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Old 3rd June 2023, 16:14   #1
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What car to replace the VW Polo with?

Hi All,

As with most of you, the 8-year itch has started to bug me and it doesn't seem to go away. But my itch has solid backing. My current car is 1.2L NA Petrol VW Polo Comfortline bought in 2015. I had a relative working in VW at that time so even though it was a Comfortline, I had some sweet upgrades before taking delivery -- Alloys, Bluetooth connectivity, rear spoiler etc. All free of cost of course. Since then, I had updated the music system to a touch one and had a reverse camera fitted over the years. So far it has run just 50K with the whole Covid period seeing almost 2K run in that 1.5 - 2 years.

Now the reasons for Itch

1) First and foremost, the car is out of any type of warranty. That in itself is a huge red flag. I mean everyone around me gets a bit skeptical when I say that I have an out-of-warranty VW!

2) I am tired of driving a manual. I am not an enthusiast in terms of getting a kick out of manual driving. I really want a comfortable automatic.

3) Creature comforts -- My car can really be called ancient as interior comforts and features are all out of date. I mean touch buttons in your steering is a minimal feature I guess. So are many other countless features.

4) It would in all probability be the last gasoline vehicle I buy. With good petrol engines getting vanished and getting downgraded to match emission norms (not a bad point env-wise), I might not have more options two or three years down the line.

5) The drive has become a bit boring. Who doesn't like or want a change if it is affordable?

Now that I have given at least 5 pointers for my causes of itch, let me jot down what I am looking for in my next upgrade.

1) First and foremost an AT gear. I am not at all averse to buying DCT/DSG as I hope to buy an extended warranty to the fullest option available.

2) I am one of those rare people in the minority as I love sedans. Apart from Ground Clearance, I do not think there is anything I will miss out wrt pseudo SUV's in the market. Although I am not going to go off-roading, our pothole-filled roads are more off-road than one can imagine and hence this is going to be a concern.

3) Safety. One main reason to buy Polo when the family wanted Ritz/Swift was its safety. And till this day, it has been an amazing feeling of being safe when we all sit in my polo. I need that safe feeling in my next car as well.

4) Features -- Any car in the top 2 trims are well loaded If I am not wrong. nothing more to specify here.

5) low running and hence not averse to turbo petrol options.

Before going further, I must admit, I have not done TD of any cars and most of the knowledge I gather is from Team-Bhp itself. Having clarified that let me take you to my list of cars that I have shortlisted.

Option 1 -- VW Virtus 1.5 GT

Likes

1) Design -- Being a polo guy, it just ticks all the boxes to me in terms of appearance.

2) Gearbox -- Not interested in one more 3-pot engine. So looking only at 1.5L turbo petrol and that puts me with only DSG on offer. Have nice reviews in team-bhp both official review as well user reviews. Taking the maximum extended warranty and praying to god is all that I can do.

3) Safety -- 5-star safety. Although have not sat in one yet. Many say the build is not at all in the levels of Polo.

4) Ground Clearance -- A usual deal breaker for a sedan. Love that VW and Skoda gave this option. I am loving it.

5) Space -- we are a family of 3 only so space is not a big dealbreaker.

Dislikes

1) Repetitive -- Having driven 8 years of Polo, I am thinking if this will be too repetitive in spite of all the changes surrounding the car.

2) DSG -- Nothing more to say.

3) Interiors -- Body-colored interiors are a bit off-putting.

4) Small nuances missing -- As mentioned in the official review, no spot on top of the dashboard to place a deity, no smartphone holders on the front seatbacks, no ticket clip on the windshield, and no elastic band in the doorpad to keep items in place, or even something as simple as the small reflective tapes on the doors.

5) Features -- Though feature-rich, there are many things missing in a 22L car.


Option 2 -- Hyundai Verna 1.5 DCT

Likes

1) Looks-- Polarizing and I love it. And I am the sort of person who likes the interior to be more beautiful than the exterior as that is where I spend my time.

2) Gearbox -- a bit lesser notorious than DSG from what I hear. Although the review point out that it is not as fun as VW/Skoda, I feel that is good enough for me.

3) Features -- definitely more feature rich than VW/Skoda Twins.

4) Suspension -- No longer a boat so that is good enough for me.

5) Brand-- Is it safe to say I move on to a better brand? somehow that is the vibe i am getting

Dislikes

1) Safety - The biggest question mark. All those safety features mean nothing when there is a big accident and the car doesn't protect me and my family. Not sure how to shake off this feeling.

2) Ground Clearance -- With Hyundai not talking about it, I feel it's a real Achilles heel.

3) Features -- feature rich but still not Android Auto? I will have to live another 8 years with this.

4) Engine -- Not sure if its a valid point but their engines are pretty weak when it comes to mileage. My running is less so its not a deal breaker, but their turbo really drinks petrol.

5) Price -- No discounts for at least 2 years whereas I can wiggle something out of VW.

Other Sedans:

1) Honda City-- Definitely not interested in a brand that might not survive for the next decade in India. (Let us see if Elevate can elevate this concern). Also, I want to try turbo petrol for a change.

