside. The i20 would suit all our needs perfectly. But we detered from buying this car because of the prevalent problems that I've seen a number of owners complaining about. Inefficient AC, rattles, uncommunicative steering and poor suspension. The 1.2 engine was quite udnerpowered.

Next, the Punto. The most gorgeous hatchback in the country today. But letdown by the atrocious platic quality inside the cabin. Inside the car, it didn't feel premium at all. I found the rear to be the most cramped of all cars. Mainly because the pedals are placed so hig and the steerign so much in your face that you have to take the driver seat backwards to find a good driving position. This compromises the rear legroom which gets cramped even for a normal sized adult. However, the 1.4L petrol engine didn't feel underpowered at all in the city. Handling and ride quality amongst the best.

Next, the VW Polo. Beautiful design. Top-class materials and more importantly it felt like a premium car inside. Seats very comfortable but the rear easn't exactly commodious. It was just average for a car that size. There was adequate room for my bro who is 6'2. Anyways he never occupies the rear seat. He's mostly in the front seat which had good room. The Polo is short on features. Everyone expects a car this price to have atleast electric mirrors, USB/ipod port and steering mounted controls.
The 1.2L 3-pot engine that develops 75ps sounds underpowetred on paper but trust me it's a totally different thing on the road. Although there is some noise from the 3-cyl engine at idle, very little of it penetrates in the cabin. City drivebility is good since the car has good low-end response. On the highway though, lack of power is evident. Overall, quite impressed with the German beauty.

Finally, the Jazz. As I said, this car has all the traits to become a 'perfect' hatchback in the country but it is letdown by the most crucial factor, that is the price. A whole 2lakhs more than the Polo just didn't seem worth it. It was out of budget. Although I liked everything about the car.

So finally after reading through various threads and GTO's comprehensive review, we decided to go for the Polo 1.2 Highline. It fulfilled most of our needs. Dad was concerned about VW after sales and service. But after speaking to some Jetta owners, it seemed VW service is pretty good. It will not go the SKoda way.
We booked the car on 21st April and the SP promised delivery by July end. Although he never stood by it, and we got the car a month later. Experience at VW Downtown wasn't exactly good. Everytime I had to call him to check about the status on the car. They never bothered to inform. By mid-august, we staretd coaxing them to deliver the car cuz it had been almost 4 months since we had booked it.
So finally, after an agonizing wait of 142 days, the Polo was delivered to us today morning.

Choice of color: Dad was in favor of having a metallic colour. He isn't too fond of flashy colors like red, hence we went for pepper grey. After browing through some pics of grey polos on the net, I quite liked it. But yes, nothing like a Polo in red! That would have been my colour of choice..

The title of this thread is German tadka, thanks to VW's tagline "German engineering. Made for India."

Here's a brief review:

Engine Performance:
The 3-pot 1.2L petrol mill produces 74hp. Contrary to what it looks on paper, the engine does not feel underpowered. The motor is quite peppy and loves to rev. The pick-up is a bit slow but once across 2000rpm, it comes to life! There are inherent 3-cylinder vibrations and noise at idle only. Ocne on the move with the windows rolled up, the engine noise is hardly audible. SOund insulation in the cabin is pretty good. But that I have upgraded from a 10-year old Indica diesel, which itself sounds like a truck, I find the Polo to be a pleasant place to be in

The clutch pedal is placed a little high. It will take some time getting used to but it should not be a problem.

The engine bonnet gets hot pretty quickly. Is it because the petrol variant doesn't have any under-bonent insulation?

F.E: Have done very short trips so can't comment on F.E yet. Currently, the MFD is shows varying F.E like 8-11kpl. I'm sure it's much more. Will update in a couple of days.

Handling: The steering is neither too light nor too heavy. Thus it is a boon in city driving. It handles really good at curves. But this is no Punto, so steering feedback is very less.

Ride quality: It's one of the best in class. At low speed and high speed, the Polo rides butter smooth over bad roads. One of the USPs of this car.

Now time for some pics

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05627.jpg

Hope this expensive logo never gets stolen!

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05628.jpg

Awesome headlight cluster

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05630.jpg

Rear light cluster looks cool at night

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05631.jpg

15" alloy wheels

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05629.jpg

All warning lights at the time of ignition

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05622.jpg

Rear legroom with an average sized adult in front. It is sufficient.

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05623.jpg


"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05617.jpg

First grade materials everywhere. Nice door handle.

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05621.jpg

AC switches good to hold. The chrome finish gives it an upmarket feel.

