VW Polo Review

As promised in my previous post, I’m back to write about my VW Polo.

For starters, the Polo is a hatchback, a size bigger than the Palio. It took me a few days to get used to the car and its features. The Polo comes in Trendline, Comfortline and Highline. My car is the Highline variant. The kit includes RCD 320 stereo (have heard it might be from Blaupunkt, though not sure) with connectivity for USB drive, SD card and Aux In, Bluetooth connectivity for your mobile phones, Steering audio and phone controls, speed sensitive volume, Auto Climate Control Air Conditioning, steering wheel adjust for reach and rake, MID, Central locking with speed sensitive locks, One touch up/down front and rear power windows, driver seat height adjust, front and rear fog lamps, Electric adjustable OVRM, Rear parking sensors and Rear wash/wipe with de-fogger. Mechanicals include 1.2 L 3 cy Petrol engine, front disc brakes with ABS, driver and passenger air bags, 5 speed manual transmission and speed sensitive steering.

Stepping into the Polo gives you a feel good factor. The dashboard is high quality plastic with a mix of beige and Lt. gray (almost black). It has an airy feeling and two tone dash adds a nice touch. Maintenance would be a bit difficult due to lot of beige. The seats are soft and comfortable and the leather wrapped steering and gear knob a joy to operate. The A B C pedals are well spaced and comfortable to use. There is no dead pedal though. Common VW!!!

The front windscreen washers are tucked in under the bonnet giving the bonnet a clean look. The rear boot lid cannot be opened when the key is slotted in the ignition which is a good safety feature. The spare wheel is a steel rim with a thermocol case for the tool kit. First aid kit, spare bulbs and spare fuses along with a warning triangle come in as standard.

The indicator and wiper stalks have a durable feel and the front and rear wipers do a very good job. MID gives you a whole lot of information and the Auto A/C works very well. The stereo does a good job playing your music from various sources. The sound quality is very good considering its an OEM unit. Component front speakers will be a good upgrade, but it would leave the tweeters exposed. I found the quality good and no necessity to upgrade any audio component.

The Bluetooth connectivity is seamless and you can make/receive calls easily, the voice clarity and quality is very good. You can redial only the last number in the call log form the head unit. There is no sync for contacts, hence you will be seeing only the phone number on the head unit display. The unit will also read out and new SMS received when your phone is connected to it.

Once fired up, the engine is quite noisy considering its a petrol. The power on tap is mediocre and will not pump up your adrenalin on any day. The running noise is quite high too(under bonnet cladding would help, though VW has given it a miss. VW, point to be noted!). If you are looking for a driver’s car, this is definitely not for you. Even the Toyota Liva or the  Renault Pulse have better power. And if you are looking for a powerful car in this price range, Ford Classic is the one you should be looking at.

The braking is very good and the ABS gives you great confidence and feel. After the horrible brakes in my Palio, this was a huge jump up. So was the ride and suspension. Apart from the engine noise, the cabin is quiet, no squeaks and rattles and the suspension does a very good job. High speed stability is amazing and the steering is a pleasure to use. Gear shifts are precise, effortless and has a slotted feel. Providing Airbags and ABS on all variants is a very welcome move and inspires huge confidence.

Though I have not been driven as a passenger in this car, I hear that rear bench room is decent for two adults and a child, but no three adults surely. Also the rear suspension comfort is good. All four windows come with one touch up/down and the driver gets a lock button to disable the rear power windows (which is good if you have kids).

Any gripes? Well yes. First and foremost, the engine. VW, please, please, please. If not for increasing the engine capacity to 1.4 or 1.5, at least provide a four pot engine to reduce the noise. And as an immediate measure, do provide under bonnet cladding at least.

For this price point, I would expect auto folding mirrors through remote and on lock. Also rear A/C vents are a must for rear passengers comfort.

Start/Stop button, keyless entry and follow me headlamps would be nice to have, at least as optional. Mirror indicators do add to the cosmetic looks but is not a deal breaker at all. 

These improvements can make this from a good car to a great car to own. Nevertheless, I christen my Polo as “Our Porsche” and welcome it to our home. Wishing many pleasant miles with you ahead!

 

Disclaimer: The above article is true to the best knowledge of the author and based on his first hand experience, opinion and preferences.

 

A VW Mint with no hole !

