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TSIVipul 31st May 2017 05:05 PM

Volkswagen Ameo Review & Pictures: VW's Cameo
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Volkswagen Ameo Review Synopsis:
  • Volkswagen Ameo price tag starts at Rs.5.51 Lakh (Petrol) and Rs.6.80 Lakh (Diesel), Ex.showroom, Delhi.
  • Launched on Feb 2, 2016, Volkswagen Ameo is available with choice of manual as well as automatic gearbox.
  • The 1.2L Petrol motor churns out a peak power of 75 PS with peak torque of 110 Nm. ARAI Mileage: 17.83 Kpl.
  • The 1.5L Diesel motor on Ameo delivers 110 PS with 250 Nm torque. ARAI Mileage: 21.66 Kpl (MT) & 21.73 Kpl (AT).
  • A list of segment firsts, tough build, great drive-ability along with a potent Diesel engine mated to DSG make it a very competent package.


TSIVipul 31st May 2017 05:06 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Introduction

Back in 2010, with products on its dealerships’ floors being the comfortable Jetta, niche Beetle, plush Passat and the brute Toureg, Volkswagen started out primarily as a luxury brand in India. Following their top-down approach and having gained a solid reputation as premium automaker, VW rolled out its first budget hatchback for the local market named Polo. It was a welcome move and well-received by the customers. Fast-forward 7 years; it still looks just as much fresh. However, what has changed is the momentum that compact sedan segment has gained which runs exactly parallel to the premium hatchback category (in terms of pricing). This segment was introduced by the Tata Indigo CS and ended up becoming next goldmine after entry level hatchback segment. Even though Volkswagen refrained from getting into it for a while but Indian customers demanded otherwise. They already had a Polo with boot stuck on it and called it a Vento. Chopping it off less than sub-four meter was a possibility but Germans know where to draw the line. So here we have a revised Polo-with-a-boot under four-meters that’s now known as the Ameo. We spent about a thousand kilometers in the different iterations of Volkswagen Ameo to find out if its worth it. Let’s take a look. [Top]

TSIVipul 31st May 2017 05:09 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Exteriors Design

When it’s approaching from distance, even well-trained eyes will have a tough time to distinguish the Volkswagen Ameo from Polo. I’m a Polo owner and of late, whenever I spotted an Ameo coming forth, I have been right to identify it only by fluke. The front is so familiar to that of the Polo with only a couple of less than subtle changes (now Polo also comes in Blue shade, putting an end to another distinguishing factor). The variation includes strong creases on front bumper under the headlamps, opposed to Polo’s plain and clean curve. The long hood with twin fine creases, bulging out wheel arches, sleek front grille with a VW logo in the center, dual beam headlamps with smoked out effect and a chrome strip on the black section of the bumper are my favorite.

The strong lip at the lowest section of front bumper, all are absolutely same in Polo and Ameo. Compared to the chrome-laden front with a large grille in the likes of Ford Aspire, Maruti Dzire or Honda Amaze, Ameo carries an understated tone with limited creases and chrome. It’s timeless design which will age well. Overall, the front looks are rather plain and appealing with few but pleasing drama attached. The laser welded roof is plain and since there are no thick and ugly black strips running on either side, it helps the car look better, especially in lighter shades. The buyers with an eye for detail are definitely going to appreciate certain touches. Proceed towards the side profile and that’s where the actual difference lies. Just like Vento, until front quarter, it closely resembles to the Polo. While Vento offers a clear indication through a larger rear door, the chief difference in Ameo is evident only after the C-Pillar.

In terms of creases, it’s totally borrowed from Polo; upper and softer crease begins at headlamps and goes all the way to the taillamps. If you look at the front quarter panel of a clean and well-waxed Ameo by standing next to the headlamp, you’ll observe multiple shades of the paint finish, one on the upper section of the said crease and one on the lower. That said; the paintwork, quality, gloss and depth are simply class leading. You will find reasons to detail it. Coming back to the difference past the C-Pillar: What is that? First the C pillar itself, while in the Polo we have a really thick C-Pillar. In the Ameo, there is a good amount of cut into the metal; the C-Pillar now sharply descends downwards to give the shape to the boot lid (aka sedan boot).

If you give a thorough look at the comparison snaps posted, then you’ll notice that there is a lot more than meets the eye. While the length of the Ameo is just a couple of millimeters longer than the Polo, how Volkswagen managed to accommodate a boot? Well, they haven’t pulled out a magic-trick. The engineers have simply have cut the space that occupies the sections of Polo, made the required adjustments and eureka! the boot is added. Firstly, thickness of C-Pillar is reduced (but don’t worry, headroom is still acceptable), then the rear-end shape itself is modified. Where the rear bumper and bootlid of the Polo bulges outside in the middle, in Ameo, it’s almost flat (therefore making the side-view of boot longer, providing an illusion of length). Secondly, where is the rear bumper? Yes, that plastic contraption placed below the bootlid is a bumper (as in all compact sedans), nevertheless it is strong enough and feels like that of a Volkswagen.

