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The 1.0 TSI Brotherhood: Comprehending the new Rapid and Polo

Are the Polo and Rapid still the affordable option for a Driving enthusiast?

Intro: In question is the 1.0 TSI engines that will be powering compact cars from both the VW and Skoda stable. This means this 1.0 TSI is going to replace the familiar and often praised naturally aspirated engines that were found in yesteryear models; grab your breath right there, the smaller engine in no way means a dearth in power. The 1.0 TSI motor won the coveted International Engine of the year in the sub-1-liter category in 2018. The motors that it is replacing are the 1.6 MPI in the Rapid and the 1.2 in the VW Polo. A lot then depends on the 1.0 TSI to continue the legacy of being the preferred option when it comes to ticking the right boxes to be a performance-oriented machine.

What’s in store:  First things first, the 1.0 TSI offers more power than the outgoing motor. The shared engine under the VW and Skoda brand creates a strong impression, on offer is 110hp and 175 Nm of torque. The increased power and reduction in weight means that both these cars are better suited for spirited driving. So in exchange for the outgoing engines and the old DSG transmission, you get a more efficient engine and a transmission that might not be as smooth as a Hyundai, but it has resulted in better shifting which means, there is a considerable improvement in the driving experience. The Rapid witnesses a change in transmission from being a 5-speed manual to a 6-speed manual, the Polo too get a 6-speed manual which replaces the 5-speed manual. 


(First, the Skoda) 0-100 takes 10 seconds, which makes it a second quicker than the 1.6 and also makes it the fastest in the segment. Push harder and the difference is evident, the 1.0 TSI is 3 seconds quicker at the 140kph mark. The pricing makes it compete against premium hatch’s but that’s not where Rapid’s eyes will be, it of course will want to be in Honda City territory. The Rapid is Rapid and is quicker than the City too. Across different speed zones and different gears, the Rapid remains quicker than the City. The Rapid then is quick to build up speed, primarily because of the widespread of torque, and well-judged gear ratios. This engine loves to be revved, and that is why pulling this engine beyond the 3000 marks to the redline is effortless. The engine feels smoother at higher revs and remains vibration-free. It’s only when the vehicle is at idle, do you realize the clattering sound. The response is not good at lower revs when the turbocharger is not functional. In city traffic, you will want to be on a lower gear and you will oftentimes be found fumbling between 2nd and 3rd gears. You don’t get that burst of power that you would expect to have at lower revs. 

(Now the Polo) The Polo comes to life when the turbo kicks in at 2,000 rpm. The tacho revs up easily up to the 6,000 rpm mark. The mid-range is where the Polo comes to life you would want to toggle through the gears to ensure you will be at the mid-range to get the most of the 1.0 TSI. At lower revs too, you can be at the 2nd gear and feel confident to go ahead at low throttle. This being a 3 cylinder unit is not as refined as the 1.2 Polo. 

Ride and mannerism: 

(Polo) The Polo is known to be fun to drive a car and has been the preferred choice in rallying and racing. The chassis and suspension setup reassures that sense of confidence when you push it at hard corners or hairpins. The steering feels great to hold and accounts for easy maneuverability. 

(Rapid) The Rapid gets a similar suspension and chassis, the setup is on the stiffer side and undulations might be felt with a gentle thud. The overall ride quality is good as the framework soaks up all undulations rather well. The steering is not a letdown either, it is not all that responsive but is agile enough on winding roads and terrain.

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