2) Skoda Slavia -- Not a Skoda fan to be honest but I love the car. Almost similar to Virtus and in addition have small yet significant things which will need a second look. For now, in the waiting list. feeling scared of horror stories when I think about service history.

3) Ciaz -- Forgot that this is still being sold. Nothing to say about it. Not on my list.

Pseudo SUV

Though not a fan, Am I missing out by not considering cars like Taigun or Kushaq or Seltos? not mentioning Creta as I didn't like the looks at all. Ruling out TATA as they don't have a petrol car in those segments.

Let me know friends as to what I should do. I am definitely not on an urgent run to buy one. Something by the end of 2023 also will do.
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Old 3rd June 2023, 16:39   #2
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re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

It is a tough situation to be in. If you are looking for a sedan and from your shortlist assuming budget is around 20-25 Lakhs, you really have no other options than listed. The Virtus is the most suitable choice, but not sure how much of an upgrade it will 'feel' like.

If you drop the sedan requirement, then obviously you have a list of SUVs and Pseudo SUVs to consider. From an upgrade point , will better.

If you are opened to pre-owned, an Octavia maybe a good option. Or one of the other extinct D segment sedans. This is the path I would look at first being a sedan guy myself.
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Old 3rd June 2023, 18:01   #3
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re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

With Sedans in the sub 25 lakh segment a dying breed in India, your choices are limited to the options listed. If you want to go Hybrid, then the Honda City eHEV is a good choice but considering your low running, it isn't worth the investment.

From your list, the VW Virtus seems the best option, followed by the Verna as pointed out by you. Coming to the Virtus, yes it may feel a bit repetitive, but with all the advancements over the Polo, I think it shouldn't feel too similar. As regards the DSG gearbox, the only thing you can do is get the maximum possible extended warranty (I think VW offers up to 7 years) and hope nothing goes wrong. The small nuances and the interior color scheme are some things that have to be overlooked as each car has its own pros and cons, but overall, in the sub 25 lakh sedan segment, I feel the Virtus 1.5 DSG is the most fun car worth owning.

Now coming to the Verna, the car is definitely much improved and a worthy consideration, with quick shifting DCT and a feature loaded cabin. However, safety still remains a question and the ground clearance is 170 mm as told to me by the sales executives at Hyundai which falls short of the 179 mm of the Virtus, Android auto and Apple carplay for the 10.25 inch touchscreen are available but only through wired connection, I heard that it is OTA compatible and an update can bring wireless connectivity, but not sure when Hyundai will provide the same. As regards mileage, I don't think there would be a great difference between the Virtus DSG and the Verna DCT, as both are turbocharged and sensitive to driving style. As regards discounts, yes there is hardly any chance of getting discounts from Hyundai whereas VW regularly offers discounts on their cars.

Between the two, I guess you could arrive at a final decision after a thorough test drive and feeling the differences yourself.

Now, if you are looking at the used-car market, then there are quite a lot of premium sedans worth considering from BMW, Audi, Mercedes etc., but do remember their maintenance costs will definitely be on the higher end.
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Old 3rd June 2023, 18:23   #4
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re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

While you've answered your own question, there are only 3 fun to drive sedans: Virtus / Slavia OR a Verna.
If I were you, I would drive Virtus home for its Jetta-like timeless design, and the GT variant looks sweet. Checks your safety box. Between Slavia and Virtus, it should really come down to your choice of design and proximity to their ASS

Since you haven't listed your daily drives (km), I will suggest you test drive MG ZS EV. It's far more fun to drive than Seltos, Kushaq, and the sedans you've listed. It is feature-loaded and the most sorted EV in its price range. Fun to drive factor is extraordinary. It almost matches the drive experience of my Kodiaq 2 TSI and feels even faster while the cabin feels rich and luxurious.
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Old 3rd June 2023, 18:48   #5
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

Quote:
Repetitive -- Having driven 8 years of Polo, I am thinking if this will be too repetitive in spite of all the changes surrounding the car.
You have a 1.2L NA Polo. That 1.5L motor with the DSG itself is lightyears ahead, and a HUGE upgrade over your current car. Get the Virtus 1.5L DSG with the blackened roof etc. and rev away into the sunset.

Be sure to pick the extended warranty.

Before signing though, test-drive the Verna & Slavia. Never know which car pulls the strings to your heart.
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Old 3rd June 2023, 22:18   #6
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

I would say, go for the Virtus GT, was in a similar dilemma few months back and got mine in January. Havenít regretted my decision a bit.
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Old 4th June 2023, 21:24   #7
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

After owning Polo for 8 years, I believe you will appreciate Virtus/ Slavia 1.5 more in that budget. But test drive all 3 (Virtus, Slavia and Verna) and decide. If in your place, I would blindly pick Virtus/Slavia 1.5 TSI for its performance, handling, safety and build.

Last edited by sunikkat : 4th June 2023 at 21:27.
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Old 5th June 2023, 10:31   #8
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

The Virtus GT has to be the most logical choice... But why not look at a lightly used Octavia, would cost around the same but a much better car.