The rear design is edgy, no two ways about it. One look at the Ameo from back and I was ready to bet my moustache that the design-team is from Skoda and not from VW. The bootlid has the edgy design around the number plate housing, something that makes us think more of the Rapid than of Vento. Additionally, they have integrated a small lip on the top of the bootlid to break the mass probably and add to the aerodynamics too. The rear is boxy in terms of overall design. Taillamps are inspired neither from Polo nor from Vento but seem rather like amalgam of them. What we particularly love in overall exterior design are the minor details which VW has taken care of, as usual. The shut lines are tight and regular around the doors, slightly wider at boot and bonnet but still even and better than rivals. There is a sure shot assurance of the build quality with a heavy hood, well built doors which shut with a re-assuring thud. Door handles aren’t full chrome, but get a very pleasing chrome insert on top. The only grouse is light-built boot-lid though. [Top]

TSIVipul 31st May 2017 05:19 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Interiors Design
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The front doors feel heavy and well-built when you use them. They open in a triple stage action and then you are welcomed by a very nicely laid out cabin. That said; let me start with your first point of contact – the driver’s seat, starting with one negative – seat height. Ameo is based on Polo and Polo is a low-slung hatchback. I normally drive with my seat set at lower-most position and slightly laid back, this is really low – no matter what you say. You are virtually sitting directly on the road on a chair, so low it is. In fact, even if you set the seat at highest position, then also it is low. Elderly, injured people or the ones with a pain anywhere in their body; even if it’s a headache, won’t like the seat height. To give you a rather simpler idea, in the cars like Zest or DZire, you can simply get seated on the seat (Zest offers the nearly walking in option in fact) and then put your feet in, not the case with Ameo (Maruti Esteem seating anyone?). You position yourself and then let yourself fell into the seat, that’s exactly the way you enter this car. Once inside, the driver’s seat itself is the same, as in Polo and Vento. Cushioning is right, side bolsters are good and so is the lumbar-support, ergonomics are spot on and you actually like the quality of even the fabric used.

Where’s the issue? I personally was never happy with the under thigh support. If I pushed my seat back for better thigh support then I couldn’t fully press the clutch, if I adjusted it as per clutch requirement, then the thigh support was compromised. Steering position is not an issue – it is a good reach and rake adjustable unit. That said, I thought that raising the seat height will give me a better thigh support but I was in for disappointment. Seat height adjuster rises the hip point and I was robbed off the thigh support even more. So, low set seat with laid back position is the one for me. I’m not asking for adjustable thigh support, going by the price – but VW could have given a beefier front section of seat base for a better thigh support IMO. Don’t get me wrong, overall this seat is a nice place to be in. But if you bring in the seat from DZire (especially the new model) or Zest in competition, then you may feel a bit shortchanged. They are beefier units after all, and more supportive too.

If you have been into the highline trims of Polo, then you have been into the Ameo (Comfortline and Highline trim) too. There is a very classy application of beige and black coupled to arguably the best looking steering wheel in the segment. Not only best looking, it is indeed the best to hold steering wheel too. Now some may tell me how classy the flat bottom steering wheel of the new DZire is. Well, this is in a different league – that’s all I can say. Right from the leather quality to steering wheel design to the top notch quality horn plastic, it is arguably the best steering wheel to look at, hold and even use the steering mounted functions of. So, the first point of contact for the driver has left a good impression. Overall coupled to a height adjustable seat is the reach and rake adjustable steering wheel. Yes, you guessed it right. Finding the perfect driving position in Ameo is definitely easy, unless you are an XL sized man.

Old and familiar looking dashboard still looks classy and a bit dated though. Base Trendline trim gets the full black interior application, while the higher Comfortline and Highline get the beige + black combo. To each his own, I personally prefer all black a bit more, but for any regular family joe; the beige and black is going to make for a more pleasing looking cabin. The beige is used in lower dash, upper section of door pads above the armrest, all the pillars, roof and ahem…floor too. The roof liner is a high quality fabric and plastics all round are definitely high quality with a tight and decent fit – yes, they won’t start rattling like say, a DZire after you attain 25K Kms on odometer. Coming back to the dashboard, the already familiar dashboard is carried over from Polo (To Vento, to Rapid and now to Ameo). Overall it’s a well screwed unit with tough feeling plastics (it’s German after all) and really very flimsy AC vents :biggrin:.

