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Volkswagen Polo GTI (2011)

by John Ewing,reviewed August 2011

Put the VW and GTi monikers together and the excellent Golf GTi will probably be the top-of-mind thought for many.
But the latest incarnation of the Polo GTi deserves equal billing. After all, it shares a number of technical features and the fundamental GTi philosophy with its more expensive sibling.

Around $14,000 cheaper than a Golf GTi, it’s well worth consideration by those after an entertaining drive. It’s Golf’s smaller sibling, but interestingly our measurements show cabin occupant space is little different. Golf shades it for load space in the hatch area though.

Polo GTi’s twin-charger engine, which uses a combination of supercharging and a turbo, offers plenty of grunt and go with frugal fuel use and reduced emissions. It never lacks for an urgent response, despite its diminutive 1390 cc capacity, and the standard seven-speed DSG gearbox (there’s no manual) shifts swiftly, even when forced at wide-open throttle to shuffle back multiple ratios. Naturally, there’s a manual and a sports mode too.

The chassis has a nimble poised feel, there’s good grip from the 40 series rubber and the steering is nicely linear and suitably sharp. Brakes are progressive and efficiently retard progress when requested. The sports suspension is 15 mm lower than the standard Polo.

The front sports seats are comfortable, supportive and nicely bolstered though lumbar adjustment and cushion tilt would have been welcome.
Volkswagen Polo GTI 2011

For

Performance, handling

Against

Tyre noise, no cushion tilt or lumbar adjustment, spacesaver spare

Key features

Airconditioning, sports suspension, 17” alloys, tyre pressure monitoring, cruise control, sports seats, leather bound steering wheel and gear-shifter, MP3 compatible CD, fog lights, heated power mirrors

Safety

Dual front/side/curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), emergency brake assist (EBA), electronic stability control (ESC), traction control (TCS), electronic differential lock, hill-start assist, front seatbelt pre-tensioners and force limiters, daytime running lights

Car Details

Vehicle make Volkswagen
Vehicle model Polo GTI
Vehicle type Light Over $20,000
Year 2011
Price when new $28,990 (5-door) $27,790 (3-door) MLP
Current price range $ - $
ANCAP crash rating
5 out of 5 stars
Insurance

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Technical advice

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Engine 1.4-litre, twin-charger, direct injection petrol, 4-cyl
Max power 132 kW @ 6200 rpm
Max torque 250 Nm @ 2000-4500 rpm
Acceleration to 100 km/h 8.2 sec. (as tested)
Braking from 80 km/h 22.6 m (as tested)
Fuel type 98 RON
Economy ADR 6.1 litres/100 km
Emissions rating
4 out of 5 stars

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This review is based on road testing conducted by The Road Ahead. Further vehicle reviews, in-depth comparisons and coverage of consumer motoring issues can be found in the Club's magazine. Prices listed were current at the time of review and are manufacturers list prices and do not include statutory and delivery charges. Prices can vary from time to time and dealer to dealer.