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|25th March 2017, 19:59||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2017
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1.5 years with a 1.5 TDI: VW Polo ownership review
DRIVE! The one word that excites me more than anything else in the world. I have been driving for more than 12-13 years now. Got a first taste of it when I was just studying in 8th standard. My dad would sometimes take me to an open ground close to our house on weekends and let me have the thrill of driving. I learned pretty quickly I would say and since then I have been driving and fallen in love with cars.
So when the time came to buy my own car, it was one of the most confusing and toughest decision that I made considering the number of options that are available today. I usually travel solo but I always wanted a big car. An SUV or at least a sedan were my priority when I started doing my R&D. It was always like why spend almost close to 10 lakh rupee and end up buying an hatchback when you could have a fairly capable SUV (Scorpio or TUV300) or a sedan (Ciaz or Verna Fluidic). Later I found out that I am not the only one who is plagued with this thinking. Here is one such question asked on Team-BHP:
Hatchback vs Compact SUV
The answer that GTO has provided to above question is just Wow!
Okay coming back to what changed my mind. Driving a big car in the city traffic almost every time alone, with not so much luggage kind of made me drop the idea of a big car. And there always was the problem of parking such a big car (Ciaz being the longest of them all) where I currently live. Plus having some features like electrically closing ORVM’s, a good music system, steering mounted controls and a car that comes with good build quality was always on back of my head. So such variants in these cars would have gone all the way to 12-14 lakhs on-Road and I was against the idea of taking loan for the time being. Dropped the idea of buying a big car and started the search for a fully capable Premium Hatchback.
So here are the basic things considered before buying my car:
I always read those DIY’s on Team-BHP and they inspire me a lot. Most of them being centred around VW cars, especially a Polo. Like some one had retrofitted front parking sensors on his Polo all by himself, where someone else on the other hand had retrofitted the new cruise control system. So this always amazed be about all the possibilities.
Then came the time for test drive. My dad also was in the favour of Polo for it being the most safest hatchback in India. So he called up someone from VW showroom who first came to show the car to my dad outside his office. Here is how my dad explained it:
Took it for a test drive and for some reason I was not much impressed from it. I had driven the Elite i20 of my cousin for more than 2000 kms and accompanied him in same on shotgun for another 8,000-10,000 kms so I was familiar with its driving dynamics. I was expecting this German to drive a lot better than the Elite i20 but somehow it failed me. The lack of basic things like arm rest, rear parking camera, electrically closing ORVM’s bugged me even more.
I had more than 1 hour of test drive and the sales guy was very patient. Explained almost all features of the car but when I asked “Why doesn’t this one have a basic seat belt warning when VW seems to care about safety so much?”. He had no answer for this one.
Then in order to show the build quality of the hatch, he opened the front door, and literally climbed and sat on top of it. I am not even kidding he was one heavy fella. He said that you can’t do this multiple times on a Scorpio or Safari without making the door go off or losing it off its hinges.
This impressed me even more considering how many times he would have done this to show the build quality of the car to different customers and how well the door is still handling it. Then we opened the hood and he started demonstrating that the car comes with a life time water to shampoo converter for the front wind shield liquid (not sure how true that is), the coolant in this car is also for a life time, the gearbox oil doesn’t needs to be changed during its life and some engine parts had Audi logo on them like fuel injector etc. So this was impressive.
But then again I was disappointed due to the lack of some basic features. I couldn’t digest that a Polo is less fun to drive than an Elite i20 and is lesser on the features also. Dropped the idea of Polo and moved on. Later I came to know the reason for this was that the Test Drive car that he brought to us, was not well maintained.
Other Cars I considered:
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz
Went to a Maruti Suzuki showroom in Jalandhar and saw the Ciaz in brown color. It looked so gorgeous and is still by far one of the best looking car from Maruti Suzuki. Ciaz to me looked all about dominance. But when I took the TD, the car seems to be more focused on back seat than driver's seat. Mostly because it is made to be chauffeur driven. Then again its length was the biggest factor for not choosing it. It wouldn’t be able to park inside our home with main gate getting closed as our gates opens towards inside. We would have to shift our main gate towards the garden and change the entry to house from there and that meant spending another 1.5-2 lakh rupees and I was not in favour of this.
