Polo vs Elite i20 Comparison Review

Updated on: Jan 05, 2016
Hyundai Elite i20 vs Volkswagen Polo Comparison Review:


"Beware of the GT TSI's dual clutch gearbox, which has acquired the dubious distinction of packing up beyond repair in innumerable cases. Volkswagen's dealers are also not as well disciplined as Hyundai's, thanks to the Korean habit of obsessive micro-management and a vice-like grip over dealership operations."
Pricing & Features Comparison:  
Polo’s range-topping variant, the ‘Highline-petrol’, retails for 7.8 Lakh Rs. on road Delhi. Elite i20's most popular 'Sportz' variant, retails for 7.5 Lakh Rs, making it 30,000 Rs. cheaper than the Polo.

But for that 10,000 Rs. extra, the Polo Highline offers features worth over 1 Lakh Rs. compared to the Jazz SV, like Parking Sensors, Automatic Climate Control, Rear Wash-Wipe, Electrically Folding Mirrors, Alloy Wheels, Cornering Lamps, Auto Dimming Inside Mirror, Navigation, Mirror Link, Cruise Control, Rain Sensing Wipers, Telescopic Steering Adjustment. Jazz SV one the other hand only offers one extra feature over the Polo Highline, which is the Parking Camera.

Pricing of other Variants:
Polo Highline (diesel, manual) - 9.60 Lakh
Elite i20 Sportz (diesel, manual) - 9.25 Lakh

Polo GT TSI (petrol, automatic) - 10.10 Lakh
Elite i20 Magna 1.4 AT (petrol, automatic) - 8.25 Lakh

Common Features: ABS, Airbags-2, AC, Power Steering, Power Windows, Central Locking, Keyless Entry, Stereo: FM, Aux, Bluetooth + 4 Speakers, Steering Wheel Switches, Electrically Adjustable Mirrors, Rear Defogger, Auto-up Anti-Pinch Driver’s Window, Fog Lamps, Touchscreen, Driver’s Seat Height Adjust

Extra Features in Elite i20 (Sportz): Parking Camera

Extra Features in Polo (Highline): Parking Sensors, Automatic Climate Control, Rear Wash-Wipe, Electrically Folding Mirrors, Alloy Wheels, Cornering Lamps, Auto Dimming Inside Mirror, Navigation, Mirror Link, Cruise Control, Rain Sensing Wipers, Telescopic Steering Adjustment
 
Fuel Efficiency Comparison:
Polo diesel, has an ARAI certified mileage of 20.14 kmpl (19.91 for GT TDI), which is a crazy, 7.2 kmpl less than Elite i20’s mileage of 27.3 kmpl. In our back-to-back tests the Elite i20 was consistently 3 kmpl more efficient than the Polo.
 
The manual geared Polo petrol has an ARAI certified mileage of 16.5 kmpl, which is 2.2 kmpl less than Elite i20 manual’s mileage of 18.7 kmpl. The Polo GT TSI automatic also has an ARAI certified mileage of just 16.5 kmpl, which is a 2.5 kmpl lower than Elite i20 automatic's mileage of 19 kmpl. In our back-to-back tests, the manual Elite i20 was almost 2 kmpl more efficient than the Polo, whereas the Elite 1.4 AT was just over 1 kmpl more efficient than the Polo GT TSI.
 
Fuel Cost: (for 75,000 km)
Polo (petrol, manual) - 4.35 Lakh, Elite i20 (petrol, manual & automatic) - 3.85 Lakh, Polo GT TSI (petrol, automatic) - 4.35 Lakh
Polo (diesel, manual) - 2.95 Lakh, Elite i20 (diesel, manual) - 2.20 Lakh

Performance & Drivability Comparison:
Petrol:
The manual geared versions of both these cars are powered by 1200cc naturally aspirated petrol engines which are a complete disappointment to drive. They are just not powerful enough to propel such heavy cars as the Polo & the Elite. Their lack of low-end torque makes matters worse, making them highly deficient in terms of low-end drivability.

Their automatic variants are thankfully powered by more powerful powertrains. The Elite i20 gets a 1.4-litre mill which is a marginal upgrade over the manual, but its conventional torque converter technology saps quite a bit of its power, resulting in hardly any upgrade over the manual. Polo GT TSI is a completely different story. It gets an added turbocharger along with a state-of-the-art DSG dual clutch gearbox, which transforms the Polo into a different beast. The DSG box is incredibly smooth and responsive and the turbocharger gives it wave of torque coupled to an ultra-wide power-band to play with.

Power to Weight Ratio (PS/ton): Elite i20 - 86, Polo – 71, Polo GT TSI - 95
Torque to Weight Ratio (Nm/ton): Elite i20 - 106, Polo – 104, Polo GT TSI – 158 (difference 50%)
 
Power (PS@rpm): Elite i20 – 90@6000, Polo – 75@5400, Polo GT TSI – 105@5000
Torque (Nm@rpm): Elite i20 – 110@4800, Polo – 110@3750, Polo GT TSI – 175@1500-4100
Kerb Weight (kg): Elite i20 - 1042, Polo – 1053, Polo GT TSI – 1109

Diesel:
When it comes to diesels, the two may seem evenly matched on paper, but there's a world of difference, when you actually experience them on the road. The Elite i20 is riddled with massive turbo lag right up to 2200 rpm making it a royal pain to pilot in city traffic. The Polo has managed to keep a check on turbo-lag, with the blower coming to life from 1500 rpm thereabout and the engine spinning comfortably above 4000 clicks. This makes the Polo much easier to drive than the Elite around town as well as giving it a wider power-band to play with on the highways.

