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Old 16th August 2011, 16:34   #1
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Default Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

2011 has been one crazy ride! After years and years, 10 to be precise, I saved up enough to buy a BMW, a long term dream for me. Also it looked like we would be settling permanently at my family home in

Cochin. So I took the plunge and bought a 320 D Exclusive in February this year. Over the next few months however the following made me realize that perhaps I was too hasty!
1) My monthly running had come down to a paltry 500 km at the most. Since I bought the car I had done only 2400 km in 6 months!
2) No scope for long road trips for the next 2 years at least.
3) The possibility that we would be moving again in which case keeping two cars is not an option, let alone one high maintenance car.
4) My wife was not comfortable driving it.
I just did not want an expensive showpiece and after much mental agony and with a heavy heart I bid adieu to my Bimmer after just 6 months. I did not lose much, only 10% on OTR, so that helped alleviate the depression to some extent! So I got into my trusty long serving and suffering 2003 Accent CRDi, AKA Blacky, and went car shopping again.
This time I was determined that the head would rule over the heart and the car should meet all my current criteria namely:
1) Compact
2) Easy to drive but fun (fun=powerful and good handling) as well
3) Budget cut off of 10 lakhs (slightly stretchable) without skimping on quality. Figured I would save the rest and buy another Bimmer when the time is right.
4) Even though I am a total diesel head, I was not averse to looking at a petrol car that met the above 3 criteria.
I must be honest here and tell you that my heart kept fighting with the old noggin and tempted my eyes to wander to Cruzes and Laura TSIs and used Bimmers and Mercs and the like. I had to slap myself several times to stay focused! We all know that there is no such thing as a perfect car, but its only when I did the rounds that I realized HOW FAR from even decent cars in the market are, if one is looking for a quality drivers car under 10 lakhs! I definitely think manufacturers can do much much better but that is a different topic altogether.

These are the cars I looked at, tested and rejected:
1) Hyundai Verna Fluidic 1.6 CRDi - A car i was sooooo excited about. On paper it looks good, is loaded with features, and powerful engines too! I was totally CRUSHED when I actually drove it. I really dont know what the fuss is all about. The car looks great from the outside but thats it. It feels and IS cheap on the inside, with garish interiors which look nothing like the pictures. The plastic quality is pathetic. The lettering on the stalks look like they were painted by hand, by a 5 year old. The door sensor on the test car had already broken at just 3000 km, which meant the rep had to open the door for me from the inside. The bluetooth would not pair with my blackberry. The reverse camera looks like a cheap after market job. Worst of all, the car did not at any point feel like it had 120+ bhp under the hood. My trusty Accent with the Pete's box would put this car to shame! And the handling...less said about it the better. Why have 126 horses if you cant drive with confidence at (not over mind you!) 100 kmph? I was SORELY DISAPPOINTED because I had such high expectations.
2) Hyundai i20 CRDi - much better quality and interiors (no ugly fake wood) than the ANHV Fluidic and loaded with features but just did not feel right, or special maybe. Not as sweet handling as the Polo.Besides they were going to strip the 6th gear and could not guarantee a car with the 6 speed transmission.
3) New Ford Fiesta - Low rent interiors, nice chassis let down by anemic engines. Rear end is butt ugly (pun intended).
4) VW Vento 1.6 Petrol Automatic -Looks? Check! Quality? Now we're talking! Lovely 6 speed autobox but not much go. Also not as direct to chuck around as the Polo. Needed something more if I were to stretch my budget.
5) VW Vento 1.6 Diesel Highline - Lovely engine. Again not worth stretching the budget.
6) VW Polo 1.2 Petrol and Diesel - My heart fell for the looks and the finish. Felt really nice to drive even though the engines were underpowered on paper. The 3 pot pair however felt a bit unrefined and noisy. I had moved the 1.2 petrol highline to the top of my list by the time i was through all the VW cars.
7) Fiat Linea T-Jet, Punto 90 MJD - Feel like they are put together by a person with a hangover. Again specs on paper dont really translate to GO on the road. Such a pity. Wonderful gorgeous cars let down by poor quality, poor performance and lousy sales and service.
8) Honda Jazz, Honda City - too Jazzy / Flashy and really should be much cheaper than even post price cut prices! IMO the most overrated, overpriced cars in India. Have never liked any Honda since the original Old City V-Tec.
9) Skoda Fabia - Shot down by my better half because she does not like it one bit!
Sigh, by now I was really low and thinking maybe I was destined to stick with good old Blacky forever.
My mind kept going back to the Polo because it met all my criteria except power. I never got to test drive the 1.6 because the dealer did not have a test vehicle! My friend has one and he adores it. I had seen his car a couple of times but never got to drive it! Then I read all the reviews and thought, ok, if the 1.2 feels so peppy the 1.6 by extrapolation must be an absolute hoot to drive(i know this logic is seriously flawed - eg: punto MJD vs punto 90HP MJD.. but then everything in life is not logical). The next morning the first thing I saw in the paper was the VW ad announcing the offer on their petrol variants and that clinched it. In the end I decided to go with my instincts and my heart after all and buy a car I had not driven...ever!!