The center console is finished in a really nice looking brushed aluminum finish and is slightly tilted towards the driver, people claim that it gives a cockpit type feeling but the ownership of two Polo is yet to give me the same. Anyways, the uncluttered looking dashboard is very functionally designed and clean looking center console results in better ergonomics, along with a top notch fit and finish, coupled to the premium looking and feeling buttons; those add to the richness of the cabin. Anyways, the nice looking steering wheel and a very nice to hold gear lever (in top end manual specially) to add the necessary drama to the equation. I have been into an all-new DZire just a couple of minutes ago. The Ameo feels distinctly better put together and definitely the plastics you get to touch and feel, are better quality and way better put together (especially the door pads etc, which have a flex in DZire, but feel rock solid in Ameo). I love the armrest on offer. The one on, say i20, is virtually useless for me as its too far back and not adjustable. Here VW has given their very thoughtfully designed armrest which is long enough that you will never need a reach adjustment and the biggest impression of mine for this unit is that it is height adjustable. Simply pull it up to your required height and enjoy the journey, no matter you are tall or short or whatever seating position you prefer, the armrest is 100% going to come handy. [Top]

TSIVipul 31st May 2017 05:27 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Interiors Design

The rear-doors are arguably lighter and don’t exactly offer that solid German “thud” which front doors does. They open and close in triple stage action, are not large in size and since roof line is also lower, so the ingress and egress at the rear isn’t too comfortable. Let me bring in the Zest again, as it totally demolishes the Ameo in this area. Once inside, what first grabs your attention is the rear AC vent (Xcent and Dzire offer it as well). Just like the Polo, rear seat legroom in Ameo is also tight and if I arrange the driver’s seat as per my driving position – then I can’t sit on the rear because my knees won’t have even an inch of clearance between them and front seatback. That said; there’s over-reaction given to rear seat space and it’s rather manageable enough that two guys of my height can sit behind each other, that also in a decent comfort. The seatbase is steeply inclined towards the front and hence offers a decent under thigh support (I have been into the rear-seat of DZire, which isn’t as good. The one on Zest is definitely better). The seatback angle is more on the relaxed side and the hip point is really low. How low? Well, low enough that even a 24 year old guy like me has to keep his hand on the rear wheel arch lining on the side of seat and push myself up to get out of the car. Once again, Esteem, you remember? If you do, then you know how to get out of the rear seat of an Ameo.

The window line is placed well and there is little feeling of claustrophobia. The rear windshield is huge and so are the windows. But then VW has put another spoilsport here. The rear windows don’t roll down more than around 65% (trust me, I measured using inch tape). That said, low hip point and a window not rolling down fully, mark my words, in fact note it down somewhere: never, never, ever get someone who’s suffering with motion sickness to travel in that seat. I had my aunt travel there and let me tell you, it was one hell of a journey where the car started smelling (she vomited partially in the car, as the window didn’t roll down completely and lane change was not possible to stop in a hurry). I had to spend 200 bucks for an interior clean up. Want to avoid this situation? Give the front seat to those who deserve it. BTW, people with motion sickness will complain least in Ameo since the seats are set lower than say, DZire and Zest. Hence, body roll is experienced least. The door armrests are placed conveniently, but Ameo skips a rear center armrest. Volkswagen should have provided one because looking at the huge transmission tunnel hump and front center armrest that extends till back, the fifth passenger will voluntarily want to take a bus.

In terms of storage spaces, there is no dearth of cubbyholes in Ameo. The front seat occupants get two large size bottle holders with really large door pockets (Yes, you can also push your car cleaning cloth in that pocket towards the rear section, there it will be safely kept and concealed too). There is a huge storage space provided ahead of the gear lever in the lower section of center console. Initially there used to be dual separate sections, one for the glasses and one rectangular cavity to keep wallet etc (I love that layout in my Polo), but Ameo gets a single, large squarish cavity with glass like impressions for cup holders. There is plastic folding B-shaped flap provided for additional support and remaining space to be used for the knick-knacks. Volkswagen, if you are listening to me, this is the worst thing you could do. In the older design, the frost water from the chilled cans or cups was limited to their area only, now that renders all space useless to park any paper or electronic item. The glovebox is deep and wide, provides cooling functionality too along with holders for coins, business cards etc. Adding to this, the armrest gets a good storage space for phone, wallet etc, with useless cubby storage spaces on both the sides of handbrake and under it.

It’s the rear passengers who are shortchanged. There are no front seat-back pockets (seat covers will solve that issue though) and the pockets on the rear doors are really thin. How thin? Well, if you weigh 90 Kgs and have large arms, then you can’t pull out a 5-rupee coin lying inside. All they get in the name of bottle/cup holder is one single holder under the rear AC vent. What if there are 2 occupants with a cold coffee cup each? Well, one will have to hold the other’s or use the space at a time. What I like though is the provision of small hooks on both the B-Pillars, where the you can hang the lighter stuff (It easily managed a 2 Kgs bag). In addition to the cabin storage is smaller than its competition, 330 liters of boot-space which used to be 14-liters more than the outgoing DZire, but is now smallest in the segment as the new DZire now gets 376 liters of bootspace. [Top]

TSIVipul 1st June 2017 04:26 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Petrol Engine Performance

The Ameo is equipped with everything good, but there is a chunk in the armor, in fact a serious one. The 1.2L 3-cylinder petrol engine is least powerful in its segment, with a rated peak power output of 74 BHP (@ 5,400 RPM) and 110 Nm of torque (@ 3,750 RPM). The figures are on a lower side, but this is indeed a simple MPFi engine without any kind of power or torque enhancing trickery like variable valve timing or direct injection. As a result of lowest peak power output and highest kerb weight, the power/weight ratio and torque/weight ratio figures stand at 71 BHP / ton and 105 Nm / ton respectively. Insert the key into key slot (Yes, Ameo doesn’t get a push button start) and twist it. Slight vibrations and this petrol three-cylinder motor come to life. There is slight vibration at the idle and you’re definitely going to miss the smoothness of its four-cylinder counterparts. Especially if Hyundai 1.2 Kappa is the engine you have driven, then you are in for a huge disappointment. Don’t get me wrong, the vibrations are still well controlled and there is slight pitter patter from the engine at idle (Around 900 RPM).

