First Drive Review – 2014 VW Polo facelift 1.5L Diesel

Anjan

Anjan Ravi, I'm a true-blooded petrolhead. Hope you enjoy our news stories, launch coverages, motorshow coverages and test drive reports.

The last time VW facelifted the Polo in 2012, changes were skin deep. Blackened out headlights, a new gear knob, a more functional music system and redesigned alloy wheels were the summary of changes VW India made to its bread winner.

This time though, changes are more comprehensive and even include a new diesel engine. Here’s a very short and quick first drive report of the 2014 Polo with the 1.5-liter diesel engine.

Exteriors:

2014 VW Polo facelift first drive front quarter
Small design revisions give the Polo a bolder stance.

New bumpers, new foglight enclosures with cornering lights, a single-slat chrome grille, new headlights with dual barrel lamps and redesigned alloys give the Polo a much bolder look. Changes may not seem apparent when viewing the car, but compare it to the previous model and you’ll find the 2014 Polo more attractive and fresher.

No changes have been made dimensionally, to the tires or the ground clearance.

Interiors:

In the driver’s seat, you’re in for a treat. The new 3-spoke multifunction steering wheel with a flat bottom feels superb and looks extremely premium. Even the Jetta’s steering wheel looks a bit sober compared to the new Polo’s texturized unit.

2014 VW Polo facelift first drive steering
The new steering wheel is the highlight of the interior.

Then comes the redone multifunction display which gets white, clear-to-read fonts. The Polo no longer displays instantaneous fuel economy, but the display gives out the engine temperature reading instead.

The silver inserts on the center console may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, but the quality of these inserts is pretty good. The rest of the dashboard is unchanged. At the rear, the headrests get a new L-shape design and as a result, the rear view from the driver’s seat is better.

To summarize, the Polo facelift retains the high quality interior of its predecessor, but with a new upmarket steering wheel and silver inserts, it manages to look fresher.

Features:

2014 VW Polo facelift first drive voice command
The Polo now gets voice recognition.

The top-end Polo diesel comes with ABS, EBD, dual airbags, foglights, cornering lights, alloy wheels, steering mounted controls, Bluetooth and climate control. Voice recognition is a new feature introduced on the Polo, but we couldn’t test out the system on our short drive.

Engine and Gearbox:

The new Polo diesel is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder motor producing 90 PS (88.73 bhp) at 4,200 rpm and 230 Nm of torque between 1,500 – 2,500 rpm. The gearbox is a 5-speed manual unit.

2014 VW Polo facelift first drive engine
The new engine makes 90 PS and 230 Nm of torque.

Start the engine and it becomes immediately apparent that VW have improved the NVH package of the car and the engine. Occupants seated inside hear fewer decibels of the four-cylinder engine (compared to the earlier three-cylinder 1.2L), and even on the outside, the new engine sheds the diesel clatter that blemished the outgoing car’s driving experience.

On the move, the engine first impresses you with its low-speed torque. Even the previous 1.2L engine scored well on the drivability front, but the 1.5L engine seems more eager. Next, you appreciate the free revving nature of this engine which wastes no time in revving to 5,000 rpm should you put your foot down. And the motor does all this smoothly, which is what really sets it apart from the older engine.

2014 VW Polo facelift first drive
The new engine is an improvement over the older 1.2L in all aspects.

Finally, and most importantly, is the power. The 1.5L engine pulls the Polo in a manner similar to the 1.6L GT TDI. From 1,750 – 4,500 rpm, it would be hard to tell the 1.5L and 1.6L engines apart. 0-100 km/h should take about 14 seconds if not quicker. Performance levels are vastly improved compared to the 1.2L and the new Polo, even in this 90 PS tune (there will be a more powerful 105 PS GT TDI variant from September) has more than enough grunt for city and highway drives. Our short drive left us with the impression that the new Polo’s engine is a jack of all trades and master of all.

The clutch and gearbox operation feel the same as before. Also, the Ride and Handling and Brakes and Safety sections are similar to the outgoing Polo, with ABS and EBD offered on all but the basic variant. Dual front airbags are however standard.

Fuel Efficiency:

2014 VW Polo facelift first drive efficiency
On our short drive, we recorded a mileage of 12.2 kmpl.

VW claims the new Polo’s engine will do 20.14 km/l in the ARAI tests. In our short city drive the car returned 12.2 km/l, and the figure of 20+ km/l should be possible on the highways.

Prices:

The Polo diesel is priced between INR 6.27 – 7.37 lakhs, ex-Showroom, New Delhi.

Verdict:

In comparison to the previous Polo, the 2014 model is a marked improvement aesthetically and mechanically. And when compared to rivals, the Polo now puts up a much better fight than before. The interiors feel the part of a German brand, the features list has nearly everything covered and the engine betters or matches its Japanese and Korean counterparts in terms of power and NVH.

2014 VW Polo facelift first drive rear
The Polo is an all-rounder, but a slew of premium hatchbacks are to launch this festive season.

Priced from INR 6.27 lakhs, even the base Polo gets dual airbags as standard. While we recommend the 2014 Polo over its competitors, the premium hatchback scene in India is set to witness a slew of new launches such as the refreshed Punto Evo, the new Hyundai i20, the Honda Jazz, the Tata Bolt and the facelifted Swift. Buyers in this segment would want to wait for the new launches before signing the cheque.

2014 VW Polo 1.5L Diesel – What is new

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2014 VW Polo 1.5L Diesel – Image Gallery

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