Went back to EVM Volkswagen the next day and the sales experience was as good as with the multiple car test I had done a few days back. It was quite refreshing to deal with people who actually know the features and specifications of what they are selling. Mr. Vipin Martin and Mr Lojo handled my case and they were very very courteous and professional. I was very happy to learn that the 1.6 Petrol Polo was available off the shelf, waiting period = as long as it took for my cheque to clear! Paid a 10K booking amount for a BLACK (always HAS to be black for my opinion the Polo looks best in Pepper Grey and in Red, and the Deep Black is not really "pearl effect" as claimed, but black is beautiful to me!) 1.6 Polo Highline by credit card as I didn't have my cheque book on me. With the offer of Rs.35,000 off and minus 7.5 k for bumper to bumper coverage and another 7.5 K for extended warranty, the final OTR worked out to Rs. 6,86,391/- as against list OTR of 7,35,000/-. Since I had to adjust part of the offer against accessories I asked for door sill plates, mud flaps, V-Kool T-35 Film, black textile floor mats and a VW keychain. The final price inclusive of all these was 6,96,391. Mr Lojo came home the next morning as promised to collect the documents (ID and Address proof) and cheque for the balance amount. This was on the 5th of August, which was a Friday. I was told I would be called for PDI on Monday the 8th, and that the car would be delivered on Wednesday the 10th.
From the showroom I went straight to the Stanley Boutique and ordered some rocking leather interiors, but more on that later.

As promised I got a call on monday the 8th to inform me that my cheque had cleared and that the car would be at the dealership at 5pm for an inspection by me. I asked for the VIN and it was sent to me immediately by SMS. The car is an April manufactured one (Special THANKS TO WILDON) and I was apprehensive at first that it would be in bad shape, having been in some yard or the other for 4 months, but my inspection that evening laid all my fears to rest. Noted that he (somehow the Polo is not a she...for that matter few German cars are shes...most are very obviously male!!) came shod with JK Vectras which are not my favorite tyres. The first Polos came with Apollo Acceleres, then they switched to JK Vectras, and now the new ones come with Acceleres again. (Trendlines and Comfortlines come with MRFs now i noticed). The Acceleres somehow fill the arches better because they are square shouldered unlike the Vectras. I did ask if they could switch the tyres but they said tyre numbers are also registered to the car hence nothing can be done. Ah well. Mr Vipin told me that the car would be registered the next day and all the accessories would be installed and told me to come at 12 noon on Wednesday for delivery. I signed form 20 (?) and went home happy.The next day I was pleasantly surprised when Mr Lojo called and told me the number that was assigned. He reconfirmed that delivery would happen on Wednesday at 12 pm.

Wednesday found me at the showroom at 11.45 AM, itching to get my paws on Baby Blacky, AKA Baby Schwarz (as christened by my wife). Completed all the paperwork in about half an hour. A really pleasant surprise was that they had already ordered and fitted the number plate, saving me the hassle. That was really impressive as they had the number confirmed only late last evening. The car was then brought into a special delivery bay IN the showroom where Mr Lojo patiently explained all the features to me. I was dying to drive off but did not have the heart to interrupt a person who was just doing his job, and doing it admirably well. One thing I noted during this process was that the MID was showing 10km to empty! I asked him why there was not more fuel in there and he said every car is filled with 10L and that includes the trip to the RTO and back! The MID's calculation of distance to empty on the Polo anyway is not accurate so I was not too bothered about this...I JUST WANTED TO GET OUT OF THERE.

The demo ended with the customary photo and handing over of the key, along with a box of (excellent) chocolates, a nice gel air freshner and a very soft micro fiber cloth. I thought these were really useful freebies to be giving out.

FINALLY, I had the key in my hand, fired Baby Schwarz up and zipped off to the nearest bunk where I had a mini heart attack, not having filled petrol in 8 years! Once the palpitations wore off drove straight home, bundled my wife into the car and went on a 50 km "test drive". The drive was really nice except that two faults cropped up. There was a very audible rattling sound from the hatch over the bumps and the cabin light would not go off despite all the doors being seemingly shut. I put two and two together and guessed that the hatch was not shutting properly, and on inspection the shut line gap seemed wider to my eye.