So buying a Ciaz was also dropped.
Ford Figo Aspire
Went to Ford showroom in Jalandhar itself after this and they had the new Figo lineup. Took its TD and no doubt it is a performer. The engine is very responsive right from the moment you put your foot down and doesn’t seems to be boring to drive by any means. The interior quality was a big no no and steering wheel felt so cheap to hold. Didn’t came in leather trim. Over and all the engine in the Figo Aspire is a stunner but the interior design and quality was not to my taste. Looks are personal preference and Aspire looks sometimes good sometimes average to me.
New Honda Jazz was also launched at that time. Saw its photos and was immediately impressed but I don’t know why I never went to take its TD. Baleno also came out and was thinking of buying it but it had long waiting period. So didn’t even bothered to go for a TD.
Back to Square One
Then on some other weekend, took my parents to Jalandhar again to finalise a car as it was already more than 4-5 months of jumping from one decision to another. Looked like no car was made for me??? We went to Hyundai, to Maruti and finally to VW. Didn’t wanted to buy Elite i20 although it was selling like hot cake at that time and as I wanted something to stand out of the crowd. Also my cousin who lived with me and worked in same office as I had the same car so I didn’t wanted to buy it anyways. For a brief moment, thought of buying i20 Active but then dropped that idea also. Rather buy the Elite i20 than Active. Saw Creta also but a well equipped diesel variant of Creta would cost almost around 14-15 lakhs and didn’t wanted to spend that much on a compact SUV.
Then as the day was starting to getting dark, we went to VW showroom as it was just next to Hyundai just for the sake of it. There was not much rush in the showroom (big surprise) when compared to that of Hyundai or Maruti. Reason for this is also that their first car starts from around 5 lakh whereas Maruti and Hyundai have cars starting from 2 lakh price. Also Hyundai and Maruti have a different car to suit to every one’s taste starting from a affordable hatch to a premium crossovers and SUV’s. VW at that time gave three additional features to the Polo including the Cruise Control, Electrically Foldable ORVM’s and a cooled glove box. When I took the TD of the new Polo again, the first thought that came to my mind was:
Even i20 missed on some features that are available in Polo like all four windows featuring one touch up and down with anti pinch guard, range and average fuel consumption on MID, the ability to roll windows up and down from remote key and few more. Also Hyundai had removed leather wrapped steering wheel, one touch up function on driver side window and boot lamp. Polo was final for me.
Total Cost and buying experience
One week later, our delivery date was finalised. We booked the car with diesel engine as my monthly usage being somewhere between 1500- 2000 kms. Most of it is highway usage on weekends (around 60%) and rest is in commuting from my office to my room in Chandigarh which is around 22 kms daily. Went for the Highline (top) variant as electrically foldable ORVMs, steering mounted controls, automatic climate control in AC and many more such features were available in top variant only. At that time, safety features like Air bags (both driver and co-passenger) were available across the lineup with ABS starting from middle variant. So that was good. Although now they are providing both these features as standard across all variants and in all of their cars.
The dealer quoted us around 9,00,000 INR for the car including everything. Just to remind you, we planned to buy the car at the time when the infamous "Dieselgate" scandal of VW had already made it to the headlines of every media source. Didn't affected my decision much and I still went on to buy the car. Instead, we got a sweet discount of more than Rs 50,000 just because of this. On top of this, we got the car through CSD which meant around 1,00,000 INR worth of more discount. My dad even negotiated some more discount (around 55,000 INR total) and some free accessories (mud flaps, floor mats etc).
So the final cost that we had to pay was 7,50,000 INR. Not a single penny extra. Thats like 1,50,000 cheaper than the original price quoted to us.
