Volkswagen India is all set to launch the Polo with a 1.6 liter TDI turbo diesel engine, borrowed from the Vento diesel sedan. In fact, Polos with the 1.6 TDI engine have already been sold in the northern parts of the country. Team-Bhpians have also managed to gather the on-road Pune price of the car, which at 9.13 lakh rupees makes the Polo 1.6 GT TDI the most expensive B+ segment hatchback to be sold in India. Volkswagen India has also updated its official website with details of the Polo 1.6 GT TDI.
Globally, Volkswagen is due to launch a facelift for the Polo later this year or early next year. A rumour originating on AutocarIndia suggests that the facelifted Polo would make its way into the Indian market in May 2014. The rumour goes on to add that the facelifted Polo would feature a new 1.5 liter TDI turbo diesel engine. The 1.5 liter TDI motor is said to be downsized version of the EA189 1.6 Liter TDI diesel engine that is currently used by the likes of the Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid in India.
The 1.5 TDI turbo diesel engine is likely to replace the anemic 1.2 TDI-3 cylinder diesel engine on the Polo. The 1.5 liter motor will be available in two states of tune, 89 Bhp and 104 Bhp. The 89 Bhp version of the engine will find its way into the regular version of the Polo, while the GT TDI version will get the 104 Bhp state of tune, replete with a variable geometry turbocharger. Notably, Volkswagen is said to use the 104 Bhp version of the 1.5 TDI motor in the 2014 Vento as well.
Expect the 1.5 liter TDI engine to have slightly better fuel efficiency than the 1.6 liter TDI diesel unit. Motivations for the move to the 1.5 liter TDI engine for the Polo hatchback might not have to do with fuel efficiency alone. In India, cars measuring under 4 meters in length are eligible for lower excise and small car classification, if their petrol engines measure under 1.2 liters and if their diesel engines measure under 1.5 liters.
Therefore, adding the 1.5 liter TDI turbo diesel engine to the Polo will allow Volkswagen to give the car additional performance with a minimal/no increase in price. With this move, Volkswagen could address two issues plaguing the Polo 1.2 TDI: the lack of pep and the lack of refinement from the 3 pot diesel motor. Also, the price of the Polo 1.5 GT TDI could be much lower than what Volkswagen is charging for the Polo 1.6 GT TDI, due to the lower excise on the downsized diesel engine.
Where does it leave the Polo 1.6 GT TDI then?
From the latest rumours surrounding the Polo with the 1.5 TDI turbo diesel engine, it appears than the Polo 1.6 GT TDI is a stop gap measure of sorts, to give Volkswagen breathing space before the 1.5 TDI motor arrives. So, the advent of the 1.5 TDI engine is likely to result in the discontinuation of the Polo 1.6 GT TDI.
We've seen this happen with the Polo 1.6 MPI, which was replaced by the Polo 1.2 GT TSI. A similar story could pan out with the Polo 1.6 GT TDI. In that sense, the Polo 1.6 GT TDI promises to be a limited edition version. It remains to be seen whether Volkswagen would effect a similar move with the Polo 1.2 MPI, by choosing to replace the naturally aspirated petrol engine with the 1.2 turbo petrol TSI unit.