After our joyride I went straight to the EVM VW service center and that is when i had my first bitter experience. A so called Service "Advisor", a brash, uncouth, young chap whose name I will not mention strutted up to me and dealt with me in a very cocky manner. When I showed him the problem he said he had to consult his seniors, then came and took the car in. After a while he came back and said that there is no fault and that the hatch comes with a "double lock" and you have to press it after pushing it down hard to shut it. At this point i blew my top because one of the most wonderful features of the Polo is the soft auto close action of the hatch. I called Vipin who said he would be down immediately. While I was waiting for him the "SA" tried to con me again by showing me how to close the hatch by his concocted method. When i started yelling at him one of the mechanics who was working on another car silently came up to Baby Schwarz and made a small adjustment after which it shut perfectly well. The SA turned red but even then did not have the decency to even apologize. Poor Vipin had come down by then and he did all the apologizing on his behalf. He also told me he would see to it that this guy would be taught how to behave in future. Problem sorted, I drove off in a huff but was soon calmed by the pleasure of the drive.

Recap of the Dealership Experience -
By and large excellent except for the clown masquerading as a Service Adviser who spoilt it for me at the very end. I was given a test drive of all the test vehicles they had. They even pointed out the shortcomings of their models versus the competition and made no tall claims about mileage. My brief interaction with the mechanic who fixed the problem was positive as well. My conclusion out of all this is that companies usually lay down good protocols and processes. In the end it is the people at ground level that interact with the customer that make or break the brand. It is a very Indian (sorry everyone, but its true) trait to blame the customer and come up with a cock and bull story and send him off rather than listen to him and solve the problem in a logical step by step approach. It is also a very Indian trait to mask one's own ignorance with arrogance. It is very rare to come across a person who says "I dont know but will look it up and get back to you". The sooner the Germans realize this the better. I feel they need to be more hands on like the Japanese and the Koreans in their management approach and not just delegate and expect everyone to think and behave in their no nonsense logical fashion. Sad but true.

Now to the car itself! First...

...A Few Myths Debunked:

-"The impractical locking solution" - I cannot understand why the locking mechanism on the Polo has drawn such flak. THE DOORS DO AUTOLOCK at 15 kmph. One does not have to remember to manually lock the doors as stated in some reviews. Once all the doors are locked the lock button illuminates very neatly in a bright yellow. ALL DOORS CAN BE UNLOCKED AND DOORS OPENED from inside by simply pulling the lever and this is a feature common to MOST EUROPEAN CARS. Granted, the more expensive ones have the double pull handles. The only time one should be worried about doors accidentally opening is when there are children in the car and one must USE THE CHILD LOCKS in such a situation. Children can open doors from the inside no matter what sort of mechanism you have.
I also much prefer the door lock-unlock button to be situated on the driver's door like it is on the Polo than having to reach out for it on the center console. I think the whole system is WELL THOUGHT OUT.
Also remember that the remote has door lock/unlock and boot release as well. What more does one need?
-"The small and useless inside rear view mirror" - on careful observation, you will note that the IRVM is the perfect size to cover the entire USABLE area of the rear windscreen, and this it does very well.
Anything bigger would be useless as the rear seat headrests obstruct vision on both ends, so why blame the mirror?
-"The mysterious wipers that cannot be pulled up for cleaning" - read the manual. Turn ignition on and off and simply flick the wiper stalk down. The wipers move up to service position where you can do whatever your heart desires to them, and they remain there till you drive off next. This is just another thing to get used to. The partly concealed wipers actually look very neat.
-"The bonnet cannot be opened with the wipers in their normal position" - totally baseless. The bonnet opens just fine. If the edge of the bonnet is ever scratched it is because someone has forcibly tried to pull up the wipers without bring them to service position first.
- "Reversed stalks are inconvenient" - this is just a nitpick for those who are used to Japanese or Korean cars. "Reversed" stalks have been around for years now on fords, skodas etc and it is a matter of what one is used to.
-"OE Audio sounds terrible"- At moderate volumes, the OE stereo sounds just fine and as good as the OE system in any car of this class. This is enough for most ears. Upgrades are really only needed if you really crank up the volume.
-"Inconvenient reverse gear" - Again, just a matter of getting used to the "press down and first" location to engage reverse. All cars have their quirks and thats what makes them stand out from the crowd.