Went there on a Thursday, and there she was waiting for me. Started the Team-BHP PDI checklist on her and spent few time along with sales guy understanding some of the features. Dad was on way to showroom and as soon he reached, we started the registration process after giving them a Final Okay for the car. One thing, I didn’t took TD of the car before taking the delivery and doing registration process. Somehow it skipped from my mind. Still don’t know if dealer lets you do it or not? But we were lucky as I didn't got any issue with the car. Touchwood! Still one should take TD of the car before finalising it.
Dealer asked us to go for two years of extended warranty that would cost us around Rs 15,000. This package would cover the warranty for a total of four years (two years included + two years extra). This option is available to opt any day during first year of purchase. We thought that we would take it some day later as we didn't wanted to take any risk considering the cost of VW's spare parts. But we neglected it as now 1.5 years have passed. Just went with gut feeling. Plus even I didn't wanted to opt for it as being an informed car owner (all thanks to Team-BHP), I always will follow and always have followed all the tips that Team-BHP has mentioned including "How to run in your new car", "How to follow Turbo idling" and many more that I could find here.
Also VW is not very lenient when it comes to giving claims regarding warranty issues. Even Team-BHP is full of such heartbreaking stories of many VW customers.
The whole purchase experience through VW Hoshiarpur (Lally Motors) was smooth and they delivered to us what ever they promised and on time. The delivery experience was also rememberable as the whole staff looked excited and shared the same enthusiasm as us. They had a cake cutting ceremony and a little party before we took off with the car. The dealer also gave us a coupon of around Rs 1,500 worth of fuel which was redeemable at a nearest petrol station. Got the tank topped up!
Some memories from delivery day -
Lets first cut the ribbon:
Followed by some spiritual proceedings:
The mandatory shot:
That's dad doing "Pooja".
Me and my friend fiddling with the car on the day of delivery.
Bought the car home and it was already late. Took it to the nearest temple to get the Pooja done by Pandit.
Zoom in on present day and it has been around 1.5 years with the car and around 27,000 happy kilometres. Here are some photos of the car now:
The front profile looks the best according to me. This is where Polo puts every car in Premium Hatchback segment behind it. I agree that Elite i20 looks great from rear but even that can’t compete with Polo when it comes to front looks.
Redesigned front grill on this facelift version looks great. With red lines on front grill with TDI badge, it looks more bold.
Rear is not something that you will fall in love with on first look. But it doesn’t looks that bad either. Earlier I used to hate the rear look to be honest.
Notice what I did with the sticker. Earlier it had Lally Motors written on top of Simply the Best. Replaced it with Team-BHP sticker .
The side profile from front:
Another shot of side profile from front angle:
The rear look from 3/4th angle. Notice that little scratch under Live to Drive sticker? The rear bumper has gone through a lot of abuse and is still holding well. Can't tell you how many times someone has hit me from back. People don't pay attention while driving not even in Bumper to Bumper traffic. Drivers from rear have bumped into me a lot of time but the bumper has always survived with minor scratches. Tells you a lot about the build quality of the car:
The Highline variant comes with silver alloys and 15" MRF tyres. Got the default alloys painted to black from local paint shop. Didn't even bothered to go for Plasti-Dip and took the risk. Results were not that bad. Will continue using these with black paint until I have some money for bigger wheels and decent alloys to compliment them. Planning to opt for 16 inchers with better looking alloy wheels when the current tyres will wear out.
1.5 years with the car and I think this qualifies me to give an honest review on the car. Lets first get over with the things that I don’t like in Polo:
Lacks a lot of features that the competition has to offer. Lacks the basic central arm rest, rear ac vents, boot light, reverse parking camera and few others. Although VW keeps on adding new features slowly but they are already very late to the party.
Then there is poor rear leg space. I won’t say it is even justifiable because if you seat four adults one behind another with height between 5’9” to 6’, they won’t be able to sit comfortably. Most of my friends have good height, and we do find it a little difficult for everyone to sit comfortably.
Engine & Drivability:
The car according to me is not an ideal city car either. Especially in bumper to bumper traffic, it becomes very difficult to drive it due to its heavy clutch and steering. The steering is not light at all in diesel although in petrol variant, both clutch and steering are very light when compared to diesel variant.
