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Old 25th April 2013, 12:30   #1
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Default Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

The VW Polo GT TSI has been launched in India at a price of Rs. 7.99 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• Enthusiastic, high-revving 1.2L TSI engine. An excellent performer
• 7-speed DSG gearbox is a flawless match to the sporty motor
• A well-built European hatchback with clean, timeless styling
• Mature suspension offers a balanced ride & handling package
• Safety kit includes electronic stability program, hill-hold feature, dual airbags and ABS
• Accommodating 280 liter boot

What you won't:

• Long-term reliability concerns over the DQ200 DSG transmission
• Cutting-edge engine & gearbox tech make it a pricey hatchback
• Exterior is indistinguishable from the regular Polo. No sporty bodykit (à la Liva TRD & Polo SR)
• Ordinary rear bench legroom. Comparable to the likes of the Maruti Ritz
• VW's substandard dealership & service experiences. Maruti / Hyundai networks are more customer-centric

The Polo 1.6L GT TDI:

Link to Review

The Polo 1.0L TSI:

Link to Review

Last edited by Aditya : 15th July 2020 at 13:20. Reason: Link to GT TDI, 1.0 TSI Review
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Old 25th April 2013, 12:30   #2
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Default re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

This report will only focus on the Polo GT TSI, since the regular VW Polo has already been reviewed by Team-BHP. For easy reference, here are direct links to the complete VW Polo Review:

Exterior Design & Build Quality

Interior design, space, practicality & features

Engine, gearbox, suspension & on-road behaviour

Other Pertinent Points

The Smaller yet Significant Things

Last edited by GTO : 25th April 2013 at 17:09.
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Old 25th April 2013, 12:30   #3
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The hatchback segment hasn't been kind to petrol-heads. The Palio GTX is long gone and manufacturers have become obsessed with 1.2L motors, thanks to the resultant excise benefits offered by our Government. The Polo 1.6L is history, and the Fabia 1.6L was the only (relatively) powerful petrol hatchback you could buy. Ford has a dynamically rich car in the Figo, along with a superb 1.6L petrol engine, yet it refuses to mate the two.

Now, things are suddenly looking up. The fun & well-priced Toyota Liva 1.5L recently made its debut, the Polo GT TSI is here and Fiat is poised to launch the Punto Abarth sometime in the future. The GT TSI is the range topping Polo, replacing the now discontinued (and poor selling) Polo 1.6L petrol. In fact, the 1.2L TSI is the global replacement of the older 1.6L petrol engine. Due to economy & efficiency concerns, downsizing has become a global trend. Additionally, the small 1.2L size qualifies the GT TSI for the lower 12% excise tax slab.

Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review-vw-polo-gt-tsi-price-specs.png

There isn't a doubt that the TSI engine features cutting-edge technology. The turbo-charged petrol motor brings direct-injection hardware for the first time to the Indian hatchback scene. It's rated for 104 BHP (@ 5,000 rpm) and 175 Nm of torque at a diesel-like 1,500 rpm. In comparison, the older 1.6L petrol churned out a lower 153 Nm of torque at a far higher 3,800 rpm. Expect to see this engine, along with the 1.4L TSI (currently powering the Jetta), make its way to other cars from the VW Group (including Skoda models).

The Polo GT TSI features a DSG Automatic gearbox. Dual-clutch technology is another first amongst the Indian hatchbacks. The DSG offers lightning fast upshifts and excellent economy too. However, this DQ200 transmission (shared with the Rs. 25 lakh Skoda Superb) is known for its troublesome nature, with VW going to the extent of issuing a recall in China (Related Thread). A neat video explaining how the DSG works:

We're hoping that the Vento's excellent 1.6L diesel eventually finds its way to the Polo's engine bay. That engine offers the same power, higher torque, cheaper running costs and a lot more practicality. A 104 BHP diesel Polo could have been the best of both worlds; performance as well as economy.

