Volkswagen Polo GTI
The Volkswagen Golf GTI has carved out its own place in automotive history, yet still retains an enormous appeal for discerning motorist. This ‘hot hatch’ is seen as the standard bearer of this niche sector, but Volkswagen have shown how eager they are to expand the range by giving the Polo the GTI treatment.
The first thing to bear in mind is that the market a GTI car is aimed at is one which prizes performance above most other things. That’s certainly true of the Polo because there are none of garish features which typify other cars in this class, such as over-sized spoilers, a huge exhaust or large wheels.
With the Polo GTI, it’s about what’s under the bonnet – and that’s a lot. This 180hp model may be small to look at, but it doesn’t half pack a punch – a bit like a really cheap car insurance quote.
Volkswagen have fitted the award-winning 1.4 litre Twincharge engine, placing the Polo very much ahead of the competition in that department. The supercharger is used for low rev torque and response, while for greater power and a quick zoom up the rev range, the turbo charger kicks into gear.
Interestingly, Volskwagen haven’t given drivers the option of a manual gearbox, which is often the ideal way to get the best out of a hot hatch. A seven-speed twin-cltuch DSG automatic gearbox is the only one up for grabs, but demand in the marketplace will be the real test of the manufacturer’s decision here.
The Polo GTI has eschewed the normally over-the-top look of a hot hatch, but still retains a sporty look with 17” alloys and tartan cloth sport seats.
Despite its compact size, the Polo GTI is available in three- and five-door options and boasts a solid-feeling interior. The cabin gives a real feeling of safety and all the switches and buttons are easily reached and well laid out.
But, as has been already mentioned, performance is of paramount importance in any GTI. For a start, this Polo packs a powerful punch and the 0-60mph in 6.9 sec only telling a small part of the story. The response of the engine, enhance by the supercharger, simply leaves rivals eating the Polo GTI’s dust.
VW Polo GTI – economical and practical
The automatic gearbox is economical and practical, especially when nipping about the city traffic, but it does deny you that feeling of supreme control that say a Renaultsport Clio would give.
Again, the handling lags a bit behind others in the class and things can a bit bumpy over less accommodating surfaces. Volskwagen seem to have piled a lot of their famed reliability and practicality into the Polo GTI, but it seems to have displaced much of the fun you’d expect from a hot hatch.
The steering is responsive, but doesn’t really beg you to push the car to the limit. However, GTI devotees will know that it’s not all about driving hard. In can be as much about cruising along before giving it some welly. In that respect, the Polo GTI ticks all the boxes, is pretty easy to handle and doesn’t ask you to do all the work. A bit like comparing cheap car insurance quotes.
You’ll also save money as the Polo GTI’s fuel economy and emission levels compare favourably to rivals in the sector. On a combined cycle, you’ll get 47.9mpg while CO2 emissions of 139g/km are relatively low.
Price is a little on the high side with the three-door model available at £18,790 and the five-door version setting you back £!9,410, both higher than the hot hatches offered by Seat and Renault.
However, considering the lower running costs, low levels of depreciation and Volkswagen’s celebrated reliability, the initial price doesn’t seem so prohibitive.
While the Polo GTI may lack the raw energy of many GTIs, it’s still a great drive and combines style and practicality well.