I still remember the first time I was stuck in B2B traffic, my left leg just under my knee started to ache because of the intense pressure from the heavy clutch. I have either got used to it now or it has got a little lighter. But trust me, the car is not meant for B2B traffic. I would rather suggest to go for Polo GT TSI as it comes with automatic 7-speed DSG transmission if your main usage will be in city traffic.
That having said, the car is an excellent highway cruiser. Overtakes are easy and when the turbo kicks in at around 1,500 rpm, it just puts a big smile on your face. I use it to travel from Chandigarh- Dasuya highway (180 km) on weekends and I easily manage to get around 22-26 kmpl mileage with AC running. I normally drive between 80-100 kmph usually during early morning hours.
Also with average height, you won't be able to see the bonnet of the car while driving. Its hidden from sight and you will have to sit upright if for some reason you want to see where your bonnet is. Also the front washer nozzles are hidden under the front bonnet and you can't lift wiper without putting them to service mode first. If someone would try to lift them up forcefully, it will damage paint on the bonnet. So you have to be careful and make sure that this doesn't happens when ever you take your car to car wash. Although most of the car washes are aware of this thing now without you pointing them out.
The interiors of the car do feel up market and the plastic used in building dashboard is quite strong (but not soft to touch).
The biggest USP of the interior has to be the new flat bottom steering wheel that I absolutely love.
The steering wheel is wrapped around with leather and comes with steering mounted controls. The buttons also feels very nice to touch and use. Steering hosts Mute, Voice Command and Volume buttons along with Call Pick & Drop, and buttons to change track. The MFD is also controlled through arrow buttons given on the right side of the steering wheel.
Pressing the horn is a bit of stretch as you can't honk it by just using your thumb as it takes a lot of pressure. I have got used to it now and I either use my palm if I am holding the steering wheel from the two spokes on the left and right side, or full hand if I am holding the steering wheel from some other side.
I am also using ZAAP's magnetic mobile phone holder from more than a year now. Got it from amazon if anyone is interested. Its very convenient to use according to me as it also looks nice even if you don't have your phone mounted to it. So I have never felt the need to remove it when I am not using it. Just touch the back of your phone and it will strongly hold your phone in place (you have to put an iron plate that they supply on the back of your phone). Its also a convenient place to mount mobile phone as the cold air coming from the vent keeps your phone cold during navigation. Also one observation, if your car doesn't comes with function to close down a particular vent, you might want to avoid using this during winters if you are using heater. My car has that scroll adjuster provided on each vent to turn down a vent off completely so during winters, if I am using heater, I would completely turn off the vent where I have mounted my phone.
All four power windows comes with one touch up and down function. Also all the buttons gets illuminated backlight in red color. Even the rear windows gets illuminated backlight button. Might not be quite visible in this picture as it was taken in broad daylight.
Accessories added to car-
RCD 330 Plus:
Felt the need to upgrade the music system. One of my roommate bought the Polo Petrol Highline variant 3-4 months after me which came with Touch-screen, rain sensing wipers and auto dimming interior rear view mirror. The touchscreen system offered a lot more than the basic RCD 220 that came with the car. So an upgrade to touch screen music system was always on my mind. So when I talked to guys at VW Chandigarh showroom, they said that the one that comes in new Polo, will cost around 26,000 INR. Guys at VW Hoshiarpur showroom said that it will cost around 45,000 INR. Are you freaking kidding me? I am not buying an iPad dude. Its just a 5 inch touch screen music system without navigation or CarPlay support. But thats what they told me. So one day browsing through Team-BHP, saw this following post by maddyguage and immediately ordered one for myself. This took some time for custom clearance and had to pay around Rs 700 as custom fee. Got the installation done from some local mechanic.
The one thing that I like the most about this touch screen is the option to add Favourites that you dial the most along with Contact Search. You can search the contacts from the dial screen just by typing their name in T9 Format. Search results will start appearing on the right.
