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Volkswagen Cross Polo review, test drive

 After introducing the hi-tech and punchy GT TSI, Volkswagen is angling for another class of hatchback customer with its rugged-looking Cross Polo. Straight away, the Cross Polo appears to have grown a bit after a summer at camp, and on paper, it has. Length is up by 17mm, width by 16mm and even height by 21mm, and it has also put on 10kg of weight. So what’s changed?

While all the sheet metal is identical to the Polo, there is a band of matte black plastic tightly guarding the lower section. The silver chin-guard and the diffuser offset the blacked-out lower section handsomely. The silver roof-rails add just a few millimetres in overall height, but help the Polo grow a more adventurous personality. Roof box? Cycle rack? Bolt ‘em on!

There’s no denying that the Cross Polo looks ready to rough it out. However, despite its hiking gear, it isn’t looking to get scratched or dusty. While internationally the Cross Polo is offered with 17-inch wheels, the India-spec car rides on the same 185/60 R15 rubber as the standard hatchback, and the extra mass of the cladding around the wheel arches makes the rubber look quite puny. Rough-roading won’t get easier either as the 168mm of ground clearance is identical to the standard Polo. This doesn’t bode well for the motor either, as the low-placed sump of the diesel motor remains in harm’s way on rough roads.
 The 1.2-litre three-cylinder diesel motor that the Cross Polo shares with its sibling doesn’t do it any favours either. At low speeds, the motor lacks responsiveness and feels quite lethargic. It requires frequent gear changes just to keep pace with traffic.  The performance feels just about adequate, even when you rev it up. The suspension setup, though, is well suited to the Cross Polo’s character. The car rides over broken roads with a good blend of comfort and compliance, and thuds over them confidently even at higher speeds.

The Cross Polo is treading down the same path that Skoda’s Fabia Scout started off on. But will it go further and faster? By offering the car in the Highline trim at Rs 7.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), Volkswagen isn’t making things easier for itself. This puts it at a Rs 60,000 premium over the Polo 1.2 TDI Highline, which feels quite steep when you consider that the Cross Polo isn’t tougher, but merely tougher-looking. And that makes it a bit of a hard sell.

Price Range (in lakhs)*
Ex-showroom priceRs 7.75 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi)
InstallationFront, transverse
Type3cyls, 1199cc, common-rail, turbo diesel
Power74bhp at 4200rpm
Torque18.3kgm at 2000rpm
Gearbox5-speed manual
Wheel base2456mm
Ground clearance168mm
Chassis & Body
Wheels15-inch alloy
Tank size45 litres

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