-Whats under the hood - Very neatly packaged compact 1.6. Lots of free space in the engine bay, especially in the front...turbo upgrade anyone?
-Key and ignition - Top quality standard issue VW/Skoda switchblade remote key. Turning the engine on requires the clutch to be depressed which is good and the car also comes with crank protection.
-The driving experience - Having finally driven this car AFTER buying it (!), it is my conclusion that this is the best driver's car currently available in India south of 10 lakhs. It has oodles of low end torque, pulls smoothly from a standstill and then surges forward like a diesel from about 2500 RPM, especially in third gear. The low end torque means it is effortless to drive in the city even with 4 aboard. It is very comfortable pottering about at 30kmph in 4th and at 40kmph in 5th. I have been limiting revs to under 3500 till it is run in, but you just know there is more power on demand all the way up to the 6000 RPM redline. This is in stark contrast to Honda's overrated engines which need you to floor the throttle to be able to extract any semblance of performance. You rarely need to downshift in the city, or on the highway while overtaking, but end up doing so anyway because its fun! The gear shift is fantastic and would not be out of place in a premium sports car. Short throws and slots in perfectly and positively every single time.
The EP steering is perhaps a bit too light even at speed but the car responds perfectly to every input and never feels unstable! Not much feedback from the steering, as in you cannot "feel the road", but it does not feel mushy, is precise and the car tracks true. The chassis feels taut and there is hardly any body roll, which makes it easy to chuck the car through corners. At 100 kmph the car feels super steady and the steering though light does not budge an inch from dead center.
On the first day the car was very bouncy over potholes at low speeds, but i found the tyres were overinflated. Filled with nitrogen at 31 PSI and now it is much better. Low speed ride on bad roads is not the best. You do hear and feel ever bump and trough, but i guess thats the price you pay for good handling. Ground clearance is excellent and it has not scraped bottom even with 4 people in the car, and neither does the suspension bottom out.
-NVH - this car is super quiet at idle unlike its 1.2 sibling. You CANNOT tell it is on unless you look at the tacho, or unless the AC is on. You can hear the engine very clearly when accelerating hard, but it is a lovely smooth throaty note, not harsh and strained like the 1.2. Definitely sounds sporty. There is significant tyre noise in the cabin but it is not uncomfortable. Wind noise is well controlled.
-The looks. The clean elegant lines of the Polo are timeless. It is not a shape that will look stale in a few years, like the Swift or the i20. It is extremely proportionate from every angle and sits low and long and does not look undertyred even though it actually is!It really is quite beautiful. To those who think the rear is bland compared to the rest of the car I say this...if it is good enough for BMW to copy paste on their new 1 series it sure is good enough for me! Also chrome use is minimum and tasteful. I can understand why the VW logos are thief magnets..they are quite stunning.
- The paint job. Simply the best in class and better than many premium cars.
- Fit and finish, exterior and interior. While the interiors are simple, there are no low rent bits anywhere. It feels good to be in this cabin and that is what counts in the long run, not a long list of cheap gizmos that will most likely fail.
- Interior design. Clean, understated, functional with everything beautifully integrated. I couldnt help but notice in every Polo thread that everyone who wanted to upgrade their ICE wanted to retain the "OE look" of the center console, its that good. Clocks are simple but neat and very legible and so is the MID. The short gear lever looks great. The center console angled towards the driver is a neat touch.
Everything in well coordinated two tone black and beige which is very pleasing to the eye (beige NOT PRACTICAL but only talking about looks here). Nice seat fabric as well. The chrome trim on the center console, AC switches and around the gear lever is very neat. Steering wheel is nice and chunky with gorgeous logo. Stalks are high quality with top class lettering. Red button lighting is classy as is the white dial lighting.
-Ergonomics and convenience. Tilt and telescopic steering along with drivers seat height adjustment makes finding the ideal driving position very easy. Front seats are super comfortable and now even better with the leather! Dont care about the rear seat...never been there. All buttons, switches and stalks are great to use and everything falls to hand easily. Handbrake lever is another quality item and perfectly located. Seat belts feel premium and the tension is adjusted well. They dont attempt to choke and kill you when you want to lean forward normally. Hood release is perfectly located on the drivers side and the mechanism under the bonnet is very easy to locate and use. Hatch has one of the classiest opening and shutting mechanisms, period. Doors open in 3 stage fashion and feel solid, with great handles, inside and out. Good visibility except for through rear windscreen which is just about adequate. ORVMs offer decent coverage. Good boot space for a hatch and seats split and fold flat if you need to transport a small herd of goats!
The glove compartment deserves a special mention. It is simply humongous in proportion to size of the car. In the BMW, the glove box would not even hold the owners manual. Here there is loads of space, a special compartment for sunglasses and a coin holder.
The bottle holders in the front door pads are excellent as well. In addition, there are door pockets in all four doors, two cupholders up front, a very deep and useful rectangular (or is it square) cubbyhole in front of the cupholders, and a placemat for a cellphone or other such flat item under the handbrake lever.
Also all the hooks and handles one would need in the right places. Rear parcel tray is broad and very useful.
Parklights can be selectively switched on depending on which side of the road you are parked. For example, if parked on the left side, simply turn off ignition while leaving park light on and indicator stalk in right side position to switch on only the right park light.
If hazard lights are on and you switch on the turn signals, only the indicated side will flash. Useful for turning in hazardous conditions!
Lane change indicators - gently depress indicator stalk in the desired direction to flash turn signal thrice for lane change.
-The ICE though basic, works flawlessly. The HU reads MP3s off CDs very fast. Load is instantaneous and seek to any part of the CD is extremely quick. The buttons and rotary knobs are brilliant to use and one gets the hang of the system in about a minute.
-MID- Clear, crisp and legible with all the information you will need. Easy to use too. Not sure about the accuracy of Distance to Empty though (see hate). Has a very funky digital second speedo as well. Kind of pointless but its there! Two types of trip meters. One resets itself if the car is not driven for 2 hours which is very useful. The other tracks overall stats till manually reset or resets itself every 9999 km.
-OE Borbet alloys. Very neat and well finished.
- Good front fogs
- AC - Cools extremely well and the thermostat really works in a graded fashion. The controls, while manual, are a joy to use due to their step click action.
-Wipers - very quiet with good sweep and clean. I dont know if it is my imagination but they seem to slow down when the car is stationary and speed up with the car. Good rear wiper. Rear wiper comes on automatically when car is in reverse and front wipers are on.
-AMC option - on paper a good deal if you drive a lot. A single payment of 20,000 is supposed to cover all service costs for the first 3 years/45000 km, EXCEPT brake pads and wheel balancing /alignment. In reality i dont know. Did not opt for it as I expect to run only 6000-7500km a year.
-15000km once a year service interval.
-Beautiful detailed (also look at hate!) owners manual. The paper smells yummy too! My car came with the 320 page manual, a 74 page supplement updated from nov 2010, a SEPARATE 43 page very detailed service book and a manual for the stereo, all in a nice leather magnetic close pouch. Nice touch VW. Its these little details that make German cars FEEL special.
-Tools neatly strapped in the spare wheel. Spare headlamp bulbs and first aid kit are nicely packaged as well. Quality everywhere!

