GOOD FOR: Performance, build quality
LOOK OUT FOR: Faulty gearbox, worn-out ABS sensors
Back in 2013, Volkswagen gifted driving enthusiasts of the country a hot version of the regular Polo. Dubbed the GT TSI, this wasn’t any ordinary update with racy stickers and loud paint schemes. It had a new turbocharged petrol engine with a significant bump in power, and what further sweetened the deal was the inclusion of the fantastic seven-speed DSG. This made the Polo a rather irresistible package for those who wanted oomph along with the practicality of a hatchback. The GT was available in only one top trim ‘Highline’, and its high asking price was surprisingly overlooked by the many who bought it thanks to the bulletproof reliability of the brand, the positive verdicts from almost all car gurus and the decent features list.
The GT got a mild makeover a year later in 2014, wherein certain changes were made to the exterior and the features list to keep it fresh. Since then, there have been few to challenge the Polo GT TSI. This might all be great but this strong reputation translates into a high resale value. While that is great for the owner, as a buyer, it’s not something you want. Owners are well aware of the value, and set the asking prices at outrageous amounts. Still, if you scavenge patiently, you can find examples for as low as Rs 4.90 lakh. Yes, these are rare and examples with lower odometer readings are more expensive, with a price tag around the Rs 6 lakh mark. However, that isn’t too bad when you consider that the initial asking price of the car was as high as Rs 9.19 lakh just four years ago. So, what should you look out for if you manage to find one in your budget?
For starters, there is the gearbox. Known to fail quite often, the mechatronics system that controls the gearbox is one of the most expensive problems on the GT TSI and it costs nearly Rs 1 lakh to replace. One of the reasons for failure is poor maintenance – lack of sufficient oil in the gearbox. So, while on a test drive, check if the gearbox shifts smoothly and without any harsh sounds. Also, check the responsiveness. And if you sense any kind of problem or are in doubt, walk away from the deal. Also, there have been reports of the ABS sensor failing. If the car has the ABS warning sign on, you might want to have an expert check that out. Lastly, look for cosmetic damage too, as the Polo isn’t really cheap when it comes to spare parts. Fixing broken air vents, for example, cost Rs 400 a piece, and that’s before labour. It’s the same story when it comes to annual maintenance. A service every 15,000km will set you back by Rs 10,000, which is reasonable, unless you run into some problems which could see the cost skyrocket. However, if you do snag a good deal, the GT TSI is a very very rewarding car, especially if you’re a keen driver.
HOW TO GET ONE IN YOUR GARAGE
Buyer beware …
If not serviced properly and topped up with oil, the gearbox tends to fail. As it cannot be repaired, you’ll have to replace it. A new one costs almost Rs 1 lakh.
Owners have complained about the ABS sensors failing. If you see a warning sign on the instrument cluster, have an expert check it out. A new sensor will set you back by Rs 4,000 a piece.
Surprisingly flimsy and low on quality, the AC vents are a weak point of the Polo. They are known to break easily and replacing them will cost Rs 400 each.
Also worth knowing
Check the service history and see if the fluids have been topped up on schedule. Also, check the condition of the tyres and suspension as it’s an enthusiast car that’s likely to have been driven in a spirited manner.
How much to spend
Rs 6-6.5 lakh
The GT TSI is the car for an enthusiast, which means if there is one on sale, the owner knows exactly how much it’s worth. However, if you see any of the aforementioned problems or other issues, you can haggle over the price by bringing in the topic of parts and repair costs. Examples that have covered over 50,000km should be available for not more than Rs 6.5 lakh. Pay more than that only if the car is the facelift that came in 2014, or if the mileage is really low. Even then, Rs 7.5 lakh should be the maximum you pay.
|Price when new||From Rs 9.19 lakh|
|Engine||1197cc, 4 cyls|