A new engine offering petrol performance with diesel economy, does it even exist? Look no further than this sporty little Polo 1.2 TSI.
Photos: Kel Tay
Car ownership ain't exactly that cheap these days, especially when it comes to fuel. And for anyone in the market for a fuel efficient car that one can drive with a bit of zest, a smaller capacity engine equipped with a turbo charged application might just be the right car for you. For those young executives with a small family, this car might just be the perfect family transporter to start with. Though the Polo is not as exciting in looks compared to some other Japanese hatch backs nor as stylish as the other continental ones or even its own sibling the Golf 1.2 TSI, the Polo Sport comes as a rational buy for the down to earth and practical. To be fair, the new Polo looks way better than the previous one, though I feel it should retain the round tail lamps of old.
However, if there’s any comment to be made on the exterior of the new fifth generation Polo, it does come with some lineage pretensions, its silhouette resembling a Golf from afar. It sports the same chunky dimensions as its older sibling with the same staid looking roof line. Product differentiation wise, there are still some elements that separate the Polo from the Golf such as the rear lights and a sportier looking front bumper.
Interior wise, this is where Volkswagen's German workmanship excels at. Being a bona fide Volkswagen no less, the Polo's interior gives one the feel of excellent fit and finish with some thought given when designing it. The whole setup though simple doesn't feel cheap, with lush material all round and alloy trim found in the right places such as the gear lever, steering wheel and control knobs.
So how does the car drive then? With fuel prices on the rise, this is one mint engine that offers petrol performance with diesel economy, when fuel consumption is concerned. Popping the bonnet, you can see Volkswagen's highly efficient and torquey 1.2 TSI engine. Even though the car doesn't really drive like a hot hatch, it is adequately zippy and runs nicely, all thanks to its smooth shifting seven-speed DSG. With 105 bhp and 175 Nm worth of torque, the Polo Sport pulls off nicely at very low revs which helps aid in fuel economy. Also, the very fact that this new 1.2 TSI engine is 24.5 kilograms lighter than the more powerful 122 bhp 1.4 TSI also helps the car drive better as well as save fuel.
On the move, the Polo Sport drives ably with nary a hint of lag. The car's NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) is relatively low as the suspension absorbs the hustle and bustle of the tarmac in its stride without breaking a sweat. Going from nought to 100 is a good 9.7 seconds, which is far from hot hatch territory, but one has to bear in mind that this is a 1.2 litre engine not some GTI or R car. At low speed the Polo Sport's ride is pliant on uneven surfaces, but I won't recommend pushing the car round the bends as the handling gets relatively light due to electric steering. When driving dynamics is concerned, the car may be a Polo Sport, but the Sport suffix is meant to represent the 1.2 TSI as a zippier engine compared to the naturally aspirated Polo 1.4. A tarmac bruiser set to sports mode its not. As for speed retardation, the brakes are sufficient enough with great initial bite, and tapers off nicely at the end.
Already leading industry experts have dubbed the Volkswagen Polo to be the 2010 Car of the Year in the B segment as it won a close contest against the Toyota iQ with a mere ten points (347 to 337), separating the two. And it comes as no surprise for this fifth generation Polo is indeed a well thought of and well made car that is suitable for young executives with a small family in tow. And it gets even better with this 1.2 TSI Sport variant.