Monday, May 30, 2011

Hot Hatches Review: Fiesta vs Polo vs 308 Turbo

Well, not exactly a proper review, but more of a test-drive impression. Which means they're real cars, not die-casts. I'm planning to buy a car in the next few months, and it's going to be a hatchback, 'cos I just love hot hatches. So I've test-driven a few, namely those 3 cars in the title, and I just want to share my opinion with you guys. No pictures though, but you can always use google image search. So let's get started.

The cars: Ford Fiesta Sport 1.6L Ti-VCT, Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI, and Peugeot 308 Turbo.

Brief comparison:

Ford Fiesta Sport 1.6 Ti-VCT
VW Polo 1.2 TSI
Peugeot 308 Turbo 1.6
Top Speed
Fuel Consumption
OTR Price
RM 82,888
RM 109,593
RM 118,888

Let's start with one of the most important aspects that influences my decision when buying a car, which is the:


In terms of looks, I'd say the Fiesta is the best looking hot hatch among the three. Its blend of sharp lines and smooth curves looks absolutely stunning and the car looks fast even when it's not moving. The aggressive design reminds you that this car is meant to be driven to its limits. This is the sort of car that will always get your head turned even though you've seen it a million times. The Polo, on the other hand, looks rather dull to be honest. Not unexpected from a German brand. You can imagine that the first thing that comes to designer's mind when he's designing the car is the word "precise", rather than "beautiful". Mind you, it's not at all ugly, but it just doesn't look very exciting. It's as interesting as a washing machine. The Peugeot is even worse. Honestly, I can't really tell which Peugeot is which. They all have the same headlights and the same idiotic grin on the front bumper. And the 308 in particular, looks a bit feminine.

So the Fiesta is currently leading the first round. Now let's look at their:


Looking at the spec sheets, the Peugeot has the highest horsepower among the three at 156hp. The Fiesta and the Polo has 118hp and 104hp respectively. At this point you might think that the even though the Peugeot has the most horsepower, it is also the heaviest among the three, therefore in terms of horsepower-per-tonne ratio it would probably lose to the Fiesta or the Polo. But if you calculate the hp/tonne ratio of all three, the Peugeot would still have the highest hp/tonne at 109hp/tonne, while the Fiesta and the Polo has 102hp/tonne and 92/tonne respectively.

Anyway, those are just the specs. Even though the Polo has the lowest hp/tonne ratio, it actually feels a lot quicker than the other two, thanks to the 175Nm of torque available from 1550rpm. The Peugeot might have the quickest 0-100km/h time at 9.1s, but it doesn't feel as quick as the Polo, probably due to its bigger size. Accelerating in the Polo feels like riding a roller coaster. The average speed of a roller coaster is just about 130km/h. But when you're riding one, you'd probably swear that it feels a damn lot faster than that. The average speed of a Boeing 747 is 900km/h, but I'm pretty sure that you didn't scream as much in the Boeing. Being in the Peugeot doesn't exactly feel like that, but I'm sure you get what I'm trying to say here.

In a straight line, the Polo would be a joy to drive. The quick acceleration, the seamless gear changes, and the stability at high speeds would give you a lot of fun on an open highway. When starting from a standstill, the 1.2 TSI engine feels a bit lethargic, but once the turbo kicks in, you get this sudden surge of power which will put a huge smile on your face. Peugeot's 1.6 turbocharged engine is even more capable. Even though the 308 is a lot heavier than the Polo, the 240Nm of torque could launch the car forward with ease. Plus the turbo lag in the 308 is not as noticeable as the Polo's. The Fiesta, though sporting a 1.6L engine with an extra 14hp compared to the Polo, suffers in terms of torque. It's not slow or underpowered by any means, but compared to the other two cars with turbocharged engine, this one doesn't feel as lively. The good news is, the engine sounds brilliant!

Ride and Handling:

This is where the Fiesta really shines. The car feels planted through the corners. It's like driving the car on a magnetic road. The way the car sticks to the road and the amount of grip it has make you feel like you could do anything in the Fiesta. The steering feels light, but it's still precise and gives good feedback. The Peugeot and the Polo aren't too bad, but they still have a long way to go to catch up with Fiesta's handling. Peugeot's ride is a bit on the firm side, but it doesn't really help with the corners. It does, however, help transmit the surface of the road directly to your buttocks.


