Volkswagen Vento Review


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One of world’s largest car manufacturer, the Volkswagen group and know in India as Volkswagen India have launched a slew of cars in the Indian market. Clearly they see the Indian market as one big opportunity to double their chances of overthrowing Toyota motors from the top spot. Their Indian operations as an independent entity started in 2007 with the launch of the Volkswagen Jetta followed by the Passat, Beetle, Phaeton, Touareg, Polo and now the Polo based sedan, the Volkswagen Vento. Actually speaking, the Volkswagen Vento is the only sedan in the Volkswagen line-up that has been launched first in India before the global market. This seems to be a good move by the manufacturer and we can’t wait to tell you the details about the new Volkswagen Vento.

Looks

The Volkswagen Vento in India is what we typically call as a hatchback with a boot job, much like the Maruti Dzire and Tata Indigo Manza. However the Vento begs to differ from the fact that its boot is so neatly integrated into the hatchback, that hadn’t you seen the Polo first, you would have always believed that the Vento came in first. It is that superbly executed. The shut lines are neatly done. The only gripe is that the Vento looks like a Polo, viewed head on. There is nothing to distinguish the Vento and the Polo from a distance apart from the lower air dam treatment and also the placement of the fog lamps.

The Volkswagen Vento sports the same teutonic looks of the Polo and it isn’t a bad thing except that the design team could have gone an extra mile to make some changes in the front end. The Vento shares a lot with the Polo other than the looks. Volkswagen India could have done well to integrate the turn indicators into the Vento’s outside rear view mirrors. The mirrors are body colored and are mounted atop black mounts.

From the side, you see the 414 mm of extra length of the Vento over the Polo. Its wheel base is increased by about 96 mm than that of the Polo’s. The wheel arches have the typical undertired look from the Volkswagen group and the Vento is no different. It has 15 inch wheels.The wheels are 7 spoke alloys on the

The rear is much like the Honda City’s but a bit more German in look. The tail lamp cluster is different than the Polo’s. By the way, the rear ends display a Volkswagen new and that is their full name on the boot. The VW logo doesn’t press down as the hatchback and the boot is opened by a key.

Interiors

The interiors are shared with the Polo as well. It shows a use of gray and biege unlike the black and beige for the Polo.The Volkswagen Vento in India is sold in Trendline and Highline variants. Both the variants get the same interior treatment.Starting with the doors, they don’t feel as heavy to shut as the Polo and this shows the cost cutting measure from Volkswagen India. The doors emit a hollow thunk and one which suits the Honda City more than a German saloon. The Volkswagen Vento sits lower than the Honda City and hence you have to crawl inside rather than climb inside. The dashboard is of the non reflective variety however feels built out of hard plastics. This is a far cry from the Volkswagen India group cars, however the plastics seem to be of the durable types and inside the theme of function over form takes precedence. Fit and finish is top notch with no uneven panel gaps or build quality. A glaring omission or should we say two are the lack of steering audio controls, bluetooth and no door locking. Yes, the Volkswagen Vento like the Polo makes do without central or auto locking. In other cars in this price bracket, the doors automatically lock once the car is in motion. In the Volkswagen Vento, you have to manually operate it from the drivers seat. There is a door opening warning missing from the Multi Information Display. The MID shows instant & average fuel consumption, odometer readings, distance to empty, schedule for next service, gear shift indicator, outside temperature and time.

There are a lot of cubby holes and ones built with passion {as the TV Ads for the Vento suggest}. There is a rubber cushion in the cup holders and door pockets. A huge glove box dominates the dashboard and it is also carefully thought of. The driver arm rest is a thoughtful feature however it interferes with the operation of the hand brake.

Apart from the Linea, the Volkswagen Vento in India is the other car in its category to offer rear AC vents. The AC vents- four at the front and two at the rear can be individually controlled and the flaps can also be completely shut off. The climate control present in the Highline variants feature small to read signs. The stock audio system sounds okay but not to impressive.