Neutral About(couldnt care one way or the other) :
-No steering mounted audio controls - with such a simple responsive HU these are not needed, REALLY!
-No climate control - now this is sure to cause a controversy, but what sense does climate control really make UNLESS IT IS DUAL ZONE AT THE VERY LEAST? What is the point in having a fancy thermostat with a display when you have to press buttons and turn knobs to make adjustments anyway? IMO if the AC is going to cool the entire car uniformly then regular "manual" ac is fine. The number of operations one will perform is the same in the long run.
- No electrically folding ORVM. IMO not needed on a car this size. Sure it is practical but i find most people keep them folded all the time and that is plain dangerous. I have driven my Accent for 8 years without ever hitting the mirrors. I find the mirrors are also a good reference point for getting used to the width of a car and in my book it is better someone hits the mirror than the car itself!
-No dead pedal. This surprised me because i am a dead pedal fan but I dont miss it in this car. The foot feels comfortable on the floor. Something about the driving position perhaps?
-14 inch steel wheel spare. Why waste an alloy and risk it getting all scuffed in the boot? This way we also dont have to rotate all 5 tyres and the spare can remain just that for eternity. Its time people realized this is actually practical and a good thing and not just cost cutting by the company.
-Spare wheel positioned face down. How often do you check the air in the spare anyway? Fill it with several PSI more of nitrogen and check once in many months is enough IMO.
-Rear seat space. It is adequate. Same as the Accent and better than some of the competition so I have no complaints. Headroom is good. I am six feet tall and can find a good driving position which does not intrude on rear seat legroom by much. Rear seat is meant for two not three, but again this is not a factor for me.
-Mileage. Too early for me to say. All reports say 10-12 in the city and around 15 on the highway. Not really a factor for me due to my limited running of 500 km per month.