Clutch is on a lighter side with a long travel but a very nice and progressive feel, and gearshifts are light and very precise, with short throws. Slot into first gear and release the clutch slowly, the vehicle will slowly start moving forward with violent vibes, feed in some throttle and everything smoothens out. But there is another thing to note, as the revs climb up the rev band, this engine is well audible in the cabin and in fact sounds more like a diesel at times (Especially between 2000 – 3000 RPM) and then smoothens out once you start approaching the higher section of the power band. Since there is no top end enhancing trickery like VVT, so the engine, although strong at top end, is nowhere near to the top end performance offered by the likes of Suzuki 1.2K, Hyundai 1.2 Kappa or the Honda 1.2 i-VTEC. That said, it is still a rev happy engine which has a nice, linear power build up too. If you bury the A-Pedal, then what you notice is a decent power build up till around 5800 RPM, after which the power rapidly tails off with very less of it remaining past 6000 RPM mark, though the engine can still rev a bit further to redline.

This engine has vibrations, this engine sounds harsh, this engine makes least power and this engine hasn’t got a manic top end too. Then what to buy a car equipped with this engine for? Well, drivability is the forte of this mill. While we are well aware of the poor low-end of the other engines mentioned here, this 1.2 from Volkswagen shines exactly there. If you need an engine with a strong low-end and mid-range, this is the engine to look for. Shorter gearing (fifth gear is on a taller side though), coupled to a decent low end, makes sure that you require minimal gearshifts while pottering around the town or even going uphill. Don’t be fooled by the power to weight ratio and torque to weight ratio figures (they are poorer than even Wagon-R, but the real world situation is diametrically opposite), this engine knows how to pull and has peppy nature too. Throttle responses are decent and the power delivery is instant in most of the gears (we wish if it was equally stronger). In the urban conditions, you can drive at 20-25 Kph in third gear, 30-35 Kph in 4th gear and 40-45 Kph in fifth gear, there won’t be any vibrations or resistance from the engine, it will keep pulling cleanly. Only while ascending the inclines, you will have to shift a gear down. But still Ameo will manage that too without any high throttle inputs.

In terms of highway cruising, the performance is just adequate and you will have a hard time keeping with the bigger sedans or SUVs moving on highways at speeds over 100 Kph. Not because Ameo can’t do those speeds, only because it will have a slower progress while building up speed. On the highway, 70 kph comes smack at 2000 RPM in fifth gear and 100 Kph coming a shade below 3000 RPM, with 110 coming with the needle hovering slightly above 3000 RPM mark. That is much acceptable engine speed for most of the petrol cars in this segment. Overall it’s a commuter engine which is better driven in a relaxed manner. Its better you enjoy the drivability of this engine and let it keep driving you around in its comfort zone, pushing this engine out of it will not reward you with anything that falls in the category of fun. Additionally, the engine NVH is just acceptable, but the road NVH and wind NVH is equally good too.

You’ll be surprised with the fuel economy numbers this engine is capable of throwing at you in spite of a heavy body to lug around:
  • City Driving: 13.1 Kpl
  • Highway Driving: 17.7 Kpl
  • Highway Driving (Heavy Foot): 13.3 Kpl
  • Hilly Drives: 14.3 Kpl
  • Overall (400 Kms including City, Highway, Hills and Single Carriageway): 16.7 Kpl

TSIVipul 1st June 2017 05:18 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Diesel Engine Performance

If the 1.2 petrol is strictly commuter engine, the 1.5 TDi is definitely an enthusiast’s delight. While the petrol motor is least powerful in its segment, the diesel counterpart is exactly opposite and the most powerful engine on offer in its segment. With a peak power rating of 108.5 BHP (110 PS) @ 4000 RPM and a peak torque output of 250 NM @ 1500-3000 RPM, the power/weight and torque/weight ratio figures stand at a well respectable 93.29 BHP/Ton and 215 Nm/Ton respectively for the MT variants, and 91.71 BHP/Ton and 211.32 Nm/Ton for AT variants (Note: TL and CL trims are lighter in weight with even better figures). Again, no push button start, hence we insert the key into the key slot and turn the ignition ON. While the NVH in petrol disappointed us, we are quite impressed by the sound deadening in the diesel trims. Idle is at around 800 RPM mark with a decent refinement in the way the revs build up while accelerating. What is best about this engine is the torque spread. Although the peak torque comes up only after 1500 RPM, you still have ample torque to play with right from idle itself; hence you are virtually never left wanting for more power until you are on the wrong side of 4500 RPM, where the power is virtually nonexistent.

