Sold my XUV500 and bought a used Polo: 6-month ownership review

No complaints about the ride quality, however, the Polo isn’t able to absorb bumps as smoothly as the XUV which is quite understandable.

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A few months ago, I made a post asking for help regarding which car I should buy after I sold my XUV500 due to its high maintenance. I preferred a German car but everyone tried their best to convince me out of it. They failed and here I am writing a review of my Volkswagen Polo.

It’s a 2013 Highline which runs on a sweet-scented propellant that is petrol. The night blue color [that’s what Volkswagen likes to call it] looks royal and is a pretty rare color in Polos. I prefer it over the famous red and white Polo colors. It has been around 6 months since I bought it and here are my thoughts:

Polos are effortlessly elegant, regardless of the color. However, when the Polo owners decide to modify it, most of the time they end up making it look aggressive rather than elegant. However, this car oozes an understated charm that very few vehicles in the segment can match. That being said, there is one bit of the exterior that I’m not so fond of.

For example, the pre-2015 Polos came with a very cheap and ugly-looking front bumper. The lower grill, to be precise, does not match the Polo’s otherwise charismatic look. Luckily, the designers shared that opinion with me and replaced that lower grill in the future models in the next facelift.

The cuts and creases are designed to perfection, a tad more aggressive approach and you would call the car vulgar. The alloy design matches the Polo’s character. The Polo has aged like a wine if you ignore the lower grill. It doesn’t look out of place even today and I don’t think it will in the near future either.

If you look at the current generation of cars, you will notice the cars try too hard to stand out. The high stance, weird and quirky lights, and aggressive creases of the modern hatchbacks make me wonder about how they will age. The designers of the Polo have done an astounding job on its design and deserved a raise for the design. Or maybe it is just me who thinks it is more gorgeous than it actually is just because it is my car now.


This is where things go a bit south for the Polo. Let’s get the few good things about the interior out of the way. The dashboard design is effortless and is sorted out in a very Germanic manner. The instrument cluster is quite straightforward as well, 2 round dials with a puny screen between the dials which gives you all the info about the fuel consumption etc.
The designers must have decided to use as little imagination as possible. I don’t mind it really but I won’t be surprised if others would find it dreary. I adore the “no-nonsense” approach Volkswagen has taken while building the car.

Unfortunately, the Germans forgot to use the approach while constructing the backseats. The room on offer is nonsensical. I had more headroom and legroom in the 3rd row of the XUV500. A Wagon R from the same era seems like a Maybach compared to the Polo, in terms of rear space. It’s almost like Volkswagen had some kind of a personal grudge against the rear passengers while creating the car. You would expect the Germans to add some features at the rear to compensate for the rear space, but you would be wrong. The electric-powered windows are the only luxuries the rear passengers deserve, is what the workers at Volkswagen thought at the time.

Due to the gigantic transmission hump, no human with working legs would be physically able to sit in the middle at the rear. Thus you can understand why they did not give a center headrest however they couldn’t be bothered to provide a center armrest either.

For a 2013 car, it is well-loaded in terms of features. Climate control, Bluetooth and a few other features which would be considered mandatory on new cars are present. Shockingly, it lacks a reverse parking camera and a touchscreen. I have completely forgotten about the market of cars in 2013, and thus maybe comparing the car to my previous 2013 XUV500, which was a few segments above it. I don’t have a memory strong enough to remember whether cars from that era came with the features that I am currently moaning about.

I have got to admit, that simple speedometer looks gorgeous when lit. The car does not need unnecessary accessories, like fake wood and weird creases to make the interior and exterior look beautiful.


Team bhp users had warned me about this factor. I was told that the car would not help my maintenance woes. I came across an issue just 2 weeks into ownership. The car used to shudder nervously every time you put it in reverse gear.

The digital screen shows that the car is giving an atrocious mileage of 7-12 kmpl, at first I thought there was an issue with the computer or the display, only to realize the car actually had that low mileage. The rear left electric window switch didn’t work either.

I got the issues checked with my nearest VW service center and they suggested a clutch replacement. Clutch replacements are expected to be expensive, but not 30K expensive. At least that is what the service center quoted us. One of the only reasons we decided to withdraw our booking from a 2014 Polo GT was due to its inevitable and expensive DSG gearbox issues. And if the Highline gave us a bill of 30K plus in its first service, the future didn’t seem very promising.

There was no way on God’s green earth that we were paying 30K already. So we took a second opinion from our local service guy, who quoted us a cost of 9K. In hindsight, I think we made the correct decision. Only the future will tell us how big of a hole this decision will make in my pockets.

Since the initial service, the car has not brought up a single issue.

Driving experience

For an engine which barely produces 80 bhp, it is a pretty lively engine. It doesn’t struggle in the early gears, but as you upshift, you can feel the lack of power. It may not be the highway cruiser, but definitely is more than capable of overcoming most everyday city problems [the only problem it can’t overcome is the low mileage]. The engine does need more refinement, or maybe I just feel the lack of refinement due to the damaged insulation in the engine bay.

Even if you redline 2nd and shift to 3rd, you barely notice any further acceleration. Until you look at the speedo, you wouldn’t realize that the car is actually supposed to be accelerating, even after completely following the accelerator pedal.

The chassis of the German makes it stand out. It may not have a powerful inline 4 to power the vehicle ahead, but you can sense the rallying pedigree of the car when you take it out for a spin. The steering is perfectly weighted for city manoeuvrability.

The gear shifts are as smooth as butter and the sheer satisfaction of shifting gears manually couldn’t be felt if I had gone for the Polo GT. The clutch replacement had certainly gone well. However, the gear shifts in the XUV still felt easier and smoother.

No complaints about the ride quality, however, the Polo isn’t able to absorb bumps as smoothly as an XUV which is quite understandable. It is quite pointless to compare the XUV to the Polo. XUV is in a different league altogether, but still, I couldn’t help but notice all these minor differences.

Due to its compact size, manoeuvrability is the least of the Polo’s worries. The light throw from the headlights is quite dreadful. No wonder, most polo owners decide to opt for aftermarket headlights.

It is quite puzzling to understand how on earth did Volkswagen manage to achieve a fuel efficiency of less than 13 kmpl and yet only produced 74 bhp and 110 Nm of torque. That 1.2L 3-cylinder is an extremely questionable choice. Neither do you get performance nor do you get efficiency. But the other factors of the Polo certainly make up for that engine.


[Ignore the scratches, it’s due to some clumsy driving]

I love this little blue machine. You won’t be able to find one thing it is perfect at, but still, it has a different sort of character. If you treat it as a machine, you will make a mile-long list of flaws. But if you treat it as the loveable little creature that it is, you will instantly forget all these minor faults. I may have groaned about some of its flaws above, but that is because I’m trying to be as unbiased as possible in this review. If you talk to me, in person, and list the same issues I have mentioned here, I will argue and call these flaws irrelevant until I have won the argument.

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