In what is a hugely welcome move, the VW Polo GT TSI is kitted with an enhanced safety package, including ESP (electronic stability program) & Hill-Hold function (more info). In an emergency driving situation, ESP can be the difference between life & death. Here's a video demonstrating the advantages of an electronic stability program:

The Polo was always a good looking hatchback, its clean and proportionate lines winning it many fans. However, I wish VW gave the GT TSI variant a sporty body kit. Look at the wonderful job that Toyota managed with the Liva TRD (Link). This is a major downside, as it's hard to tell the GT TSI from the regular Polo, especially for the layman. The subtle exterior differences are highlighted below:

Front grille gets the GT badge:

“Estrada” 15" alloy wheels with 185/60 rubber. Noisy Apollo tyres on India's most powerful hatchback!

GT TSI gets a prominent, sportier rear spoiler:

An unwarranted GT TSI sticker on the C-Pillar. Looks out of place:

You'll notice VW doing away with the Polo and Volkswagen badges. This car sports only the TSI and GT nomenclature on the tail:

Last edited by GTO : 29th April 2013 at 13:20. Reason: Updating competitor sheet with prices
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Old 25th April 2013, 12:31   #4
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Feature List:
Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review-vw-polo-tsi-feature-list.png

The 7-Speed DSG with Sport & Manual Modes. Gearshift, steering & handbrake receive leather treatment:

Polo's MID now gets a Gear Indicator:

Center console has a seamless look. Head-Unit is the 2-DIN RCD 320 with USB, Aux, SD Card, Bluetooth, 4 speakers and steering-mounted audio controls. Climate control (right below) is equipped with a dust and pollen filter:

Sporty pedals with rubber inserts for grip. No dead pedal:

Door sills get the customary GT TSI nameplate:

New fabric upholstery that VW calls Milan Titanschwarz. Front seats get a leatherette scooped-out back:

Last edited by GTO : 2nd May 2013 at 20:27. Reason: Adding Feature List
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Old 25th April 2013, 12:31   #5
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This 4-cylinder 1.2L (1,197cc) TSI petrol is truly a gem of an engine. Those who have driven its larger 1.8L sibling in the Skoda Laura will know what I'm hinting at. Power rating stands at 104 BHP (@ 5,000 rpm) with max torque of 175 Nm starting at a low 1,500 rpm, and staying all the way to 4,100 rpm. In comparison, the regular 3-cylinder Polo 1.2 makes do with 74 BHP (@ 5,400 rpm) and 110 Nm torque (@ 3,750 rpm).

Crank up the engine and it settles into a smooth and silent idle. There aren't any of the excessive vibrations that the regular 3-cylinder Polo petrol suffers from. This is a far more refined powerplant. Slot the gearlever into “D” and gently taking your foot off the brake pedal will have you coast out smoothly, with minimum throttle input. There is barely any turbolag. Low-rpm driveability is good due to the engine's superior spread of torque. Driving around town is a relaxed affair as the DSG keeps the rpm needle at the lowest possible level (in "D" mode), always choosing the highest gear for a particular speed.

As you shove the throttle down, you'll immediately notice a change in the car's character. From 3,000 rpm onward, there is a distinct growl from the engine bay. Enthusiasts will thoroughly enjoy the throaty sound which can get rather addictive. On the open road, the Polo TSI pulls relentlessly all the way to its 6,000 rpm limit. The punchy acceleration comes as a revelation to those used to the Polo's 1.2L naturally-aspirated unit, or even the erstwhile Polo 1.6L, that needed to be revved to deliver. Mid-range is strong and the gearbox quick, making highway cruising / overtaking an effortless exercise. Due to the DSG's well-chosen ratios, there is always enough power & torque available for most driving conditions. 0-100 should be in the 10 second range, while top speed is rated at ~190 kph. Good thing is, there is hardly any harshness or vibration felt at any point in the rpm range. The engine truly loves to be revved! During one leg of the drive, we were 4 people in the car with luggage to boot. The Polo GT TSI was revving happily and crossing 3-digit speeds with absolute ease. It was hard to believe that I was driving a 1.2 liter petrol car. They used to say there is no 'replacement for displacement', but I guess direct-injection + turbo-charging tech have nullified the thought. The Polo TSI drives like a larger displacement machine.

