Face Off: 2015 Honda Jazz vs 2014 Volkswagen Polo

VW has made quite a big impact in its relatively short time here in India. The Polo has received high praise for its build quality and impressive engines. However, what happens when you pit German precision against Japanese engineering? Well we are about to find out. In this face off, the 2015 Honda Jazz goes toe to toe with Volkswagen’s Polo.

Design:

2015 Honda Jazz:

The Honda Jazz is a rather impressive looking car. Sporting typical Honda styling with angular headlights, sharp cuts and creases across the body, the Jazz makes for an interesting hatch. Honda has gracefully melded a hatchback with MPV characteristics such as a high roofline and long wheel base. As a result, the Honda Jazz offers more space than most of its rivals.

2015 honda jazz front
Front View of the all new Honda Jazz hatchback

VW Polo:

Unlike the Honda Jazz, the VW Polo is all about order. The German hatch makes minimal use of angular design elements to provide a clean silhouette. VW is renowned for its precision engineering however, design is more of an art than a procedure. The Polo feels far too clinical and lacks art in its form.

2015 Volkswagen Polo front three quarter
The VW Polo adopts a more minimal, understated design language.

Winner: Honda Jazz

Interior:

2015 Honda Jazz:

Honda has replicated the City’s cabin for the Jazz. The Japanese hatch features the same interior elements such as the dashboard layout and steering wheel as its sedan brother. This results in the most feature loaded cabin in the hatchback segment. The new Jazz sports a touchscreen infotainment system, touch sensitive A/C settings and steering mounted controls for Bluetooth telephony and music playback. Buyers have an option of choosing between an all black or beige and black interior.

2015 Honda Jazz cabin
Dashboard of the all new Honda Jazz

VW Polo:

The clinical precision of VW continues inside the cabin as well. However, with its latest iteration, VW has provided the Polo’s interior with sporty undertones. The flat-bottomed steering wheel, silver accents around the center console and the glossly black finish found on the gear knob and steering wheel all add a bit of character to the otherwise dull interiors of the German hatch. Volkswagen is yet to provide a significant update to the music system first introduced on the Polo.

2015 volkswagen polo dashboard
Dashboard of the new VW Polo

Winner: Honda Jazz

Under the Hood:

2015 Honda Jazz:

The Jazz has been introduced with an extremely powerful pair of engines. The petrol powered Jazz houses a familiar 1.2 l i-VTEC engine under the bonnet. The four cylinder petrol mill churns out 87 hp @ 6000 RPM and a peak torque of 110 Nm @ 4800 RPM. Honda offers the petrol variant of the Jazz with both a five speed manual as well as a CVT gearbox.

Diesel enthusiasts will welcome the inclusion of Honda’s all new 1.5 l i-DTEC EarthDreams motor. The engine remains identical to the one used on the City sedan and as a result the diesel Jazz produces an impressive 98 hp @ 3600 RPM with peak torque of 200 Nm coming in at 1750 RPM. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six speed manual gearbox.

VW Polo:

Although Volkswagen offers the Polo in high performance petrol and diesel avatars, these variants of the Polo fall into an entirely different price bracket. For the purposes of fair comparison, we are not considering the GT editions of the Polo. The petrol variant of the Volkswagen hatch is powered by a 1.2 l four cylinder unit that churns out 74 hp @ 5400 RPM and max torque of 110 Nm @ 3750 RPM. Power is sent to the front wheels via a five speed manual gearbox.

VW’s diesel Polo is available with a detuned version of the 1.5 l four cylinder mill found on the Polo GT TDI. The oil burner produces 89 hp @4200 RPM and a peak torque of 230 Nm at 1500 RPM and is mated to a five speed manual transmission as well.

Winner: Draw

Verdict:

The Honda Jazz is a force to be reckoned with. Offering more power and features than any of its rivals for the same price, Honda will rapidly demolish the competition. Although VW produced a quality car, the manufacturer skimped on tech and power; two aspects that Volkswagen could have easily provided without bumping up the price tag. The Polo may sell in good numbers however, if VW ever hopes to hit the top spot here in India, it must not underestimate what the buyer is ready to settle for.

2015 Volkswagen Polo Unveiled

The 2015 Volkswagen Polo has been officially launched. Although the new face lifted Polo is not a total revamp of the popular hatch, the new model adds a touch of flash that was lacking in the previous generation. Sadly, the India bound model was not endowed with the stylish Passat inspired LED DRLs or the impressive, upmarket music system, the new Polo features an all-new engine lineup that is sure to draw a lot of attention to this German hatchback.

Let’s take a look at what the new model has to offer.

2013 volkswagen polo
Current Gen Polo Used As Reference

Exteriors:

Styling wise, the 2015 Volkswagen Polo more or less remains the same. With sharp straight lines and neat creases across the body of the hatch, the Polo makes for a very clean design. The introduction of smoked headlights on the previous model helped build its reputation as a youth icon. The 2015 face-lift also features redesigned front and rear bumpers. The front end now sports a slightly reworked grille along with a dash of chrome along the lower bumper as well as the lower half of the grille. The 15 inch alloys now feature a revised design, however, the choice of design may not prove to be too popular among buyers. The most distinguishing trait of the rear end is the revised tail lamp cluster design. The new Volkswagen Polo will also be introduced with an all-new orange paint job.

Interiors:

The interiors have received a major revamp with one of the biggest changes being the steering wheel. The three spoke design has evolved into a sportier flat bottom style wheel complete with an array of steering mounted controls. The wheel also sports a gloss metal finish further improving the overall aesthetic of the car. The center console is now finished in brushed silver that adds contrast to the all back dashboard. Each A/C vent is now adorned with chrome garnish and the instrument cluster now sports a white back light as opposed to the deep red of the outgoing model.

Safety:

The recent NCAP tests performed on some of the cars here in India have shed valuable light on the sheer lack of interest that most manufacturers have when it comes to safety. Somewhere between the manufacturers’ zest to cut costs and our Government’s apathy, the Indian consumer was forgotten and as a result, was provided with a dizzying selection of cars that are far below the required safety standards. Although manufacturers cannot be fully blamed for the poor standards adopted by the automotive industry, the companies’ lack of sentiment to the future of the consumer did not aid in the building of a safer future.

Thankfully, Volkswagen has understood this, better than most manufacturers and has equipped dual airbags as standard across all variants of the new Polo. The range topping model also comes with ABS for even better safety.

Engine:

Volkswagen has also made a few changes under the bonnet as well. While both the standard petrol as well as the GT TSI variants will not feature any new engine updates, the diesel unit now sports an all-new 1.5 L mill. This new 1.5 L four pot will replace the rather noisy 3 cylinder turbocharged engine in the standard diesel variant. The new engine comes with the latest in tech including a variable geometry turbo that improves performance and provides a flat torque curve without sacrificing fuel economy. The new engine is more powerful and less noisy. Producing 90 PS @ 4200 RPM and 230 Nm of torque between 1500 – 2500 RPM, the new engine is far more powerful than the outgoing model. Power is sent to the front wheels via a five speed manual transmission.

Prices for the new Volkswagen Polo start at Rs. 4.99 lakhs (ex-showroom price Delhi), however considering the heavy taxation rates across the country expect to pay a price well above the stated. The all new 1.5 L diesel Volkswagen Polo will start at INR 6.27 lakhs with the range topping variant available at INR 7.37 lakhs.