Power to Weight Ratio (PS/ton): Elite i20 - 87, Polo – 78
Torque to Weight Ratio (Nm/ton): Elite i20 - 175, Polo – 199
 
Power (PS@rpm): Elite i20 – 100@3600, Polo – 90@4200
Torque (Nm@rpm): Elite i20 – 200@1750, Polo – 230@1500-2500
Kerb Weight (kg): Elite i20 - 1146, Polo – 1158
 
Handling & Ride Quality Comparison:
The Elite i20 has one of the worst dynamics in the segment, whereas the Polo has one of the best. Elite is too softly sprung, giving it a very soft ride quality at low speeds, while the Polo feels slightly stiff at low speeds. But as the speeds rise, the Elite i20 starts wallowing and loses its composure, when faced with a series of bumps. Polo ride quality gets better as speeds rise and the way it holds its line steadfastly at speed, reminds you of it's development over the autobahns. Elite also disappoints around the bends, with excessive body roll, early onset understeer and a dull-lifeless steering rack, with not feel or feedback whatsoever. Polo on the other hand is good fun around the corners, with loads of grip, well-weighted steering rack and a rigid chassis setup.

Ground Clearance (mm): Elite i20 – 170, Polo - 165
 
Wheelbase (mm): Elite i20 – 2570, Polo - 2469
 
Tyre Size:
Elite i20: 185/70R14 (Era, Magna, Sportz) 195/55R16 (Sportz O, Asta)
Polo: 175/70R14 (Trendline), 185/60R15 (Comfortline, Highline, GT)

Space & Comfort Comparison:
In spite of calling themselves the high-end hatches of the market, both these cars are quite disappointing when it comes to cabin space. Especially when it comes to the rear seat. Neither of them have enough shoulder room to comfortably accommodate three adults in the rear. Their rising waistlines and small window areas make it even more claustrophobic for the rear occupants than it actually is. Both cars have almost 300 litres of boot-space, which is just about adequate for extended weekend trips. Both cars also have high quality, luxurious interiors which wouldn't be out of place even on cars a couple of segments above them.

Boot-space (lit): Elite i20 - 285, Polo - 294
 
Length (mm): Elite i20 – 3985, Polo - 3971                                                                          
Width (mm): Elite i20 – 1734, Polo - 1682
Height (mm): Elite i20 – 1505, Polo - 1469

Reliability & After Sales Service Comparison:
Volkswagen is no match to Service Support offered by Hyundai, in our country. Firstly, Hyundai with its 800 plus touch points, has a far wider reach than Volkswagen's 120 odd outlets. Secondly, Volkswagen cars haven't turned out to be as reliable in spite of the much touted 'German Engineering', while Hyundai cars have been largely trouble free ever since the first Santro debuted in India in 1998. Beware of the GT TSI's dual clutch gearbox, which has acquired the dubious distinction of packing up beyond repair in innumerable cases. Volkswagen's dealers are also not as well disciplined as Hyundai's, thanks to the Korean habit of obsessive micro-management and a vice-like grip over dealership operations.

Resale & Cost of Ownership Comparison:
Thanks to a better reputation for reliability & after sales service, the Elite i20 is bound to hold marginally better residual value than the Polo. Overall, the Polo 'Highline' works out to be over 1 Lakh Rs. more expensive than the 'Sportz' variant of the Elite i20. If you consider the 'Asta' variant or the Asta 'O' variants of the Elite, then the difference drops down to zilch.

Resale Value (after usage of 5 to 7 years)
Elite i20 Sportz (petrol manual) – 4.00 Lakh
Polo Highline (petrol manual) – 3.50 Lakh
 
Elite i20 Magna 1.4 AT (petrol automatic) – 4.00 Lakh
Polo GT TSI (petrol automatic) – 5.00 Lakh
 
Elite i20 Sportz (diesel manual) – 4.25 Lakh
Polo Highline (diesel manual) – 4.00 Lakh
 
Total Cost of Ownership (Price + Fuel Cost – Resale Value)
Elite i20 Sportz (petrol manual) – 7.55 Lakh
Polo Highline (petrol manual) – 8.65 Lakh
 
Elite i20 Magna 1.4 AT (petrol automatic) – 8.00 Lakh
Polo GT TSI (petrol automatic) – 9.45 Lakh

Elite i20 Sportz (diesel manual) – 7.20 Lakh
Polo Highline (diesel manual) – 8.60 Lakh
 
Verdict:
The Polo diesel is our pick of this test. Technically it is a supremely accomplished automobile, with arguably the strongest performance and most enthusiastic dynamics of the segment. It retails for a lakh rupees cheaper than the equivalent Elite and matches it in terms of its Overall Ownership Cost. It may not give its owner the peace of mind than a Hyundai can, but then the Hyundai can never give its owner the sheer satisfaction and driving pleasure that a Polo does. With Volkswagen cleaning up its act in terms of service support, it has already started chipping away at whatever little advantage the Elite has over it. All things said and done, the Polo and its sedan version, the Ameo remain the most well-rounded offering in the market below 10 Lakh Rs. in the market today. What choice do we have but to declare it as the winner of this shootout.

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