I am someone who's been looking to upgrade from my 2015 Vento Tsi so on a similar boat.
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Old 5th June 2023, 11:32   #9
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

I think the answer lies in your post itself. If you value safety above other things, VW/Skoda is a no-brainer. I would be pleasantly surprised if the Verna manages anything better than a 3 star.
Also please don’t equate door heft/thud to safety. Cars are getting lighter nowadays to offset the increase in the weight with new and stricter emission norms. However that doesn’t mean that they are becoming unsafe. The Virtus is a 5 star rated car (both adult and child protection) while the Polo was a 4 star rated car.
Also, in terms of space, features and performance the Virtus will be a terrific upgrade for your Polo!
If you are not fine with the risk involved with the DSG (DQ200) then you can get the manual variant as well. I had read that the manual trims will debut soon, much like the Slavia.

Last edited by Waspune : 5th June 2023 at 11:38.
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Old 5th June 2023, 13:09   #10
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

VW Virtus remains the top choice if you are looking only for a new vehicle, Having said that the Virtus has many things going for it and is a lot different than the Polo/Vento, the steering is much lighter in the Virtus and is a boon for city run abouts, it is accurate as well and as GTO pointed out the 1.5 TSI with DSG is a significant upgrade from Polo.

VW has improved the lower quality bits from the initial batches, also the AC performance is better on the 1.5.

We have 1.0 TSI Vento, 1.5 Slavia and 1.5 Taigun in the extended family and I have driven all of them, I feel the VWs have better built interiors than their respective Skoda counter parts despite the Slavia being the more recent purchase, the difference is not huge but enough to take note.

I have not driven the Verna, so will not be able to comment on it, However the looks being subjective are way too radical for my taste

If you are open to pre owned vehicles, you can check out sparingly used Octavia (3rd or 4th gen), there are some examples from 4th gen available at a significant discount from the original sticker
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Old 5th June 2023, 13:46   #11
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

If you are not averse to pre-owned cars, consider T-Roc.

It offers good shoulder room. Much better interiors.

If Cruise Control is a must for you, then T-Roc is not for you.
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Old 5th June 2023, 13:48   #12
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaghuVis View Post

- tired of driving a manual

- The drive has become a bit boring

- it is affordable

- not on an urgent run to buy one. Something by the end of 2023 also will do.
You'll have to ask yourselves - whether what you're trying to gain waiting for 5-6 months will outweigh the convenience of driving this bigger, more powerful automatic car for the same period. Chances are high you'll buy the same car by the end of the year and then regret not buying it earlier. 😁

Also there should be enough changes in Virtus GT coming from a 8yr old Polo to not feel repetitive or boring.
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Old 5th June 2023, 15:49   #13
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

I think in India right now there is no sense in buying a sedan. Everyone is shifting to SUVs or pseudo SUV. Seltos turbo petrol is one of the best choice available in market.

It is high on creature comforts (you name it, its available in Seltos; except ADAS & panoramic sunroof). It rides really well. No body roll & highly compliant ride. Offers loads of space. And even after 4 years in Indian market it is one of the most stylish car. People crib for its safety ratings, but I feel a lot depends on how you drive & actual dynamics involved in collision as for as safety is concern. So 3 stars should be adequate. (Again that's my view). In fact if you yourself inspect the Seltos, you will find its is very well built. Heavy bonnet & doors are testimony of that. And if you want super performance + super style then X-line is unbeatable.

Note: Rumours are the next gen Seltos expected in couple of quarters is supposed to be equipped with ADAS & panoramic sunroof.
Nothing can beat such offering.

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Old 5th June 2023, 19:17   #14
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

I also have a 2015 1.2 NA Polo Comfortline and am looking for upgrade options. Many people have already suggested the Virtus/Slavia and you should definitely TD them. However, here is the contrarian opinion and alternative suggestion

The Virtus/Slavia are not built as well as the Polo. There is significantly more cost cutting and some of them are quite visible, especially in the interior. Examples are shoddly boot carpeting and floor, losing one-touch windows, lower quality plastics and fabrics, etc. These are things on the Polo that you take for granted and you only realize how nice they were once they're gone.

If you're open to crossovers, the MG Astor is a surprisingly similar car. It has a weak engine (but you're used to that!) but other than that, it does well and has the same strengths as the Polo (build quality, good materials, etc.) It's worth a look and may also open you up to crossovers in general, where there are better options.
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Old 6th June 2023, 05:55   #15
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Re: What car to replace the VW Polo with?

I think you should go for an SUV, there are a couple of launches in the upcoming month or so, with the Honda Elevate, Facelift Kia Seltos, etc, do check them out as well, You never know, you may just fall in love with them. In the meantime, do take test drives of the SUV counterparts of the Virtus and Slavia, i.e. the Taigun and Kushaq. If you feel the extra ground clearance and high seating position are not worth it, then you may go for either of the Sedans listed as both are great in their own right.
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