The driver’s as well as co-passengers seats are fully adjustable. The driver even gets lumbar support. The steering is also rake and reach adjustable. One notable feature is that the rear seat passengers can control the slide of the front passenger seat by a lever which is placed next to the rear Aircon vent.

All the controls fit in easily and it is some quirks that marr the otherwise beautiful cabin. The indicator stalks are on the left hand side of the steering column and should be have been on the right as is the norm. The car has a Skoda-like foldable premium key. The rear quarter glass as well as use of bright cabin materials make the cabin feel airy.

Handling and ride quality

The Volkswagen Vento uses an ubiquitous McPherson strut layout for the front suspension , while the rear makes do with a semi-independent trailing arm. The ride quality is firm but not entirely disconcerting. It is quite compliant over sharp bumps or ruts but low speed ride quality is not that magic carpet like the Indigo Manza. It is more on the firm side as the suspension has been tuned for handling than ride quality. However unlike the Manza, you don’t have to slow down for potholes and ruts on the road, as the suspension takes everything in its stride. The suspension though does announce what it is doing though.

While it might not have the best ride quality, what it does is offer the handling of the Polo hatchback. It displays poise around corners and straights. At the very limit, it would understeer safely and play no nasty tail sliding games. The steering is light and you can use your finger tips to control the car in the congested city traffic. However this isn’t a speed sensitive steering wheel and doesn’t weigh up nicely while on the highway. It feels vague and sort of disconnected from the driver. The NVH is well taken care of with little or no wind noise or for that matter tyre noise filtering into the cabin.

The seats are comfortable and are made of neither a soft or firm clothing. It has just hit the sweet spot between both. Front passenger and driver have pretty much space to play around with and with the Volkswagen Vento’s increased wheel base over the Polo, the rear passengers cannot complain as well. The rear seats can qualify as a 2 seater only since there is a high transmission tunnel intrusion and this pretty much takes up the space for the middle passenger. The boot space is also good at 460 liters though there are suspension mount intrusions. The loading lip is low though and this makes a case for heavy suitcases.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

The new Volkswagen Vento is sold in petrol and engine guises. Each have two variants for the manual tranny and only a 6 speed automatic for the top of the line Petrol motor. The variants are the Volkswagen Vento petrol Trendline and Volkswagen Vento petrol Highline alongwith the Volkswagen Vento petrol Highline automatic. The diesel gets the Volkswagen Vento TDI Trendline and the Volkswagen Vento TDI Highline variants. The 1.6 liter petrol engine makes do with 106 Bhp @ 5,250 rpm and about 153 Nm of torque (@ 3,800 rpm. This is quite low than the competition, read the Honda City, for which the Volkswagen Vento squarely aims for. The petrol feels sluggish to move around with while starting of and throttle responses aren’t that sharp. Special mention must be made of the gearshift, which is one of the slickest in the business and certainly above the Honda City’s. The Polo’s 3 cylinder motor doesn’t hold a candle to the Vento’s 1.5 liter engine. The petrol Vento, viewed alongside the Honda motor isn’t as refined or eager to meet the rev limiter, but does its job well. The gearing is slightly on the taller side to maximize fuel economy and so the motor isn’t that eager in town. The petrol Volkswagen Vento goes from 0-100 in 13.3 seconds. Its top speed is 178 Kmph.

The diesel Vento is in another league of its own. It smokes the Hyundai Verna as well as the Fiat Linea Multijet. The Volkswagen Vento diesel goes from 0-100 in 11 seconds flat and to an estimated top speed of 186 kmph. The gear shift is slightly on the notchy side for the diesel and requires more effort to slot it into the gear than the petrol unit’s. The diesel clatter is quite audible during start up and is quite similar to the Pumpe Duse unit found in sister concern Skoda’s Laura as well as the old Octavia. Once warmed up, the diesel settles into a smooth idle, very much like its common rail engine should. The 1.6 liter TDI engine pumps out 104 BHP (@ 4,400 rpm and makes 250 NM of torque between 1,500 – 2,500 rpm. This is one rev happy diesel and much like the other diesels from its family, doesn’t put out power in a linear way. The MID for the Volkswagen Vento TDI  Highline variant instructs one when to upshift or downshift so as to eke the maximum fuel efficiency as well to limit damage to the engine and transmission. On the run though, the diesel remained calm and composed to its indicated redline of 5,300 rpm. However vibrations through the gear stalk as well as pedals could be felt.