Yes, Yes, I’m talking about the VW Polo. As it turned out, my old car Fiat Palio (refereed to me as “My Ferrari”) was showing its age. Leaking AC water, poor brakes, electrical problems and most importantly non-availability of spares added to my frustration. What was once thought of as a car I would not sell, grew into a frustration during almost every commute. The final decision came when the front foot well was a huge puddle of water due to AC leakage during our family trip to Yercaud. I was fed up having to repeatedly visit the service center. Hence the search began. Still I adored My Ferrari and wanted to find a worthy successor.

The hunt began few months back and various models made a mark in my brain almost every day. Hyundai Eon, Nissan Micra, Nissan Micra Active, Datsun Go, Ford Figo, Fiat Punto, Toyota Liva, Ford Classic, Volkswagen Polo, Renault Pulse, Fiat Linea. Basically I didn’t know what sort of car I wanted. Hatchback or sedan. Will my wife also drive it? In that case, a hatchback is better. Powerful car or Car with more features. I didn’t even know my budget. It started at around 8-9 lakhs keeping the Linea in mind. Suddenly it dropped to 3-4 lakhs thinking that the best option was to buy a small entry level car, and buy a bigger one later when wifey could take over the small car. However as fortune would have it, due to various reasons, the budget settled around 6 lakhs.

Just out of personal preference, I didnt want to buy a Hyundai or Maruti. I also knew that a new Punto (didn’t like the new design), Polo refresh (merely cosmetic, preferred the old looks anyway) and Swift refresh (was not in the list anyway) was due in a few months.

My dad, wife and me began one Sunday morning on our mission to decide which car would succeed our Ferrari. First stop was the Renault showroom at Whitefield. The car is nice, small, good suspension, but does not have great space. Build quality is not European too. Mr. Harsha from Renault showroom was very helpful and courteous. The experience was very good, but the shock came while leaving, when My Ferrari was evaluated for 30,000 INR, stretchable upto 40,000 INR. I was like, keep the 40k, I’m not selling my Ferrari.

Then we headed to VW Whitefield where we were attended to by Mr. Syed. A newbie to the showroom, but was helpful and found out the necessary information from his peers when needed. The VW Polo seemed cramped at the rear, but the drive was good. Engine – not good. Underpowered and noisy. Also the price was a bit beyond our budget. But add in 2 years free insurance and extended warranty and road side assistance, the effective value fell exactly in our budget scale.

After a sumpteous lunch at Srinathji’s, we headed to Elite Ford to check out the Ford Classic. And as luck would have it, there wasn’t a demo vehicle. And in fact, the petrol version would take 2-3 months for delivery as the production is nearly stopped and manufactured only on order. I had read that Ford Figo and Classic would probably be replaced by Ford Ka and Ford Ka sedan some time in 2015. The Ford salesman Mr. George also informed that Classic sales are not good nor is the resale value. Hence Classic was out of the list, still I requested for a test drive. At the same time, my dad stumbled upon the Figo, Titanium variant. Mr. George was a kind and patient advisor and anyone wanting to buy a Ford vehicle should contact him. My personal recommendation 🙂

Figo Titanium came with all the necessary features, but no rear power windows, drab, dull interiors and absolutely no power from the petrol engine. Even with the accelerator floored all the way down. The ride and suspension was good. Hence the Figo was at the top of the list, followed closely by the Polo.

Next stop was Ravindu Toyota, to check the Toyota Liva. The car is extremely spacious and ride was decent. But the interiors drab, it had fake wood panels (OMG) and felt wafer thin. Didn’t feel stable while driving, but power was decent. The biggest let down was the attitude of the sales advisor. The lady didn’t seem too interested generally. On being questioned whether there was a variant with Remote adjustable mirrors, she said that due to bikers, this has been omitted as it is expensive to replace. She also added that Figo has it but Ford being a UK company, spares were expensive. Seriously!?

The Liva was instantly ruled out and last stop was Fiat Caffe. Though it was past working hours on a Sunday evening, the advisor requested us to have a seat and would attend to us as soon as he is done with his present engagement with another customer. I started boasting to my wife about European build quality and Fiat’s Italian design. But shockingly, a small push on the bonnet of the Punto, and whoa, the sheet metal felt thin, bent easily and felt nothing solid. Further to the shock, the same was with the Linea. Though its interiors were top class. Being a Fiat fan and owner, the Punto was immediately rejected.

