Volkswagen Vento - typical German sensibility and quality

K Shivraj | Roadtest | October 23, 2013
Volkswagen Vento - typical German sensibility and quality

The Volkswagen Vento has been around for almost three years in the country and is an India specific model. Based on the Polo global platform, the car has the traditional three-box structure of a sedan, making it spacious and adds to the luxury quotient.

The newcomer in the Volkswagen Vento lineup is the TSI variant, that costs nearly Rs 10 lakh. It is powered by a 105 PS 1.2-litre, direct injection, turbocharged petrol motor, that is also found under the hood of the Polo GT TSI. Mated to a seven-speed, dual clutch automatic gearbox, the car is a strong performer and is involving to drive. The Veto TSI looks identical to other Ventos and comes only in the Highline trim.

The Volkswagen Vento features tight shut-lines, and taut surfaces intersected by sharp lines making it appear elegant yet understated. The front may look identical to that of the Polo, from the side the well proportioned three-box design is revealed, leading to the back which is somewhat blandly designed. With a wheelbase of 2,552 mm, the Vento is longer and roomier than many other cars in its segment.

Volkswagen has employed some of the greatly regarded German build quality in the Vento. Attention to detail right down to the panel gaps is evident, and a feeling of solidity is created with just the way the doors shut. The interiors of the car a spacious and airy, while not skimping on the use of high quality plastics on the dashboard and other surfaces.

The dashboard finished in black and beige doesn't make use of soft touch plastics, but seems like something that would age well with time. When in the driver's seat, the three spoke steering wheel draws attention along with the LCD display in the instrument panel. Embellishments on the top-spec Vento include brushed aluminium surrounds for he air con vents and switches.

The high spec variants are also feature packed with the likes of a CD player, climate control, electric mirrors, alloy wheels, remote locking, ABS and airbags. Another delight with the Vento are the comfortable seats, the rear seat especially, even if a few would find it a little lacking in under thigh support. A wider rear track than that of the Polo helps the car seat three people in comfort at the rear.

The 105PS, 1.6-litre petrol engine is clearly not as eager as the TSI's motor, but what the engine does offer is a strong mid-range that can be exploited with the right use of the cogs. Even the 5-speed manual transmission feels more responsive than the seven-speed auto box, even if it holds each gear for longer in sports mode. However the fun that can be had with the auto box can be boosted by manually overriding its control.

The Vento diesel on the other hand with its 105PS, 1.6-litre common rail turbo engine compares well with the Vento TSI in terms of performance. It is as involving to drive, and the availability of torque lower in the rev range enables the car to pull away swiftly. The car displays strong acceleration across a band that may seem a little narrow, but is highly rewarding nevertheless. Three digit speeds are attained with ease and the gear ratios of the 5-speed manual transmission are well placed. The Vento diesel, with oodles of torque is an easy car to drive in the city and an able high speed cruiser out on the open highway.

The Vento diesel averaged 15kmpl under a mix of city and highway driving conditions, while the 1.6-litre petrol averaged 12kmpl. A brief drive in the Vento TSI did not enable us to check its fuel efficiency, we however expect it to be on par with the Polo GT TSI.

The Vento is refined with the ride quality being among the best in its segment. The electrically assisted steering is perfect for city driving, but fails to weigh up well with an increase in speed. The steering does take away some of the involvement, and when pushed into corners the car does display some body roll. Despite this, handling is predictable and the disc brakes up front and drum brakes at the rear do a good job of stopping the car.

Solid build quality and an exciting diesel variant are the highlights of the Vento, if not its understated yet elegant appearance. The Vento TSI brings excitement to the petrol range, it is however too expensive. On the other end of the spectrum, the basic-spec Ventos are bland and we won't recommend them. Your best bet would be to stick to the Highline and Comfortline trim levels, especially in the diesel variant.

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