This engine is mated to an equally competent (first-in-class) 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The DSG is an absolute pleasure to use. "D" mode is best for everyday driving and moving about the city in a relaxed manner. Shift quality is super smooth and upshifts are barely perceptible. There is no "hunting" for gears, with the DSG somehow managing to consistently pick the best ratio for a specific driving condition. When you shift into “S” (Sport) mode, the gearbox upshifts / downshifts at a higher rpm range. Use "S" mode on the open road where you need the revvs and enhanced engine braking. Of course, the S mode's affinity for higher rpm means mileage will take a hit. Personally, I enjoyed driving in Manual (tiptronic) Mode the most. Move the gearlever to the left (when in "D") and push up for upshifts or down for downshifts. No, there aren't any steering-mounted paddle shifters on the Polo TSI. The box is fairly responsive, only requiring a gentle push to immediately execute the command. This isn't a proper manual mode though. The gearbox will automatically upshift at the redline, and also downshift when the revvs fall too low. Not being able to hold revvs through a corner is disappointing. Further, if the rpm level is on the higher side, the DSG won't permit an aggressive downshift (in order to preserve engine life). One of the main advantages of the manual mode is to prepare the car for an overtaking manouveur or corner. Overall, to the mass market, the DSG Automatic should be more of a selling point than the engine's TSI technology. Honestly, the other conventional automatics aren't even close in terms of engineering brilliance. The sole area where the competition might have an upper hand is in long-term durability. The DSG is an incredibly complex transmission and repairs / failures are never a simple or cheap affair. For the old-school enthusiasts, I'm certain that a manual transmission will be mated with this engine sometime in the future.

If you are considering the Polo TSI, please do refer to our Turbo-Idling Article. The ARAI has rated the TSI's fuel economy at 17.2 kpl. That is uncannily identical to the regular 3-cylinder Polo petrol.

There isn't any major change with the suspension and the overall setup is similar to the regular Polo. It gives the car mature road manners, although we enthusiasts would wish for stiffer springs & dampers on the TSI variant. Fact is, the Swift does feel more agile and the Punto dynamically superior.

I drove the Polo through some winding ghat-type sections as well as arrow straight roads. Ride quality stays flat over fairly uneven patches, even on the back seat (although the suspension is noisy when doing its work). Unlike some of its competition, vertical movements are at a bare minimum. The Polo keeps occupants sufficiently comfortable over rough roads too. Typical of most European cars, the Polo loves long straights and corners alike. Straight line stability is good, though the Punto (aka tijori) remains the segment benchmark. Fling the Polo into fast corners and the chassis exudes decent balance. The handling is neutral and body roll is fairly well-controlled. It's assuring to know that the ESP is always watching over you like a big brother, should things get nasty. On the other hand, the power steering spoils the enthusiast recipe. It’s light at 0 kph parking speeds, and stays light all through city speeds. The steering is a zero effort unit really. Problem is, when cruising at a 100 kph, I found the steering lighter than I’d have liked. The PS is fairly accurate, but don't expect any feedback. You’ll never know what the front tyres are up to.

The brake pedal is easy to modulate and overall braking action is decent. It's not exceptional though. With the additional 30 horses, it's a letdown that the Polo GT TSI doesn't get rear disc brakes.

Disclaimer : Volkswagen invited Team-BHP for the Polo GT TSI test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.

Last edited by Rehaan : 25th April 2013 at 18:10.
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:12   #6
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to Official Reviews!

