Volkswagen Polo 1.0L TSI Showing the Way For Downsizing Done Well

Volkswagen Polo 1.0L TSI Showing the Way For Downsizing Done Well

First Drive Review Volkswagen Polo 1.0L TSI Showing Way Downsizing

Here is a tech-focussed first drive report of the new Volkswagen Polo 1.0L TSI

The polo hatchback has been a top-selling model in the product portfolio of Volkswagen India, and continues to do so. The car has continued to hold the mantle for VW with being upgraded with a new generation in the country ever since its launch. In the latest version to be introduced, the Volkswagen Polo has been offered with a brand new BS 6-compliant Turbo Stratified Injection (TSI) petrol engine. Besides the new powertrain, a few other aspects of the car have been refreshed in the Polo, which is now only available in petrol version.

We were provided the new Volkswagen Polo 1.0L TSI for a few hours, to experience the latest avatar of this hatchback, which has been tuned to enable a cleaner driving experience. It also features subtle changes to the exteriors and interiors that retain the true essence of the Polo, combined with a few tweaks and restyled elements.


The most important of all changes in new Volkswagen Polo TSI is the powertrain, which is a 999 cc, in-line three-cylinder TSI petrol engine that is turbocharged and BS 6-compliant. The engine develops a maximum power of 108 hp from 5,000-5,500 rpm, with peak torque of 175 Nm between 1,750 and 4,000 hp. The engine is mated to a new six-speed manual transmission, and is claimed to offer fuel efficiency of 18.24 km/l.

The first presumption to the downsized engine would be that the vehicle lacks the power to carry it around. However, much to the disagreement of the previous assumption, the car does not feel over-burdened by the smaller capacity 1 l engine in city runs, which probably do not even reach engine speeds that spool the turbocharger. Talking about the TSI engine, there is a decent amount of wait before the turbocharger offers its gush of power at around 2,000 rpm. The car does not feel sluggish below 2,000 rpm, but definitely feels much more agile post that engine speed.

The turbocharger in this three-pot engine enables the car to reach 100 km/h without any challenge, and enables the car to cruise around that speed in sixth gear at 2,500-3,000 rpm. This is what will ensure the car to keep close to the high fuel economy figure that it claims to offer. We did not have the car long enough to do justice to the recording of the average return on fuel. However, the car begins to gasp for breath beyond 135 km/h on quick speed-ups. However, this may not be the case on highways, which provide more tarmac to attain higher speeds safely.

The Polo 1.0L TSI has a raspy engine note due to the three-cylinder format, which creeps into the cabin up to an acceptable limit. The transmission is a new, six-speed unit, which has been tuned to offer longer hold in each gear. This also means that the driver needs to cut down to lower gears to navigate a reduction in speed to be able to make the car move along swiftly. At certain times, one will have to play with the throttle and clutch if a low speed wants to be achieved at a higher gear. The clutch on the car we drove was a tad bit on the heavy side, but it seems to offer the correct amount of pedal feel to smooth manoeuvring of the vehicle through the gears. The sixth gear can be reserved for highway driving alone, since the optimum usage of this gear cannot be achieved on city roads.

The Polo TSI comes with Electronic Power Steering (CEPS), and for suspension features McPherson struts with stabiliser bar up front with semi-independent trailing arms at the rear. The car is shod with 6Jx16-inch alloy wheels wrapped with 195/55 R16 87H tyres. The suspension setup in the car has been tuned aptly for Indian road conditions, offering the magical balance between a supple ride, along with adequate grip to attack corners aggressively. The 195 section tyres combined with a well-weighted steering offer very decent levels of feedback to the driver, which is something that VW owners would presumably expect!


The new Volkswagen Polo 1.0L TSI continues to feature the exact same dimensions as the previous versions. The front-end now features honeycomb design on the main grill, as well as the one running on the lower part of the bumper. The grill features the ‘VW’ badge boldly, with a single chrome garnish to the bottom, giving it a clean finish. The car now comes with slim skirting right around the car, running across the body side under the running boards, and culminates in the rear bumper. The skirts on the rear bumper flow into a faux diffuser that is present on the bottom of the bumper. In addition, the car is offered with alloy wheels in gray colour, which gel well with the overall sporty visual appeal of the Polo.

Inside, the Polo TSI features an all-black interior, with highlights of brushed silver for the air-conditioning vent surrounds and door levers, and a glossy-gray outlay for the centre console. The car comes with a sporty, leather-upholstered flat-bottom steering wheel with multi-functionality to manage radio, music and phone, as well as voice controls. The steering wheel is of appropriate size and thickness, with grooves that enable ergonomic control of the car. Behind the steering wheel is the simple, yet informative instrument cluster that has the largest dials – speedometer and tachometer in analogue form. In between these meters is the multi-information display providing the driver with all the data required for smooth driving of the vehicle.


The Polo continues to be a safe car, like it has always been featuring dual front airbags and ABS as standard. The car is constructed with a galvanised steel body that is enclosed by a laser-welded roof to be as safe as possible. This quality of build is also evident with the entire exterior showing very neat shut lines, while the plastics and panels fitting just right across the interior of the car.

The car is offered with convenience features, one of the most important of them being the cruise control that can be selected with the help of the buttons placed on the turn indicator stock. It is easy to turn on and use, thereby helping the driver to maintain a steady speed on highway travels. Other features include automatic rain-sensing windshield wipers, auto-dimming inside rear-view mirror, Climatronic automatic air-conditioning with rear AC vent, and voice commands to send messages, make calls and play music.

The scratch-resistant dashboard of the Polo 1.0L TSI houses a touch-screen infotainment system that is simple to use and intuitive in nature. The touch function is also just right to enable easy usage while on the move as well. The infotainment system offers multi-media connectivity, with smartphone pairing. The clarity of sound whether it is in the case of music or phone calls is of top quality.


The new Volkswagen Polo 1.0L TSI is offered only in the Highline Plus trim, which is priced from Rs 8.02 lakh onward, ex-showroom. This car has been offered by VW to address the BS 6 emission standards, while also offering a reasonable rate of fuel economy. Downsizing of engines, together with forced induction is the route that OEMs are seen to be taking to achieve the balance between reduced emissions and increased powertrain efficiency, and the Polo 1.0L TSI seems to have achieved this goal to the nearest point as it reasonably can.

TEXT & PHOTO: Naveen Arul