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05636.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05613.jpg  

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05614.jpg  

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05615.jpg  

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05608.jpg  

"German Tadka"- VW Polo 1.2 Highline-dsc05609.jpg  

Last edited by GTO : 11th September 2010 at 21:01. Reason: Adding driving impression to the opening post. That way, the thread has more value
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Old 9th September 2010, 16:20   #2
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Congrats theragingbull,

Really a good looking car in any color IMO.
How you compare it with Punto 1.4?
Enjoy and Drive Safe.
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Old 9th September 2010, 16:22   #3
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Hey the car is looking really good in this color as well. Its a real nice hatch in the segment. Congrats and drive safe
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Old 9th September 2010, 16:23   #4
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Congrats! Nicely written review, dude! I think this is the first pepper grey polo I've seen - and it looks fantastic! Definitely in my top preference!

Some black tints will look great!

Looking forward to more on the driving experience
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Old 9th September 2010, 16:38   #5
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Congratulation theragingbull for buying VW Polo 1.2.

Initially I had thought that VW Polo looks good only in red & white tones. But, now I realized the fact that VW Polo looks equally good in Pepper Grey.

By the way, do you plan to add any accessories to the car? I'm waiting for more pictures, especially the interiors.

Happy mile crunching. Happy and safe motoring


Last edited by Klub Class : 9th September 2010 at 16:39.
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Old 9th September 2010, 16:39   #6
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Congrats ! The colour is simply fab.

I have read a lot of complaints about the rear seat space of polo on this forum. But when I went to check it out, i was taken by surprise. There is a certain inclination angle of the rear bench that makes it more comfortable than the others and does a good bit for the under thigh support as well.

Adjusting the front seats to need (rather than pushing it all the way backward) renders enough space in the rear to be qualified as comfortable.

Last edited by SilkDrive : 9th September 2010 at 16:40.
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Old 9th September 2010, 16:39   #7
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Congrats on the Polo. I like this color on the Polo, this simply looks the best for me.

Please do click more pictures of the car in broad day light and post them.

Enjoy many more miles with the Polo
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Old 9th September 2010, 16:39   #8
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Zohaib, congratulations on the hot hatch! We have been waiting for you to lay your hands on the beauty.

Excellent colour indeed. My own apartment complex now has three colours of Polo - the red, the pepper grey, and my own black one. All of them look brilliant - Polo has certainly got its paints right!

Drive safe, drive well, enjoy!
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Old 9th September 2010, 16:48   #9
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Hey, congrats Raging Bull !! I must say I like the title of your thread Bring this one along when we meet next, I haven't really checked out the Polo at all. Take me for a short spin in it, will ya.
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Old 9th September 2010, 16:49   #10
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First of all many congratulations to you and your family. And from the pic I see Vishal from VW downtown explaining features to the gentleman looking into the car. Let me know your experience with him/them.
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Old 9th September 2010, 16:59   #11
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>>> Z,

Congrats on the car and its colour - it looks very purposeful and solid in this colour. Would love to check it out if you bring it in one of our meets, especially the rear seat comfort. I am sure the engine will be a nice puller for city driving conditions and occasional highway use ( I've driven the Indica DLS up to Lavasa and the only cars that overtook me were the Hinda City and the Hyundai Accent); this will be a lot more tractable. Please keep to the running- in conditions if any, and drive safe.

Btw, you've inadvertently shown the registration no.

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Old 9th September 2010, 17:09   #12
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Woah theragingbull what a Colour on your Latest Acquisition. IT's SWEET!!

Every Bhpian knows that its close to "Raining POLO's" on Bhp from sometime now but personally I have never seen this Colour here or on road. Thought this was not offered on Polo.
Nevertheless, Looks really Elegant on your German Tadka buddy.

Last edited by Vik0728 : 9th September 2010 at 17:10.
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Old 9th September 2010, 17:25   #13
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Congrats TRB.

Elegant is the word to describe a POLO. Only issue I am skeptical about a VW car is the maintenance costs.

The reasons you have mentioned for not choosing Punto, i20 and Jazz is spot on!
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Old 9th September 2010, 17:29   #14
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Congratulations ragingbull. The 'tadka' seems to have really hit you. Nice title to the thread. I actually liked this colour, very different from the red Polos I see around. Looking forward to you impressions on the car and do keep updating this thread with your ownership experience

Drive safe.
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Old 9th September 2010, 17:35   #15
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WOW!!! Very nice colour. Delicious. Congrats on the car.
One question--- How is the space compared to the i20?
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