*Rates review a well-deserved 5 stars*

Truly a benchmark of a variant review...highly detailed. Thanks for sharing Avi!
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:20   #7
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

Sounds like a hoot, any indicative price , guessin it will be pushing over 8 l otr?
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:30   #8
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

A very detailed review of the Polo GT TSI. The only thing this baby lacks is a proper facelift to distinguish between the siblings. Love the GT has been infused with the Front Grille. For a layman, it would be the GT removed from GTR and struck here :P

Am still wondering the price range it would be launched at.
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:31   #9
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

This should be a good option for urban buyers with limited running, it is nice to see the centre console in black, gives the car a proper Euro look. Expensive hatches will find their volumes down the line, just like automatics are slowly gaining acceptance - this car checks both boxes.

The steering it seems isa bit numb, at parking speeds this is a blessing, on the highway it gets tiring.I just read an article saying that this was a HPS system, pretty sure that is not the case, can someone verify? The article was written by an OD big shot.
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:37   #10
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

I have never driven an automatic and to be fair was a bit disappointed when I had learnt that there is no manual transmission. I desperately wanted to try this before Ecosport.

But your review has truly excited me and I would definitely try my hand on this one. Dampener that the PS is very light! I read on OD that the steering is still a hydraulic one and they are praising it for the precise feedback!

Am now confused about the steering!

A very well detailed review

EDIT: I see that avira_tk has also posted the same query. Please clarify.

Last edited by MotoNanu : 25th April 2013 at 17:39.
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:40   #11
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

That's an excellent review of an excellent car.

I too thought the GT TSI sticker job in the c pillar is unwarranted. The car being loaded with latest tech and safety features, now one hopes they price this beauty within our reach.
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:43   #12
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

Thanks mobike008 for the detailed review!

Its a welcome change to see a manufacturer bringing in cutting edge technology and safety features in the highly competitive hatchback segment. The Polo badly needed better engines. I wish VW had done away the 3 pot 1.2 and replaced it with this 1.2 TSI and saved the 1.4 TSI for the "GT" , with a proper body kit and sporty suspension.

I hope VW has done their homework on the DQ200 DSG box. Its one thing to ask 2L from a Superb owner to replace a failed gear box and another thing from the owner of a sub 10L hatchback.

Last edited by Santoshbhat : 25th April 2013 at 17:53.
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:50   #13
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

Thanks for the detailed review mobike008. Great to hear that VW didn't compromise while introducing this TSI version and they equipped it with ESP and other safety features.

Originally Posted by MotoNanu View Post
I read on OD that the steering is still a hydraulic one and they are praising it for the precise feedback!

Am now confused about the steering!
I don't know which steering this TSI version has but other versions of the Polo have electric power steering but VW calls it speed sensitive steering. Steering remains light at parking but t weighs up very nicely. It stays connected and provides decent feedback considering its EPS, though it will feel lighter compared to HPS units. Most important part I love about Polo's steering is I found it one of the most accurate steering amongst all the cars I have driven so far in different segments. It doesn't feel scary at any speed.

So if you happen to drive any variant of Polo, then drive it with open mind and forget that it has EPS of HPS or it has 3 cylinder or 4 cylinder, drive and decide yourself. Different people will have different opinion on different cars.

Last edited by tbppjpr : 25th April 2013 at 17:55.
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:52   #14
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

Thanks for the review.

So even if you are in the manual mode, the DSG will downshift during corners? Why would that be?

BTW, other member forecasted that there will be no intercooler in this version. Is that true? Does it make any perceptible difference in hot weather, bumper to bumper traffic?
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Old 25th April 2013, 17:54   #15
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Default Re: Volkswagen Polo 1.2L GT TSI : Official Review

Ah Mobike, a really great review of a good car. 104 horses seem delicious but real enthusiasts would love to have this in a manual. I am currently guessing the price should go over 7L ex showroom and go over 8.5L otr. That said, there have been enough complaints regarding the dsg box. Hope a polo with a manual and the 104 bhp engine comes, if not now, atleast later.
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