Rumor: Volkswagen testing Polo 1.6 Automatic with a possible India launch in mind
Volkswagen India is said to be testing an automatic gearbox version of the popular Polo hatchback. The rumormill also suggests that the Polo Automatic could be launched in the Indian car market to offer the car buyer more choice. The Polo 1.6 petrol car is the version that is said to be being tested with the automatic gearbox. The 1.6 Liter, 105 Bhp-153 Nm petrol engine is already doing duty in the likes of the Volkswagen Vento and the Skoda Rapid, cars in which it is also available with a 6 speed automatic gearbox that is more responsive than most other automatic gearboxes due to the greater number of ratios giving it more flexibility at all speeds.
Coming to the Volkswagen Polo hatchback, the car is available in India with two petrol engines and one diesel engine. One of the petrol engines includes the 1.6 Liter unit and this is perhaps a reason why Volkswagen is testing the 6 speed automatic gearbox on, given that it is readily available for use. Currently, the only car in the B+-Segment hatchback space that is available with an automatic gearbox is the Hyundai i20. So, the Polo 1.6 Automatic could be a good addition to the market given that it would increase options for folks wanting a well appointed automatic hatchback.
That said, fuel economy is something that could be a big compromise on the Polo 1.6 AT given the thirsty ways of the powerful 1.6 Liter petrol engine, which is known more for its power and torque than frugality. Also, given the already steep petrol prices which has all but knocked the wind off petrol engined cars, thirsty automatic car isn’t exactly the model that will be a swift seller. However, such a car could have some potential of decent sales as there exists an abject dearth in the number of automatic cars in the B+ hatchback space in India.
Expect the Polo 1.6 AT, if at all launched in India, to sit at the top end of the Polo variant line up. Given that the Polo Highline 1.6 petrol costs about INR 6.5 lakhs, ex-showroom, adding the automatic gearbox could add about a lakh to that price given that the Vento AT is pricier than the manual geared model by pretty much the same figure. So, expect an ex-showroom price of about 7.4-7.5 lakh rupees for the top end Polo 1.6 Highline with a 6 speed automatic gearbox. Pricey, while it surely is, it is also an option that many automatic hatchback buyers might want to buy, for it represents the only other option apart from the Hyundai i20, which by the way is a pricier one.