-no ISOFIX child seat points. If they can have it in Skoda why not in the mother brand?
-Beige carpets. WHY WHY WHY? Nothing can be done about this other than try and cover it and keep clean as best as possible. Even if cars come with beige interiors the carpet really should be grey or black.
-Horrible rear badging. Big wide ugly Volkswagen lettering on the left rear. I debadged him the very next day, with a hair dryer, dental floss and a spot of diesel. I removed the "volkswagen" and "polo" lettering and left only the 1.6 to sit proudly next to the gorgeous boot lid logo.
-Rotary light switch has lost its chrome trim. Does not feel cheap however, just odd when compared to chrome finished AC switches.
- Turn signal auto off too sensitive to steering input. This i have noticed with all German cars. While this may be fine in Germany, here we have potholes at every turn and it is inconvenient to have the turn signal go off when you make a small steering correction to avoid the pothole.
-Cars with electrical operated ORVMs come without rear power window switches on driver's door! Polos sold elsewhere in the world have electrical ORVMs AND all FOUR switches on drivers door.
-Power window switches are not illuminated.
-No AUX/USB/Bluetooth
-No vanity mirror on passenger side sunshade. Wife very unhappy about this.
-Long clutch travel. Kind of spoils the superb gear shift. Clutch is very light and smooth though and does not tax the foot.
- Distance to empty on MID is inaccurate IMO. It is not real time and seems to calculate it based on the last average trip fuel consumption. For example when i tanked up it showed distance to empty of just 300 km. Surely FE cant be that low for 45 litres of fuel! It has since decreased proportionately based on the original calculation even though overall fuel consumption is much better than what it was at time of delivery!
-OE JK Vectras. To be fair for the type of driving i am doing at the moment in the city it really does not make a difference.
-OE 60/55 H4 Headlamp bulbs - pathetic light output. Again, not a problem if limited to city driving.
-Useless dim reverse light does not help while reversing.
-Neatly hidden windscreen washer jets do not spray the windscreen. It just leaves a blob of froth on the bottom of the glass which the wipers then carry up to complete the job. Can they be adjusted I wonder?
-No under hood insulation. The bonnet does get very very hot even after a short drive. Maybe this is insignificant and i'm just used to diesel cars which are always cool to touch even after a long trip thanks to the under hood "blanket". Thinking of installing Dynamat hoodliner. VW refuse to give me OE hood insulation as found on the Polo TDI. Apparently all spares are tightly regulated against the particular car and model. Just sound like a load of rubbish to me.
-Hidden exhaust. The 1.6 really should have come with a nice chrome tipped twin exhaust to differentiate it from its less powerful siblings.
-Owners booklet TOO DETAILED!! Not specific for Indian Polo which means it generates a lot of envy when reading about all the yummy goodies the Polos abroad get!
-LACK OF OPTIONS - I get so envious when i look at the configurator for the Polo on the VW UK website. Anything and everything is available for a price. Why is that so hard to replicate here VW? What are you afraid of? We are willing to pay for all those goodies after all.
- LACK OF CLARITY ON WARRANTY - this is the reason why I chose to save 7.5K now and NOT OPT for the EXTENDED WARRANTY. Their stand seems to be "you touch the car outside of a VW dealership and we will void warranty", so why pay for something that they will void anyway? There is no logic to what they say. For example, they told me I can fit any tyre as long as it is 185/60/15! The same car with the same suspension comes with 195/55/15, 215/45/16 and 215/40/17 as company backed options in other countries.
- INSURANCE - Dealer quotes 26K as per the price list for insurance from Bajaj Allianz which is adjusted against the 35K off scheme. However final insurance taken is from Reliance and premium paid is 17K. The dealer has obviously been reading the "how to save on insurance" thread and is short changing VW in the bargain! When questioned they say this is standard when the scheme is offered and full support will be given. This is why i did not opt for the "bumper to bumper" cover which does not cover tyres etc anyway. It is more of a return to invoice policy and not worth 7.5K more.

A Note on Added Accessories:
1) V Kool T-35 Sunfilm - does a good job and reduces cooling time appreciably. Looks good, not to dark and has a slight reflective look from some angles. Only grouse is that it picks up dashboard reflections inside and this is a bit distracting. Cost ~6,500
2) Polo door sill plates - cosmetic. Cost ~1000
3) Mudflaps - ugly but practical, especially in Kerala. Cost ~1000
4) Polo Black Textile mats - Good quality, almost velour like but NOT CUT TO PERFECT SIZE. Strangely they are very small! Only 4 pieces, no piece to cover the transmission hump. Need to get 3D mats in black. Cost ~1500
5) VW Keychain - Nice! Cost ~450
6) RTO Approved plates - very neat job. Cost ~1050
7) Freebies - Gel Freshner, microfiber cloth and chocolate box
1) to 7) were obtained through the dealer. 1) to 6) were adjusted against the 35k off scheme.