Also you can connect multiple phones to it via Bluetooth and play songs from one while calling from another connected phone. This doesn’t comes with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay but has MirrorLink. I have seen the same model on Aliexpress with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay also. I think there is some firmware update available for this. Will update here if I found some more info on this.
Retrofitting Central Arm-Rest
An arm rest installation was always on my head. Tried a lot of local vendors and accessories shop, but couldn’t find the right arm rest for Polo. Then finally found one on Aliexpress and ordered it. The arm rest came within a week, installation was not simple and thus got it done from the same mechanic who installed the music system. Didn’t have to pay any custom fee on this one. Came through Fedex.
Link to Arm-rest (There is one available in leather trim also)
The armrest comes with a cup holder on the rear:
Needle sweep in action
Got VCDS cable and made some changes to the ECU. I think this is one of the most useful feature for VAG Cars. You can fine tune your car to suit your needs. More on VCDS on following link:
VCDS For VAG Cars
Future mods planned
VW Flip Camera: Thanks to graaja for posting the DIY on this. A camera installation was always on my mind and ordered this flip camera after reading the detailed DIY by graaja. Its already shipped and will reach in 3-4 days. Will post the results here once done.
VW U-Type Headlamps: Will get the headlamps swapped with the better looking U-Type headlamps soon. Most probably by the end of this year. Pictures will be posted here.
Automatic Headlamps: Will order this module for controlling headlights and adding the functionality of Coming and Leaving Home next month from Aliexpress.
Things I liked in the car:
- The way it drives. This was my top reason for buying it. Probably the cheapest - German Car we could get in India.
- The way the car is built. Sales guy also demonstrated that it is indeed built like a tank
- The amount of customisation that is possible in the car (weather functional, performance related or just aesthetics)
- Good highway performer with good (> 20 kmpl) mileage
Things I dislike about Polo:
- Heavy clutch makes it difficult if you are stuck in traffic for even few minutes
- Steering also doesn't feel very light especially when the car is at stand still
- Lack of basic features which are easily available in almost every other premium hatchback in Indian market
- Price of official accessories through VW showrooms even surpasses the word "Overpriced" by miles
- Loud diesel engine noise. Thankfully not much of it filters into the cabin
The car has to get checked at 7500 km which is free of cost. The service interval is at every 15000 km or 1 year. First service costed me around 10,000 INR excluding tyre alignment which would cost roughly around 700 INR if done from service centre.
Then at 22,500 kms, the car needs to be inspected again from the service centre. They will wash your car and check if everything is working fine. Engine oil level in my car turned out to be a little low in this inspection. They refilled the oil to recommended level without any fee. The whole inspection is free of cost.
Now I am waiting for my second service which will be due at 30,000 kms. I will post a detailed report for that here.
EDIT: Second Service Done- 30,000 KM
Yesterday I took the car for the second service at Lally Motors Hoshiarpur. Took them around 5 hours to finish a job that could be done in under half hour as it was not a busy day either for them. Only my car was due for service at that time and they had 3-4 mechanics free. But no they have to show their importance and make it look like they are rebuilding the car from ground up again.
The second service doesn't include changing any major parts. So engine oil is changed with 4.5 litres of fully synthetic one from Castrol along with cabin filter, oil filter, diesel filter and air filter. Although he mentioned that at 30,000 kms, we also change the engine oil drain bolt which is located at the bottom from where they drain the engine oil. Costs around Rs 130. Opted for tyre alignment from them this time. Last time I went to MRF Tyres & Service centre instead of getting the alignment from the service centre. MRF Tyre Care also have the same procedure for alignment and wheel balancing and you can easily save between Rs 200-300. The whole service costed me around Rs 11,300 for which I am attaching the bill below:
Few things worth mentioning:
I never leave my car un-attended especially at VW service station. One of my friend who owned a Polo from long time had advised me to do so. The service advisor will come to you and ask you to wait and sit at the reception and will say that you are not allowed to stand here and will give excuse like there are live cameras. Just ask them that I am not going to get my car serviced from you if I am not allowed to stay with the car.
