The year 2007 saw the entry of the Volkswagen brand into India. Initially the German car maker launched the Passat and the Jetta sedans here purposely to establish a strong premium brand presence. Their first car model specifically targeted for the masses was the Polo hatchback that was introduced here in 2009. It has been 10 glorious years for the Volkswagen Polo Hot Hatch in India, where it has seen the ups and downs with time in a market that is very difficult to understand. Volkswagen India is celebrating the 10th Birthday of the Polo. Let us take you down memory lane with the dynamic car that redefined the segment in many ways.
Volkswagen Polo was introduced in 1975 in Europe and other markets, and since then it has seen six generations. 14,000,000 Polo’s have been built by Volkswagen in the 44 years of its existence, and the hot hatch brand is still going strong globally. The very first Polo was actually a rebadged version of the Audi 50. The Polo has also shared its platform and engine options with the Skoda Fabia and Seat Ibiza from the VW family. The Polo has been manufactured as a hatchback, sedan and estate variants across the globe.
Here in India, the Polo has been seen in many different avatars. With the original hot hatch model, Volkswagen also introduced it as the GT versions, with the amazing performance oriented and fun to drive 1.2L TSI Turbo Petrol, mated to a slick DSG automatic transmission, along with the Cross Polo, both introduced in 2013. In 2017, the German car maker introduced the Polo GTI super hot hatch, which was easily the best and most powerful (192PS) version of the Polo that India saw, but also the costliest, as it was a full import CBU that was priced at Rs. 25.65 Lakh at launch. There also are the Black & White Edition and the ALLSTAR limited editions introduced with the Polo.
The Volkswagen Polo has set many benchmarks in terms of safety features in the segment, right since day one. The Polo comes with a driver as well as a passenger air bag across all the trims since its launch. The Polo is built with a special galvanized body that comes with a 6 year anti corrosion warranty. The Polo, irrespective of the trim or variant, has always come with a telescopic and tilt adjustable steering wheel. There are no trim badgings on the Polo, the car only sports the engine badge on it, either Petrol or Diesel. Height adjustable driver seat has always been on the equipment list of the Polo across the trims. Innovative lane changing indicators have been seen on all the Polos since day one. The doors of the Polo opens to 90 degrees and have the three level stopper on them which is very unique in its class. All the trims of the Polo come with rear fog lamps as standard. The Polo also comes with the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) that not many cars in its class come with. The roof of the Polo gets a special laser welding process to make it into a seamless one piece body part, unlike others where there is a joint covered with a plastic strip cover. Not forgetting that the Polo was the 1st Indian car to receive a 4-star NCAP safety rating in 2014.
The Volkswagen Polo in India has also seen a wide range of engines powering it since 2009. Engines used on the Polo include the 1.2 MPI (75PS) , 1.6 MPI (105PS), 1.2 TSI (105PS), 1.0MPI (76PS), 1.8TSI (192PS), 1.2 TDI (75PS) and the 1.5 TDI (105PS) along the years.
The Polo has also seen a special place at Volkswagen Motorsports as their first racecar being the 1.6L Turbo Charged engine car that produced 130HP along with high torque. Later, the Race Polos got the more powerful 1.4L TSI engine with super charger. The 180HP engine was mated to a 6-speed sequential DQ 250 automatic transmission, making it the first touring race car in Indian Motorsport to use paddle gear shifters.
In the last 10 years, the Volkswagen Polo has established itself as one of the best, safest and fun to drive car in its class. As per Volkswagen, nearly 45 percent of first time car buyers have a strong preference towards the GT TSI variant, and 31 percent of women prefer buying a Volkswagen Polo over the others in this segment owing to its durability, build quality, safety and fun-to-drive experience. Here’s wishing the Volkswagen Polo a very happy 10th birthday and a glorious time ahead.