TINY hot hatches are the classic tearaway cars.
You would see them burn tires away from lights. Squeaking out of roundabouts on three wheels. Engines roar on the main street.
That’s what kids have always done in their hot Corsas, souped-up Fiestas and cheeky Peugeot 208s.
Maybe you were. Now you still want a fizzy little car, but your hooning days are behind you.
Test drive the Volkswagen Polo GTI.
It’s a subtly different kind of thing. A little less engaging maybe, but much more livable.
I’m not saying it’s far behind the others in the 0-100km/h sprint or one lap around the track. It definitely isn’t.
Especially since there was just a midlife update that squeezes another 10 hp out of the engine.
Not a big boost, but always welcome. The total output is now a tight 207 hp.
QUIET AND REFINED
It’s also a big 2-litre, where the rivals have more tightly-tensioned smaller engines.
The Polo has plenty of muscle, even at low engine speeds. You don’t have to wait for it to wake up.
It’s no longer legal to sell a new car with a fruity exhaust. Which is fair enough as they are quite annoying for people who live on busy roads.
I’m not saying it’s far behind the others in the 0-100km/h sprint or one lap around the track. It definitely isn’t. Especially since there was just a midlife update that squeezes another 10 hp out of the engine.
Instead, many cars’ speakers produce a synthetic engine noise that you can hear inside the car but not outside. Unfortunately, most of these things sound more like whoopie pillows. The Polo is really quite nice.
The steering allows you to get the car exactly where you want it, even at high speed, without nervousness.
This is how the best GTIs have always been. The chassis has a well-dampened oiliness that gives the GTI a relaxed sense of authority.
It will dodge and turn around like a terrier. But on freeways he settles down and walks like a big, calm retriever.
This is where it differs from the competing baby hot hatches. It will do the big car stuff just as well as the small firecracker stuff.
It’s quiet and refined, and the suspension is fairly supple.
The seats have a little padding and room for your backside. They’re not like a racer’s hard shells. They are covered with plaid material.
They have been the rules for Volkswagen GTI since 1976.
A tidy dashboard has clear screens and mostly well-assorted switches.
If you really need to make it crazy, you can configure some angular screen graphics. But they don’t clear things up. Enter your age and leave as round dials.
The Polo GTI is about coming to terms with the loss of your youth.
It’s still fun. . . but it doesn’t always tell you that you’re having a midlife crisis.
VOLKSWAGEN POLO GTI
Engine: 2 liters turbo petrol
Perfomance: 207 hp, 320 Nm
0-100km/h: 6.5 sec
Top speed: 149mph
Out of: now
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/8818598/vw-polo-gti-boy-racer/ This is a nifty boy racer that doesn’t scream midlife crisis