Coming up with a title for this article was an impossible task until I listened to 'The New Kid in Town' by the Eagles and voila! There it was, the title for this article, now let me explain to you why the new Polo GTI fits that song. For years, the Polo GTI has lived in the shadow of the Golf. It was let down by a weak engine, dull styling and what not but that isn't the case with this new GTI because all the wrongs have been righted.
Sharp on the outside
FINALLY! The Polo GTI has a striking look to prove that it really has grown up from the lackluster GTI we once knew. The body of the Polo has strong lines flowing down both sides and they lead into the GTI badge on the sides. The front gets red GTI trim that runs through the headlights just like on the MK7 Golf GTI and the rear has a discrete spoiler along with a twin exhaust which produces a lovely raspy exhaust note. It's almost like channeling Bryan Adams' voice through the exhaust, music to my ears!
Whatever you do, don't turn the traction control off!
I partnered with my friend Dave McLeod (fellow DriveTriber) for this review and he really pushed the Polo GTI to its limits. The Polo coped just fine while the traction control was on, so well in fact that it took a 55 corner at 100kph without breaking a sweat! However, turn the traction control off and it's a whole different beast, it even lost grip around a roundabout. So if you do want to push the car hard while going around corners, make sure the traction control is ON! For the first time, the Polo has the same 2L engine as the Golf but with a little less power just to maintain the hierarchy.
Driver focused on the inside
It isn't your conventional VW interior, the central tunnel leans towards the driver so that everything is within reach for when you need to adjust the suspension etc on the go. It's got those stereotypical GTI features that we've come to love, a tartan pattern on the seats, a flat bottom steering wheel with a GTI logo on the bottom, brushed aluminium pedals and red stitching as far as the eye can see! Being a Polo, the rear is quite cramped. I'm just under 6 feet and I struggled to get in and out of the back when the front seat was set for my height. You could see that as a downside but I think that's VW's way of saying, it's a driver focused car so the front is where you need to be!
The striking lines of the GTI. Credit- Matthew D'souza
Honestly, it's bloody brilliant in every way and for $39,000 NZD, it's a bargain as well! However, just like the song says- "They will never forget you till somebody new comes along", it's the same story with the Polo. By the time the next Golf GTI is released, this Polo will be nothing more than a fond memory.
Brilliant in every way but not special enough to be desirable in 10 years time.
Thanks for reading! Hope you learnt something new about the Polo.
To watch Dave's review, click the link below-
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All the pictures used in this article belong to Matthew D'souza.