After six long months of lying dormant, my pocket rocket has finally been delivered to her new owner. I’m going to miss this little hot-hatch; she was literally my “first love”, as I have never really been into cars before her. After two years of ownership and some 65,000km added to the clock, why did I sell her?
Amongst the most common question asked to any owner selling off their Volkswagen today is “Why are you selling the car, if it is in good condition?”. Yes, the dreaded question — especially if your car has the 1.4 twincharged engine and 7-speed dry-clutch gearbox. We’ve all read about it before, with many angry owners taking to the streets to protest about the often problematic gearbox/mechatronic/clutch combo.
I can only speak about my experience with my car, and in all honesty, over the last two years of ownership, I have not encountered any really major problems. The #r3PGTI is considered to be one of the earliest batches of Polo GTIs that landed on our shores for homologation testing. The only differentiation between the homologation batch with ones eventually sold by Volkswagen Group Malaysia (VGM) are the halogens and non-polished rims on my car. Naturally, on my second day of ownership, I had already sourced for original GTI headlamps (with LEDs) and had them retrofitted onto my car.
Perhaps the biggest issues with my car were my Check Engine Light (CEL) was lit up and I had a cracked radiator. In the case of the CEL, the car actually felt normal and I drove the #r3GTI, hard, for some 9 months before VGM agreed to replace the car’s ECU. As for the cracked radiator, it was simply a matter of sending the car in for a quick replacement, both covered under warranty.
When it comes to mods, I like to think that I took the correct, economical route. The blue-lit RCD310 was the first to go, replaced by a Delphi RCD510 unit. Then, many months later, I decided it was time for a little more kick and had her tuned with a Stage 1 custom map. The Polo GTI, as a stock car, is already highly tuned. As such, I decided to opt for more power in the mid-range, instead of higher final power outputs. The logic was simple – I did not want to stress the car out more than it could handle, especially not with the 1.4 TSI’s reputation.
The last bit of customization done were focused on aesthetics: carbon fiber paddle shift extensions, a gorgeous Grigio Telesto wrap, as well as a set of Sparco Asseto Garas (the latter was unplanned, but the stock wheels just looked weird with the wrap). With the exception of the extensions, both wrap and wheels were eventually removed from the #r3PGTI after just 3 months. Oh, I also had the car signed by Volkswagen World Rally Championship driving team of Jari-Matti Latvala and Miika Antilla .
Anyway, long story short, you’re probably asking by now… “Why did you sell the car?”. The brutal truth is, I needed more space. Not that the Polo GTI cannot handle the weekend grocery shopping, or even week-long work trips outside of KL; I simply needed to ferry people around, and two doors made things rather inconvenient, especially during thunderstorms.
If you’ve been following this site since its inception, then you already know what my replacement car is. Yep, over the last six months, I have been hooning about in the #r3GTI. Correct, another Volkswagen. Yes, so far no problems. And yes, I drive my car the way I would with any other test car. I’ll really miss the little Polo GTI, though. It doesn’t have as much power as its bigger brother sure, but she’s nimble, responsive, and thoroughly engaging during spirited drives. You know what they say… you never forget your first.