The MT car is equipped with the same 5 speed gearbox that we get to see on the Polo hatchback. There lies only one difference, the clutch feels a bit lighter than my 2015 Polo (perhaps newer version has it lighter). Press the clutch and slot into first gear, there you notice the first different between the petrol and the diesel Ameo. Clutch, just like the petrol is long travelling but progressive in action and hence recognizing the biting point is easy, but is harder as compared to the clutch of the petrol car, so is the gearbox. While on the petrol Ameo, you simply show the direction to the gear lever, in the diesel manual, you can feel a distinct tightness with which both clutch and gearbox work. Don’t get me wrong, the slotting is absolutely fine with absolutely zero notchiness (BTW did I mention how nice the leather wrapped gear lever is to hold?) and very well defined gates. There is a distinct difference between the way the diesel and petrol Ameo rides and handles.

The first gear is very short, second gear onwards is what you are actually going to drive in most of the times and they are all well defined and well spaced gear ratios. Since the peak torque begins right from 1500 RPM, every time an up shift done at 2500 RPM result in a very strong progress even at partial throttle inputs. Overall the engine is very responsive and throttle responses are sharp. It’s only when you are in an enthusiastic mood, the shifts feel a bit heavy, else this gearbox is very well coupled to the engine. 100 Kph comes at around 2250 RPM in 5th gear (Just like Polo 1.5 TDi), here we believe that VW could have used a taller fifth gear or an additional sixth gear, as the car feels to be begging for one while cruising on the highways. Overall progress is quick, while trying 0-100 runs, while we weren’t able to crack the tone under 14 seconds in the manual petrol, the manual diesel did the same a shade above 10 seconds (and below 10.1), with shifts being done at 4000 RPM, AC off and 2 on board. So, the performance is indeed quick and enthusiastic. Only grouse is the NVH, the engine is revving at 2250 RPM at 100 kph and hence is audible inside the cabin. DSG auto overcomes the shortcomings of manual gearbox; here is what I discovered while driving the DSG auto.

Volkswagen Ameo 1.5 TDi (MT) Mileage:
  • City Drive: 14.1 Kpl
  • Highway Drive: 22.0 Kpl
  • Heavy Footed Highway Drive: 15.2 Kpl
  • Hilly Drive: 17.3 Kpl
  • Overall (250 Kms in City, Highway & Single Carriageway): 19.6 Kpl

If I am asked over which trim of Ameo to choose, the diesel AT is going to be my answer. The 1.5 TDi coupled to the 7 speed DSG is simply a match made in heaven (reliability issues? Well, they are a thing of past, I have seen Vento TDi with over 1.2 Lakh on odo, with engine and gearbox untouched, many such examples nearing 1 Lakh are there in fact). The torque and powerful diesel mated to a very quick gearbox and a tight chassis is what I would any day dream of. Well, Ameo TDi DSG is exactly the same car. First gear is only meant for the starts from complete stops or when you start the car and move ahead. Else second is the gear of choice of the gearbox for anything from 0-25 kph. No matter how many times you slow down to near stop in stop go traffic, it’s the second gear which will do the duty. In fact I don’t find any reason for the gearbox to shift to first, as the vehicle is light enough (for the engine) for smooth movement right from complete stop.

Since it’s the DSG gearbox, the shifts are very quick in any condition and under light throttle; you literally can’t make out when the shifts do happen. While you drive with a very heavy foot, you can’t make out the shifts due to the acceleration, but they can be felt. Slot in the manual mode and try pushing, the engine will hold till 5000 RPM and then shift up, else normally the shifts are done around 4300 RPM even if you have buried the accelerator pedal in sports mode. In 7th gear, 80 kph comes at a real lazy 1500 RPM and 100 kph at 1900 RPM. At this moment, you realize how exceptionally VW has insulated the cabin as all the sound you get to listen is of the tyres rolling and wind, but nothing from the engine. In fact, it’s the DSG only which actually shows you how versatile and well tuned this 1.5 TDi motor is.

While driving in D mode, the gearshifts do happen around 2000 RPM under normal driving condition, 2500 RPM under moderate foot, 3000 RPM when you hold the throttle exactly at mid point with a very strong acceleration (I had overtaken an arrogant i20 CRDi driver without going past 3500 RPM even once, while he was accelerating hard to not let me overtake), anything more than half the accelerator and the Ameo is just a beast which will make you smile with the performance on offer. After several attempts, we couldn’t get any better than 10.3 seconds of timing for 0-100 with 2 on board and AC off, but that’s a respectable figure. What I particularly liked though is the diesel automatic and the way cruise control works in it. Here the performance of the car and the smoothness of the engine make sure that you always want to engage the cruise control time and again. And yes, the cruise control engagement (in all trim)) is very easy and accurate throughout.