The Fiesta and the Polo are not as big as the Peugeot, but they're still comfortable enough to sit 4 adults nicely. The Peugeot on the other hand, feels as spacious as a proper sedan. Even with the front seats pushed halfway backwards, the rear passengers still have plenty of legroom. The Peugeot would be the most comfortable for a long journey, provided you're driving on smooth tarmac without potholes and speed bumps.


The Polo might have the best interior build quality, but it's not really packed with other features, save for the basic ones. No Bluetooth, no USB connectivity, no cruise control, no sat nav. Even though the interior is a mixture of brushed metal, soft paddings, and genuine leather, there are still some cheap plastic bits here and there. The interior of the Fiesta looks great, though you're pretty much surrounded by cheap plastic. Kinda like silicone boobs; great to look at, not so to touch. The Peugeot's interior build quality is somewhere between the Polo and the Fiesta, though in terms of features it has the most among the three. Cruise control, sunroof, USB, Bluetooth connectivity, dual zone air-con, rear air-con, and chilled glove box, to name a few. I particularly like the dual zone air-con, which provides separate air-conditioning for the driver and the front passenger. My girlfriend always complains that it's too hot and wants to set the air-con to the max, while I always complain that it's too cold and want to turn down the air-con. The dual-zone air-con should solve the problem.


Hot hatches are supposed to be cheap and fun to drive, and the Fiesta fulfills these criteria brilliantly. The Peugeot is a bit too bulky, while a hot hatch is supposed to be light and nimble. And the Polo is just too boring. If the title of the review was "Fast-but-dull Hatches Review", then the Polo would've bagged the award. Now you might think that I've chosen the Fiesta as the best among the three because it's the cheapest. Well let me tell you this, if I were to have all three cars in my garage right now and I'm supposed to take one out for a spin, I would always take the Fiesta.


  1. i say take the fiesta. it's one hell of a car for something that's below 100k.

  2. now just have to decide on the colour. im thinking orange. anyway, u still gotta test drive the Polo or the 308. turbo engines are awesome.

  3. no doubt that that the 308 turbo r the best among these 3....BUT should consider on the maintainance and service fee!! Always heard from others that if the "turbo" engine got any malfunction and its out of the warranty..then u have to folk out a lot of $$$$$ for the repairing cost!
    If me...i go for the F. fiesta! To look more fresh & stylish! and the most important is bcuz its under my budget....below RM100k!!
    jus my 2 cents!

  4. haha, im not the type to worry about maintenance and service fee. if i like the car, then i will buy it regardless of maintenance or resale value. but anyway, for me, i like the Fiesta as well. hopefully can get it within these few months. now dunno what colour to choose only... :P

  5. wow danny..maintenance will affect my buying decision most! haha :P
    i like fiesta too but i still feel a bit disappointed ours didnt come with the shiftronic when thailand has them event though all manufacture same place..kedekut lah! lol

  6. but then i remember imported cars mostly come with reduced specs after all so apa nak buat :(..huhu

  7. Eh, i thought all Fiesta worldwide doesnt have Shiftronic? They have Powershift, but no manual override. This Fiesta is the closest I can get to a Mustang, cos it's a Ford. :P

  8. ahhh yes2 i meant the manual override lor..
    that is very important for me..kehkeh :P

  9. Oh... hehe. The manual override is fun sometimes, but then i dont think i will use it that often. Plus living in KL dont think will be convenient, cos jam most of the time. :P The Focus has manual override, but out of my budget.. :(

  10. not use often of course but will use when we wanna have serious fun..that's what im talking about..hehe
    but still among these 3 u mention i too will go for fiesta :D
    impressed with ur research..make more! for 2.0l car pulak..hehe

  11. hehe, when overtaking cars it's kinda fun to use manual override. The Polo seems to excel in this area with the smooth DSG gearbox. But shifting through 7 gears is a bit tiring actually. Only fun for a while, after that I didnt bother with the manual anymore. Just put into Sports mode, fun and more convenient. :P

    U also looking for a new car ka kurz?

  12. hoho..tengah cari gak but in mind only fiesta or forte..totally different but price matters..heheh

  13. haha, Forte is a good choice as well. I'm impressed that Kia could come up with something as good looking as the Forte. but my heart is longing for the Fiesta. U pun take la Fiesta kurz, later we can join Fiesta club together. If there's no club, we make our own. I president, u vice president. Hahaha.

  14. hahah mana leh takde lagi fiesta search straight got forum already..lool

  15. Just an update, I've placed an order for a black Fiesta!! :D