The Volkswagen Vento petrol Highline automatic has a slick shifting 6 speed automatic. This also lacked the initial poke however the gearshifts were smooth and the car feels pretty much easy to drive. Due to the high non-adjustable rear head rests as well as the high boot lid, rear visibility is impacted. The inside rear view mirror is useless as it isn’t auto dimming however the outside electric rear view mirrors help immensely in reversing chores.

Braking is perfect on the Diesel Vento as well as the Petrol Vento. Traditional setup of Discs at the front and drums at the rear retard the car well, though there is some nose diving found on the diesel variants when braked hard. The Volkswagen Vento Highline variants get ABS alongwith EBD and the Trendline has to make do without them. Safety is taken care by two airbags on the Highline variants, collapsible steering wheel and 3 point ELR seatbelts.

Fuel efficiency for the Volkswagen Vento Petrol manual was overall a decent 15.83 kmpl, for the automatic petrol it is 14.4 Kmpl and for the diesel Vento, it was a high 20.54 kmpl. This figures should give the Honda City as well as the rest of the competition some shivers.

Verdict

The new Volkswagen Vento has arrived and in good measure. It has the Polo’s good looks to go with a nicely done boot job. It has a decent pair of engines, a perfect transmission plus a boon with the automatic one. It also gives a good ride and handling package, likeable interiors and fuel efficient engines. The icing on the cake is that the Volkswagen Vento petrol Trendline version starts at Rs. 6,900,00{ex-showroom Mumbai} going upto Rs. 10, 234,20 for the Highline automatic version. The diesel slots in between this price range. This would make it one of the most competent package for a mid-size saloon in the market.

Technical specifications of the Volkswagen Vento

Name: Volkswagen Vento
Model: Petrol/ Diesel Highline
Fuel Consumption: Highway 16.00 kmpl/20.00 kmpl
Fuel Consumption: City 12.00 kmpl/14 kmpl

ENGINE SPECIFICATIONS

Displacement: Petrol/Diesel
1598cc, 4 Cylinder, 8 Valve/ 1596, 4 cylinder TDI
Engine Type: Petrol/ Diesel
Maximum Power: 105 Bhp @ 5250 rpm/ 104 BHP (@ 4,400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 153 Nm @ 3800 rpm/ 250 NM @ 2,500 rpm

OTHER SPECIFICATIONS

Seating Capacity: 5
Tyre Size: 185/60 R15 alloys
Suspension: Suspension struts, wishbone, Anti-roll bar
Boot Space: 500.00 ltrs.
Steering: Electronic Power
Brakes: Front Disc, Rear Drum
Gears: 5 Manual / 6 speed automatic optional on the Highline Petrol
Ground Clearance: 168.00 mm

3 Replies to “Volkswagen Vento Review”

  1. I got myself a Volkswagen Vento petrol Highline model. it is working like clockwork till now. Interiors are spacious and I think better than that of the Honda City. I have actually saved about a lakh by buying the Vento and not the City. The car also looks great in the stately white color that it is offered in. frugal also. It gives me about 11.8 kmpl consistently in the city with the AC on. Yet to give it to the service center and that is a freaking 38 kilometers away from my home. Suspension feels very good unlike the City’s or even the Ford Fiesta. Engine seems a bit underpowered on the highway but then 80 clicks or even for that matter 120 is where the engine shines. Beyond it, there doesn’t seem to be much poke. Every one in my area loves the car and I do get the average kya hain question everyday.

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