Volkswagen Ameo 1.5 TDi (AT) Mileage:
  • City Drive: 13.8 Kpl
  • Highway Drive: 23.1 Kpl
  • Heavy Footed Highway Drive: 13.7 Kpl
  • Hilly Drive: 15.4 Kpl
  • Overall (700 Kms in City, Highway, Hills & Single Carriageway): 19.1 Kpl

TSIVipul 1st June 2017 06:40 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Ride, Handling and Braking
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Cruise Control

What I particularly like about Volkswagen is thoughtfulness they put in while designing their cars. Now we have many cars with cruise control buttons on the steering spoke. And the biggest issue with me is that my right hand normally is on the spoke or is the left one. Yes, I frequently end up fouling with buttons or loading them with the sweat. Cruise control is something that I always prefer to have somewhere else as I don't want to even accidentally touch the reset button while driving on a tight highway at 60 Kph. Volkswagen has solved this concern of mine. The controls for the cruise control are given at a very convenient and safe location on the left hand side stalk (I just love it). Simply turn the slider to on (Yes, if it's off, no chance of even an accidental reset) and simply press the set button. The car will be in cruise control mode now. You can use the up and down buttons to change the speeds (I guess its 1 press and release for 1 kph and continuous press for rapid acceleration). Touch the brake pedal to disengage the cruise control wherever you need to slow down, then press the reset again once you get an open stretch and enjoy the relaxed drive. I particularly liked the diesel DSG in this regard as you need not to make gearshifts too and the progress is really rapid when resetting the speed.

Just like the Polo and Vento, Ameo is also equipped with McPherson struts on front and semi-independent trailing arm suspension at the rear. Ride quality is supple and typical European in feel. Overall the suspension setup is neither too soft nor too hard, it's somewhere in between with slight bias towards the softer end. When it comes to the ride and handling, there is in fact a distinct difference between the diesel and the petrol versions. While the petrol Ameo (Just like Polo) feels a bit light at the nose, it doesn't feel as much composed going over the bad patches as the diesel one does. For the same reason, we could hear the rattling sounds of coins etc lying in the glovebox or cup holders in the petrol car, but the same was well-controlled in the diesel car. So, in terms of low to medium speed ride quality, it’s the Ameo diesel which feels very composed and well riding, while the petrol feels to be lighter at the front and until you take the bad section at a considerable pace with 4-5 people on board, the front of the Ameo petrol keeps feeling the same way (any Polo petrol owner can experience this while driving a diesel). As the speed builds up, where the diesel Ameo starts giving slight vertical movements, even at the slight undulations of the highway, this is where the petrol with its lighter nose shines. Overall ride quality of the Ameo is on a better side and while doing, say 100-120 Kph on the highways, you are going to admire the ride quality.

Just like in ride quality, there is a stark difference between handling too. Both diesel and petrol Ameo run on same set and same size tyres being 185/60 R15. But there is a difference between the grip (the wide turn on Rajnagar Extension in Ghaziabad, which I managed at around 100 Kph in Ameo Petrol, I couldn't take it at even 90 in Ameo diesel manual, but managed over 90 kph in Ameo diesel DSG AT), while the lighter petrol has a sharper turn in and feels to have a better overall weight distribution, the diesel car has a significant under steer. The 185 section rubber manages to offer a decent front end grip (of course, the rear inner wheel in the air) in case of the petrol with around 80 Kg lighter front (I measured front weight on a weighing bed, and if you keep only front wheels on the weighing machine, the Ameo petrol front end weighs around 80 kgs lighter, while kerb weight difference is around 95 kg), coupled to a decent suspension, which makes sure that the car strictly follows the line, same tyres in the diesel Ameo with a heavier front are found struggling for the grip and showing the signs of hard under steer.

When I tried the same turn on the diesel DSG AT, which comes equipped with ESP and TCS, maintaining the correct line was way easier than diesel MT, but still it wasn't as good as in case of Ameo petrol. So, overall in terms of handling department, it is the Ameo petrol that simply shines with a sharper turn in, better line following and better weight distribution too, hence lesser understeer. Now that's a shame that the engine simply doesn't complement the chassis and suspension. Steering wheel is light and quite direct, definitely not very good when it comes to the feel factor, only difference is that the steering wheel feels a bit tighter in the diesel Ameo at parking to moderate speeds, once you are at decent pace then there is no difference between the way the Ameo petrol or Ameo diesel steering behaves.

Braking is taken care by the disc brakes on front and drums on the rear. The pedal feel is decent and we tried the braking from 60-0, 100-0 and 120-0. Overall in terms of braking performance, it was the diesel DSG which performed the best and followed the line in all three tests of straight line braking, braking with light steering input and braking with 2 lane changes. We can't comment about the braking distance, as we haven't taken a note of it. But while braking from 60-0 and following all three maneuvers, there was near zero difference between the behavior of all three cars. While braking from 100-0, the straight line braking was accompanied by a minor left hand side drag in all three of the cars. 100-0, with light steering input was well satisfactory, with the diesel manual going slightly out of the planned path, but still under safe limits. 100-0 with 2 lane departure (we took a 7 meter departure in a gap of 28 meters) and a strong swerve with back in line, it was only the Ameo DSG AT, which comes equipped with the ESP that could manage to finally get to the desired point, the petrol Ameo simply couldn't get back in line after the swerve with front wheels loving grip and not able to catch the line again, while the diesel MT performed even worse (we tried same test in i20 diesel Asta and DZire ZDi, both performed worst, way poorer than Ameo Diesel MT and i20 was worst of all).

