Should You Buy A VW Polo Or Abarth Punto To Go Stage 3?

When it comes to budget-performance cars, hot hatchbacks top the charts. Sadly, we don’t get a lot of them as we are left with lukewarm hatchbacks which we can turn into proper machines. And as you scour any used car website, preferably our TDH Classifieds, you will stumble upon two main options i.e. Volkswagen Polo 1.0 MT and Fiat Punto Abarth. The reason these two will top any lists is because they are seemingly the only options to cater to serious enthusiast demands for relatively cheap. Thankfully, we have reviewed the Super Saiyan versions of both of these so we are more than comfortable to help you choose between both of them.
Before we begin, we should discuss what setups are both the beasts running to make this comparison more factual than opinion-based.

The VW Polo that we reviewed had various upgrades such as BMC CDA Carbon Fibre Intake, Intercooler, and 1.5 TSI EVO Turbo effectively delivering 200Hp torque via a 6 Speed Manual! The Abarth Punto, tuned by Venom Performance, also had quite a few mods such as Venom Stage 3 Tune, Garett 1446 Turbo and Intercooler, Borla End Cans, upgraded injectors and various other bits which help the 1.4 T-Jet produce a whopping 265Hp! It is safe to assume that both engines are close to their limit in terms of delivering performance as both engines are just a level below delivering even more power with the likes of forged internals and a myriad of other things which will be less pocket-friendly, to say the least.

You need to understand that when you are building a high-performance car like the ones we’ve mentioned, your expectations should be correctly placed and you need to understand what both of the cars do and what they don’t. If you were to build a polo, other than the fact that it will be a commitment, you will find quality everywhere you look and touch. The interior of the car is a nice place to spend time and perhaps that quality does come with the compromise of building the engine. It isn’t as if it’s impossible but the problems come because the 3 Pot wasn’t made to be tuned as outside India, these engines were fitted into VW’s most economical options. This is the reason why, to a large extent, you will need to do custom fitting of parts. Thankfully, the donkey work in terms of research and development has been done by other owners but that still means that it will be more expensive to build the 1 litre engine. Also, it is always recommended to go for manual as the DQ200 DSG transmission can feel a little uninspiring. The service experience can be mixed as spare parts will be more expensive as compared to the Abarth Punto.

In contrast, the Abarth Punto is a lot easier to mod due to its larger engine capacity and the punch of an Italian-built motor. However, Fiat forgot to do quality checks in the chase for performance. This has been characteristic of fiat but you will notice the cheap materials throughout the interior. The most common sign of the Abarth not being well built is when you press the clutch and turn the steering wheel, you can feel the steering column on your foot. However, what you miss out on in terms of quality, you more than make up for due to international support for small-capacity Abarth Engines from the likes of Forge Motorsport, Garett etc. This allows you to produce the monstrous 265 horses with ease. However, it is our recommendation to look for a good brake upgrade as the stopping power should be increased too. It is also true that the 1.4 T-Jet is more dramatic and, depending upon the tuner, can be modified with no lift shift which would allow the fastest drag times despite being a manual! Also, it will be cheaper to find spare parts as these are shared with FCA group’s other brands such as Jeep.

To conclude, if you are in the market for a hot hatch which delivers linear performance and good quality everywhere, the VW Polo 1.0 MT is right up your alley. However, if you want all the drama and are willing to compromise some cheap bits here and there, you can buy the Abarth Punto. You can dress the interior of the Punto but saving that effort and getting the German build quality wouldn’t be a big compromise. Also, if you are going to be on the highways and you feel as if the overdrive gear is important, you should buy the Polo instead of the Punto as the Polo has the 6 Speed Manual. Whichever car you buy, you have the keys to build the ultimate tuner hatchback.

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Ojas Vadke
Ojas Vadke

A Person who loves cars and a regular guy with big dreams of owning his dream cars. Working as a Blog Writer with absolute lads at The Driver's Hub.

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