8) Stanley Leather interiors - this is my favorite. Includes seats, handbrake lever, door armrests, gear knob, gear lever boot and steering wheel. I chose "classic black" with " carbon black" trim. They also offered to do the beige part of the door pads for the same price but I felt the two tone effect looked better. Seats are done in "Alfa Romeo" pattern. Order to delivery was very quick (1 week). Service was only ok. The guys at the Stanley Boutique here are friendly enough but the experience is a bit weird as there are these beautiful leather couches all around but they do not offer you even a chair to sit in. You just stand at the counter to talk to them. Also they make some promises they cant keep and dont keep in touch with you. I had to do all the calling. The car was fitted in half a day and the fitting was excellent except for the steering wheel which is not stretched perfectly flush around the spokes. Need to get that redone. Quality of the leather and the stitching is superb and the cabin smells great and feels super premium now. Cost ~42,500

Planned upgrades - HU with BT/NAV, Better tyres at some point, Sports kit if finances permit.

To sum up - This is a gem of a car that has turned out to be everything I hoped for. It is a car I know I will love to be in for years, it just has that special feeling. VW should promote this car a little more. It is sad to see that none of the dealers even have a test vehicle. At just 45K more than the 1.2 highline this a much better deal and I dont see any reason why they shouldnt just offer this in 3 variants and do away with the 1.2 altogether. This is efficient as the 1.2, is super refined and is the closest we have to a real hot hatch at the moment.

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Old 16th August 2011, 16:51   #2
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

Congrats on the great buy! Polo 1.6 is currently the best premium hatch available.

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Old 16th August 2011, 17:40   #3
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km


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Now you know why I chose Black! No prizes for guessing the two most popular colors

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Car in Delivery Bay at EVM Volkswagen

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Debadged Rear!

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Exterior 01

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Exterior 02

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Exterior 03

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Exterior 04

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German Engineered External Security Option!

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Interior 01

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Interior 02

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Interior 03

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Interior 04

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Dash By Day

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Dash By Night

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Neat Clocks

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Clocks with handsome White Illumination

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Cant Use these No More!

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Leather Door Armrest

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Two Tone Leather Seats -"Classic Black With Carbon Black Trim"

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Carbon Black Leather Gear Boot

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Leather Handbrake Grip

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Stanley Ka Dabba!

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Key in Ignition

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Gorgeous Taillight. This picture does not do it justice

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Engine bay with so much space in front. Note all that floor showing through. Enough place to squeeze in a turbo wot?

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Naughty VW. No under hood insulation

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Wiper in service position.
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Old 16th August 2011, 18:41   #4
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

Ouch!! That must have hurt. Letting Bimmer go in less than 6 months..

Anyways, congrats on your new buy. Drive Safe. You got a cracker of a car.
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Old 16th August 2011, 19:05   #5
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

Congrats on your new acquisition! The car looks nice in black (there are so many white polo's in Chennai, rarely seen a black one). Wishing you many pleasent moments with Baby Schwarz.
Polo 1.6 is a power-house. with the sport-mods you have in mind , i m sure you can put some sedans to shame.
Your pup looks really cute next to Baby Schwarz.
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Old 16th August 2011, 19:22   #6
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km


What a review, a very detailed one. Enjoyed every minute of reading.

Congratulations on the car, the black colour looks so beastly on the car.

Happy mile crunching and drive safely.

BTW why did you remove the VW and Polo badging, was it not looking great?
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Old 16th August 2011, 20:16   #7
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

Truly Gorgeous beauty.
De-badging have really done the wonders for this car, interms of boosting its looks.
Do update us with its Fuel efficiency & its Ownership costs.
Congratulations once again & do have a Happy Mile munching ahead.
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Old 16th August 2011, 21:49   #8
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

Nice review. But man, I'm feeling bad reading about your Bimmer going in 6 months. Nice to see you've got almost all of the essentials sorted for this car. I think a tyre upgrade to 205/55 R15 should be your first upgrade considering the power of this car. I've drive one and I found it quite undertyred.
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Old 16th August 2011, 22:00   #9
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

Wow, what a gorgeous car man.
Oh, BTW I liked German made exterior security for your Car. Looks fab and expensive .
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Old 16th August 2011, 22:20   #10
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

Congrats on the black beauty - and do keep us updated on the mods as and when you go in for them.
The leather job looks great!
I simply hate VW for the bland HU (no USB / aux) and skimping on the rear power window buttons on the driver side.
Enjoy your new ride , and drive safe!
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Old 16th August 2011, 22:26   #11
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

very detailed! the Polo looks a treat! I HATE those mud flaps though, you could maybe order original mud flaps from ebay?