While we performed 120-0, it was only a straight line braking test where all three cars lost the straight line with left side deviation of around 3 feet (You get in another lane by around 1 foot, can be considered safe as you are coming to 0 from 120). What I liked specially is the way ABS is controlled, it's less intrusive and intrudes only and only when required. Even under hard braking in a progressive manner, there is a chance that the ABS of your Ameo won't even kick in, because it doesn't need to. Like any other sedan, the suspension is having a short travel (except Tigor and Zest, their suspension travel is like mini SUVs) and hence if you go into slight off road situations, then you are going to have a tyre in the air for sure. Overall the ground clearance is fine and we didn't scrape the underbody anywhere, even when we drove over a very poor section and took the car slightly off road.

Now getting straight to the point: are we impressed with the Volkswagen Ameo? Well, the answer here is tough. While the Petrol model managed to impress us with a good ride and handling package, coupled to a brilliant drivability, it has left us disappointed in terms of performance and NVH. The diesel manual, on the other hand, is a blast to drive and can plant a smile on your face anytime, but the handling could have been better. The diesel DSG AT is definitely the car that scores the highest. Only grouse we had with it is tight rear seat space, else it is nearest to what can be your perfect compact sedan at the price. I have keenly checked the driven the new offerings including Tigor and DZire. While the DZire offers an AT Diesel, its pricing makes the Ameo Diesel Highline DSG look even better deal with better engine, gearbox, build, features and a way better driving experience. [Top]

TSIVipul 2nd June 2017 12:43 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: You'll Love, You'll Loathe & Star Ratings

You’ll Love: [thumbsup]
  • Price; it’s a decent value for money.
  • A well-balanced ride and handling package.
  • Performance and frugality on offer by diesel engine.
  • Features, fit 'n finish of interiors. No apparent cost cutting.
  • Appreciable build quality, decent choice of materials and standard safety features across all trims.

You’ll Loathe:
  • Rear seat space is an issue for tall passengers.
  • Petrol 3-cyl engine is mediocre in performance.
  • NVH levels could have been better. Particularly in Petrol.
  • Spare parts and accident repairs might end up burning a hole in wallet.
  • Volkswagen's after sales is a risky proposition. They are a hit or miss, depending on the A.S.S.

Volkswagen Ameo Star Ratings:
Here's how to interpret above ratings: [Top]

TSIVipul 2nd June 2017 03:28 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Price, Specifications & Brochure
1 Attachment(s)

Volkswagen Ameo Price (Ex.showroom, Delhi):

  • Trendline: Rs.5,51,000
  • Comfortline: Rs.6,32,000
  • Highline: Rs.7,34,000

  • Trendline: Rs.6,80,000
  • Comfortline: Rs.7,79,000
  • Comfortline DSG: Rs.9,06,000
  • Highline: Rs.8,58,000
  • Highline DSG: Rs.9,86,000

Volkswagen Ameo Specifications:

  • Engine: 1198 CC
  • Power: 74 BHP
  • Torque: 110 Nm
  • Transmission: 5 Manual
  • Fuel Efficiency: 17.83 Kmpl
  • Engine: 1498 CC
  • Power: 108.5 BHP
  • Torque: 250 Nm
  • Transmission: 5 Manual / 7 Speed Auto
  • Fuel Efficiency: 21.66 Kmpl (Manual) / 21.73 (Auto)
General Specifications
  • Front Brakes: Disc
  • Rear Brakes: Drum
  • Front Suspension: McPherson Strut with Stabilizer Bar
  • Rear Suspension: Semi-Independent Trailing Arm
  • Fuel Tank: 45 Liters
  • Boot Space: 330 Liters
  • Length: 3995 mm
  • Width: 1682 mm
  • Height: 1483 mm
  • Wheelbase: 2470 mm
  • Tyre Size: 175/70 R14 | 185/60 R15 (Comfortline / Highline)
  • Turning Radius: 4.97 m
  • Ground Clearance: 165 mm

Volkswagen Ameo Exterior Colors:
  • Blue Silk*
  • Reflex Silver
  • Toffee Brown*
  • Candy White
  • Carbon Steel*
Note: Asterisk (*) denotes our preferred choice of colors. [Top]

TSIVipul 2nd June 2017 03:36 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Videos Review
Volkswagen Ameo TDi DSG Drive Modes
Volkswagen Ameo TDi Engine Start NVH
Volkswagen Ameo MID
Volkswagen Ameo TDi DSG Off-Road
Volkswagen Ameo TDi Ground Clearance Test

TSIVipul 2nd June 2017 04:25 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Pictorial Review
Here's how Ameo looks when parked right next to Tata Zest.

VW Ameo parked besides its own sibling. Polo's front bumper is meatier

The rear bumper of Polo is more rounded off. Look at how the rear bumper of Ameo is nearly non existent and flat.