At the end of the day, we narrowed the list to Figo and Polo. With 60k difference, I wanted to test drive them again before making a decision. After a second test drive, we decided it would be the Shadow Blue Polo Comfortline to make its way to our home. Also after much thought, I decided to part ways with My Ferrari as I could not afford the maintenance cost. As fate would have it, the sales man who sold me My Ferrari (at First Choice, Bangalore) was the same guy working now at VW Whitefield to buy back used cars.

After another test drive of the Figo and Polo, I decided on the Polo Comfortline. During booking, another surprise came up which I hadnt thought of. Polo Comfortline with safety features was just 35k lesser than Polo Highline with safety features. And what was I getting for 35k – Alloy wheels, Bluetooth stereo, Rear parking sensors, Leather finish steering and hand brake, Steering audio controls, Drive away locks. The deal was settled to VW Polo Highline. The loan process was smooth and the delivery process even smoother. Many thanks to Mr. Vishnu, Mr. Syed, Mr. Sunil and Mr.  Mahesh for helping me with the whole process. How does it feel to own and drive the Mint with no hole from VW?

Review report coming up soon !

 

Disclaimer: The above article is true to the best knowledge of the author and based on his first hand experience, opinion and preferences. No offence is meant to anybody.

 

 

Buying Books online

In this digital age, some of us still prefer to read a book in its original form i.e. the hard copy version. I know Kindle, Nook and the likes are making waves, but a book is a book.

Yes, Amazon Kindle provides e-books that you can read on your tablet or phone or such device. If you prefer to read a hard copy, the first thing we normally do is jump to e-tailer like flipkart, amazon, snapdeal or similar sites. Gone are the days when you would call up say Landmark or Gangarams or Sapna book stall to find out the availability. But how many websites will you actually search before making a decision.

I stumbled upon a portal

http://www.indiabookstore.net/

which searches for a book from all the popular web-sites and provides you with a collated result.

Also

https://sapnaonline.com

is another place to buy books and their service is very prompt (even for Out of stock books).

 

Happy Reading!

 

Citibank

Many of us might have a savings account or salary account with Citibank. For those staying at Bangalore, here are a few details you might need at any point of time.

Branches and IFSC codes :
 http://www.ratekhoj.com/banks/results.php?searchstring=Citibank
Bangalore Customer care number :
080-22272265
Jayanagar branch number :
080-41210741
Timings on Saturday : 10 AM - 2 PM

If you visit on a saturday, be prepared to spend atleast a couple of hours to get your work done. Staff are generally courteous, but some are rude, but the bank themselves have some strange policies. Try to get your work done online or through a customer representative, which will be easier. Personally I have had unpleasant experiences at the Jayanagar and MG road branch.

Good luck!!!

Men’s Style Quotient

Why am I writing about Men’s style quotient? I’m no fashion expert or designer, nor am I a retailer. It’s just that when I look around, I find that some people just dress up formally for the sake of rules or they are really unaware of the result. Few years ago, I attended a training session on “Presentation Skills” and have learnt that the first and foremost impression comes from your dressing sense. I learnt a few tips at the session and a few more on the way, which I would like to share.

  • General rule of thumb is that when dressing formally, your belt and shoes should be of the same color. Meaning, Black belt and black shoes OR Brown belt and brown shoes. Mixing them doesn’t look good. Also Brown belt and beige/light brown shoes and vice versa looks equally bad.
  • Brown formal shoes usually doesn’t go well with navy/dark blue formal pants/trousers. Blue trousers means black shoes and belt please.
  • Please, Please, Please do not wear sneakers or sports shoes when you wear formal pants/trousers. At least wear suede leather shoes, if not for formal ones.
  • Sneakers or suede leather shoes do go well with denims. Also black or brown formal shoes do look good with denims, as long as you wear formal shirts and tuck them in.
  • Stylish/casual shoes look best with Denims and casual shirt or t-shirt. Suede leather shoes look best with formal shirts paired with chinos or denims.
  • Formal belts will match with denims as long as your not wearing funky shoes.
  • Floaters/Sandals look good with Denims and shirt/t-shirt. You can team it up with white socks to look more formal in case you are wearing chinos and shirt/t-shirt.
  • Formal leather finish or suede leather sandals look best with formal trousers. Preferably, they should be brown or black color. However please, no floaters with formal trousers.
Disclaimer: The above views are not meant to offend anyone, or hurt anyone’s feelings or sentiment. Any such case is purely coincidental. The above points have been arrived over public observation and experiments and experience. These points are to be taken as friendly advice and not as hard and fast rule. As always, you are your best judge.