Also, a couple of queries - didn't you find ANHC VFM post the price cuts? And wasn't the Vento TDI within your budget?
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Old 16th August 2011, 23:12   #12
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

Excellent review of your car and congrats for the black beauty. The debaged really looks great. Guys who like black will always like black, being a owner of Black Vento TDi HL. If you find the mats not good you can go with Kagu 3D mats for polo costing Rs. 4500, they will really add to the look. The Stanley interiors look awesome with the Carbon trim.
Enjoy crunching miles on your baby Schwarz!
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Old 17th August 2011, 02:03   #13
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

Guys, thank you all for your comments.

@ sachinj12 and akshay1234

Yes it hurt..hurt like hell letting the Bimmer go but it was the most practical thing to do. 2500 km in 6 months was just pathetic. I did 30000 km in the first year alone in my Accent, back in 2003-04! Sigh, those were the days...solo trips from Cochin to Pune and back!
Will upgrade the tyres as soon as they are available. Due to the ISI mark fiasco many sizes are unavailable at the moment. I want Yoko S drives which are the best tyres i have ever had. Conti CPC 2s are the only currently available tyres in 205/55/15 and those i definitely dont want!

@ rajanprash

Too many Whites and Reds, many Silvers. The rarest colors on the road are Glacier blue, Pepper Grey and Black. I have seen only 2 Black Polos so far in Cochin. Mine is the third! Btw, my "pup" is almost 6 years old...she has been my companion on many a road trip!

@ ghodlur
The Volkswagen lettering looks quite horrible and cheap. The Polo is not so bad but then does it really need to say Polo? The "Volkswagen" was added late last year if i remember correctly. I asked someone in the company about it and he says it was because Indians are not aware of the brand. What an insult! The international Polo does not come with such badging.

@ CRtorquefan
Will post updates as and when possible. The MID is currently showing a dismal 7.7 km/L after almost 200 km. But that is in bumper to bumper traffic and i am sure it will improve after the engine is run in and i make a few airport runs!

@ acroback
The german engineered external security system is priceless!

@ blackasta
I know. VW really should not short change us like this. But what is there, works flawlessly and that I am very happy about.
I hear there is an updated Polo and Vento in the pipeline with these missing features. Perhaps even a 4 cylinder 94 BHP 1.5 diesel.

@ d_himan
I thought these were the original mudflaps since they were purchased from the dealer. Not aware of any other kind. Could you send me a link/picture please? If i go in for the sports body kit will have to have them removed anyway as the kit is incompatible with any kind of mudflap.
No the ANHC is definitely not VFM for me even post price cut. They have just killed the feel good factor with every successive generation. They may be great cars but just not my cup of tea. Would go in for a Hyundai over a Honda any day. The Honda dealers also seem to have a major chip on their shoulders, at least here.
Yes the Vento TDI was within, well just out of, my budget. But I really did not need the boot and with my limited running it really did not make sense. The Polo is the better handler of the two. Also with the 4 lakh price difference I can mod the Polo to my hearts content and tank her up for the next 5 years and still have money to spare!

@ el_lobo_6061
I am on the hunt for the 3D mats. Not in stock here at the moment. There are universal 3D mats but I dont want those as they wont be a good fit.
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Old 17th August 2011, 10:59   #14
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

hossdoc - Excellent review and wishing you a very pleasant ownership experience with your new car. It looks gorgeous in black and I wish VW had given the classic combo of black/beige interiors in Vento too. The interiors are very well done - neat job. You said stanley offered to do the interior beige portion of door pad, Can you elaborate?

I also remember seeing a different music system in the 1.6 display vehicle here in chennai when I picked up my Vento very recently.I guess the recent one's are coming in with a different system however dont think it has the USB/aux-in features either.
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Old 17th August 2011, 12:00   #15
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Default Re: Deep Black Polo 1.6 Petrol Highline- Initial Ownership Review - 200 Km

Very nice review. The Polo looks smart in black + those alloys.
Love what you've done with the interiors too.
And nice to see you are one step ahead of those pesky badge thieves
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