Fuel consumption test: Volkswagen Polo GTI

Alex Shahini investigates whether the Polo GTI with the EA888 engine doesn't consume too much fuel.

Perched beneath all full-fat Golf models, the EA888-powered Polo GTI serves as a detuned and more affordable Wolfsburg hot hatchback but does it translate into a fun, daily driver that doesn’t encroach too greatly on fuel spend?

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Volkswagen Polo GTI fast facts

  • Price: R550 900
  • Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo petrol engine 
  • Transmission: 6-speed DSG
  • Power: 147kW
  • Torque: 320Nm
  • Rivals: Toyota GR Yaris, Abarth 500

The first thing that came to mind during the initial kilometres behind the Polo GTI is whether there was ever really the need for an ECO mode as I found myself interacting with all of the buttons and features. For me, a hot hatchback should be an inherently fun, grin-inducing machine that can be driven at 11/10ths and not impede the national speed limit or record astronomical fuel consumption figures. Despite this, the more mundane drives in and around town would be able to capitalise on the ECO mode which shifts the DSG cogs at a leisurely pace and comfortably low down in the rev range while coasting is implemented instead of keeping the motor running during deceleration.

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I decided that the test period with me behind the wheel of the Pure White Volkswagen Polo GTI would have it perpetually configured in its most aggressive and visceral Individual mode, to see what figures it would be able to return and how far off the claimed number they would be. Following several days of testing after just shy of 500km of driving, the diminutive Wolfsburg GTI returned a figure of 8.5L/100km. Considering the drive mode and aggression on the accelerator pedal, this is rather admirable since the claimed combined fuel consumption is listed at a frugal 6.4L/100km.

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A few open road journeys undoubtedly helped ensure this commendable consumption however brisk forays around town, between traffic lights and slow-moving sections would still yield 10L/100km or under. Despite its fairly potent EA888 power plant, from the cabin, the sensation of picking up speed wasn’t as visceral as expected nor did any speeds above the national limit feel outlawed. That said, a keen eye is required to keep the needle on the digital dash within 120km/h if cruise control is not activated in the muted interior.

Photo: CAR Magazine.

In and around town is where the front-wheel drive hatch would come into its own. A slight scramble for traction under heavy acceleration would yield a vague amount of torque steer but once moving, the body would feel composed and traction wouldn’t feel limited. Despite this, in the sportiest settings programmed into the ECU, the DSG had a knack for lurching forward during traffic with the slightest throttle input, conditions better suited to Eco or Normal driving modes.

It certainly isn’t perfect, nor is it the most exciting vehicle in the ever-dwindling hot hatchback segment, but similar to the first to wear the GTI nameplate, it embodies a respectful amount of performance onto a popular people mover. With Kariega serving as the sole producer of the Polo GTI, it is also one of the few hot hatchbacks to be priced under R600 000, along with the Abarth 500 and Suzuki Swift Sport. Configure some of the optional niceties specified on this test unit, and the price does go up. Regardless, the recipe features just enough performance to deliver you into the clutches of the law while the frugal, yet small 40-litre fuel tank won’t end up breaking the bank with copious visits to the pumps – albeit expect to refuel every 500km or less.

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The post Fuel Consumption Test: Volkswagen Polo GTI appeared first on CAR Magazine.

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