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Polo vs i20 Test drive performance

By Kuntal Desai on 20 April 2012

Dear friends,
VW polo is among the best looking cars around town, but has this car got what it takes to turn the tables? lets find out.

I've been on a car hunt for about 2 months now. I test drove the old i20 (one before igen i20) and was not really satisfied with it. Somehow I could compare the i20's acceleration with my 4 year old Santro xing. ( no offence i20 owners). Since the new igen i20's review has not been any different from its younger sibling the same can be said of both the cars.
Something about the i20 did not make me smile, it was obvious that the car is meant for commute rather than performance.

I test drove the i20 sportz, full points on its features but when it comes to acceleration its not just at par. You could feel that the car is dragging all those extra kilos. I was accompanied by a sales rep and their driver. Initially the driver was trying hard to rev the car and make it accelerate than its capacity (evident by looking at the rpm), but that was actually working against him since the car was making noise (but obvious).

One who had test driven the car would agree on this, the obvious power lag on the 1.2 kappa. I was one of the lucky few who got to use the vehicle on a stretch and curves. The body roll is on a higher side compared to a Polo, which is a very well planted car. The body roll could lose drivers confidence at higher speed, its more prominent once you hit the 90kmph mark. One more thing which I am sure you all would like to know is the dash board goes so deep that it was constantly hitting my left foot each time I release the clutch, after a 30 min td it was hurting bad. I'm just 5.9 tall so one should really look into that at the time of td.

Considering the premium price, Hyundai could have done better in tackling these issues. On the other hand the VW Polo outshines in sheer performance. No comparison with i20's features and rear leg room though.

The Polo has the best front seat comfort, it will hold you tight with adequate support for your sides. Rear seat is not all that bad but not comparable to i20. If you are less than 5.10 and are someone who likes perfect riding position and not reclined (like most youth) than the rear seat passengers should not have a problem.

The moment you look at the Polo, you are impressed with its bold and typical German stance, and that does not stop when you enter the car. The interiors are top notch, feels a segment above. Once you are inside you will forget that you are in a hatch. The feel the material and the finish is all supreme. I am not afraid to say the best in the segment. You would find such fit and finish in a premium sedan.

As excited as a 10 year old boy, who is looking at his first bicycle, I cranked the German beauty. It was smooth, with no cabin noise. Well before I mention anything about that, lets clarify one thing, its a refined engine and does make a little noise, only realised when I opened the hood,not like a diesel car though.

The car is way superior in acceleration than i20, its fast and its planted. Yes I know the car has a 3 cylinder engine, but that does not make a difference once you are riding, since you will not feel it. The car's best performance is observed above 2k rpm, it shoots like a bullet from a double barrel. At 95 kmph, I did not realise any body roll and the car marched ahead only improving drivers confidence at higher speeds ( a must on highways while cornering). The vibration level inside the cabin was zero, nothing on the gear or steering.

You would feel the lack of power at first especially below 1.8k rpm but beyond that its just pleasure. Inspite of that it is better than i20. Steering wheel is razor sharp responsive, and if you appreciate quality, the meaty wheel will not go unnoticed. Well I'm not sure about the polo's mileage, but I was very practical with my critical review with the sales rep and he did not want to fool around and give an unbelievable figure so he was practical enough and gave me a figure of 12 in the city and 15-16 on open roads.

I know my maruti friends would not be very happy with that figure but I think its all worth, considering the ride and build quality, comfort, and performance (if you can let go that little noise)

Reports suggest the VW Polo can reach the 3 figure mark in 14.2 seconds and I think its a rightful claim. One more observation I would like to put forth is that, my td vehicle was a 2010 make and had done 16700 kms, but the performance was right on par. And in much sense better than a 2011 sportz i20, which had done 10,000kms and was squeaking from the boot. Another example of superior built quality.

In my opinion if you are planning to buy a premium hatch, its worth taking a td of vw polo.

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