Also one more thing, I got the car GermKleen'd from 3M Car Care just last week. It costed me around Rs 2,500 where they clean all the interiors of the car and make sure that the car look like new from the inside and is free of any dirt or germs. Just after getting this, the guy who was working on the wheel alignment and balancing, had his both hands fill with dirt from the tyres. But he was very inconsiderate in making sure that the dirt wont go on the steering wheel or gear lever even after me pointing him out. I am not a big "Germ Freak" kind of guy but this is truth that the tyres of Indian cars are really dirty. And if someone is working with the tyres without any gloves or something and then touches your car from inside; just doesn't sounds good.
And one more thing where I feel like I got a bit scammed is their AC Disinfection treatment. My first service at 15,000 KM mark was done from VW's Jalandhar service centre. After AC Disinfection treatment at first service, the car had very strong smell coming out from the AC for few hours which is obvious. But the service centre at Hoshiarpur charged me around more than Rs 800 and still there was not much smell which I failed to realise at that time. Now this makes me feel whether they even did it properly or not. Its better to go to 3M and get it done from them. They might even charge much less.
So who is this car for?
If you are someone who cares a lot about driving, build quality and the modifications, then this car deserves your garage. If you are someone who cares a lot about after-sales service, resale value etc, I might just suggest you to skip this one for now. Maybe go with a car that the masses buy. If you don't care about such things and all you want is a good product which surprises you every time you take it out for a highway run or hill station tour, then this one is definitely for you. After all, this is meant to be a driver's car!
A special thanks to my friend Jagan Mangat and Team-BHP for helping me a lot during this journey and inspiring me to be the car enthusiast I am today.
Last edited by Aditya : 19th April 2017 at 07:22. Reason: As requested
|17th April 2017, 08:05||#2|
Join Date: Feb 2004
Thanked: 23,388 Times
re: 1.5 years with a 1.5 TDI: VW Polo ownership review
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
|17th April 2017, 23:12||#3|
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: HR 06
Thanked: 170 Times
Re: 1.5 years with a 1.5 TDI: VW Polo ownership review
Hey Navdeep very well written and nicely supported by good pictures. You have been forthright!
Good car choice mate. Safety and robust build are really prominent pro of this car. It makes sense when we give top priority to safety, I rue the fact that so many cars with poor safety standards are on our roads. Polo GT TDI was also close contender when I was buying new car last year. I find it strange that highline variants in Polo are without projector HL.
Edit : Polo GT TDI comes with MT as far as I know.
Last edited by Sip : 17th April 2017 at 23:19. Reason: Additional point
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|18th April 2017, 10:45||#4|
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Navi Mumbai
Thanked: 12 Times
Re: 1.5 years with a 1.5 TDI: VW Polo ownership review
Nice review but I have a point to make - we call ourselves a responsible community so we should be refraining from making claims of when we started driving especially if it is as young as being in the 8th Standard. Also should be spreading this message as much as possible.
Guess when Mods are proof reading such content should be deleted.
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|18th April 2017, 11:15||#5|
Join Date: Mar 2017
Thanked: 66 Times
Re: 1.5 years with a 1.5 TDI: VW Polo ownership review
Thanks a lot for reading and pointing out something like this. I or anyone at Team-BHP doesn't encourage such activities.
Last edited by navdeep.rana : 18th April 2017 at 11:22.
|19th April 2017, 09:31||#6|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jun 2012
Thanked: 877 Times
Re: 1.5 years with a 1.5 TDI: VW Polo ownership review
Happy to see another Punjabi BHP on board! Not a lot many around.
Great thread with fantastic details. Do keep us posted on the Dealership and service experience. I'm a little wary of it since Lally motors has a monopoly over the whole Punjab region(though they did do a good job of Honda earlier).
|The following BHPian Thanks agambhandari for this useful post:|
|19th April 2017, 13:32||#7|
Join Date: Mar 2017
Thanked: 66 Times
Re: 1.5 years with a 1.5 TDI: VW Polo ownership review
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