Difference between the C-Pillar of both.

Even the key is well-built. No Maruti, Hyundai, Ford or Tata key feels even half as well built, heavy and durable.

Ground clearance is sufficient for such terrains.

Double barrel headlamps are powerful, stylish and functional.

Headlamp illumination is good in both low as well as high beams.

Front foglamps are functional and also double up as cornering lamps.

Edgy tail lamps do look nice.

Even better they look, when illuminated. It ain't LED, by the way.

Dual spray windscreen washers are height adjustable too.

Neatly concealed front tow hook.

The rain sensors for auto-wipe functionality.

This crease is the only differentiator from Polo's front bumper.

Very tasteful integration of chrome in door handles. I even tried to peel it off using the key, but it held very well.

TSIVipul 2nd June 2017 06:42 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Pictorial Review
No badging at the back of Petrol Ameo, other than the name.

The Diesel, however, receives a TDi badge.

Alloys are a direct lift from the Polo.

No under-hood insulation for Ameo Petrol.

The Diesel version gets a proper insulation though.

Turbocharger is mounted behind the engine in Ameo Diesel. Notice the full firewall insulation. No wonder why its NVH is so decent.

No such insulation in petrol Ameo.

No under-body engine protection cover in either trims. It should have been provided, considering our road conditions.

Tyre pressure placard is placed at the fuel lid.

Minimum legroom for front passenger and maximum for rear passenger. With the driver seat adjusted at my driving position.

Driver seat minimum and maximum headroom. Notice the thigh support, I'm, personally, not very happy with it.

Rear seat space with my driving position, I'm 5'10".

Rear seat maximum legroom.

Seat well-padded and well-contoured.

Observe how VW has cut the costs where it isn't apparent.

TSIVipul 3rd June 2017 04:48 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Pictorial Review
At 330 liters, the boot is now smallest in segment. Wide opening helps though.

Very well organized spare wheel kit. It's a space saver steel wheel with 175/70 R14 tyres. Tools are well packed and absolutely no rattle can be heard from it.

Where it gets a distinct advantage over others is when the rear seat is folded down, Now you can carry the items which none of the opponents can.

Child lock is key operated, I like this because these days kids are also getting intelligent enough.

Front doors are wide and heavy, rear ones feel distinctly lighter. Door pad fit, finish and material quality is simply best in class.

No leather wrapped handbrake and if the armrest is at its lowermost position, it fouls with the handbrake.

The large glove-box offers cooling functionality. It has separate slots for storing coins, cards etc on the lid.

Seat-belts are well concealed but aren't height adjustable. The nifty coat hooks provided on B pillars are very useful and strong too.

Trendline and Comfortline variants get manual HVAC controls.

While the Highline trims get a smart looking auto climate control unit

AC vents are a direct lift from Polo, they are functional and totally shut down too, but are flimsy in terms of build and break quite easily.

There are plenty of storage spaces around.

Front doorpads can easily fit a 1 liter water bottle, in fact even a 2 liter bottle can also fit if needed.

There is a small storage under armrest too. Since ICE gets mirror-link, you can put your phone here, but need to take care of cable routing to the head unit for mirror-link connection.

Notice these scratches on seat plastic. The seatbelt buckle is very close to the seat and is floor mounted.

So while using the height adjustment of the seat, it rubs with the plastic part. It's a source of rattle too in some cars.

Nice and meaty grab handles, rear ones get coat hook too.

Armrest console has bottle holder and rear AC vents with 2-side independent flow direction control. But no complete shut-off facility.

And it robs the rear passengers off the legroom. Look at the space between the armrest and rear seat.

TSIVipul 3rd June 2017 05:30 PM

Volkswagen Ameo: Pictorial Review
1 Attachment(s)
VW has provided a proper dead pedal, but clutch is placed too close to it. Anyone with a large foot will find the dead pedal useless.

Dead pedal is more usable in the automatic version, though we would have preferred a slightly bigger unit.

Various drive modes on display in MID. Check on the top right in MID screen in all the pics.

TDi redlines at 5500 RPM, though it upshifts at 5000 itself in manual mode, ~4500 in S mode and ~4200 in D mode, no matter how hard you push.

On the other hand, the petrol Ameo redlines at 6500 RPM.

Left hand side stalk has controls for cruise control and right hand side one has the wiper controls.

The gear lever on left is of the good-to-hold Highline trim, while the one on the right is equipped on Trendline and Comfortline trims.

DSG lever is a smart looking one though, notice the button there.

Notice the red backlight in the selected mode, here it's D.

This is how all the controls look when backlit in dark. The selected gear mode now turns orange.

And this is how the same controls look in daylight.

ICE is now a touch screen unit with a host of features. Offers Bluetooth connectivity, mirrorlink, reversing camera etc.

This is how the reversing camera display looks.

Attachment 227091

Headlamp controls located on RHS of dash. Pull the rotor switch once and it activates front fog lamps, pull it to 2nd step to enable rear fog lamps too.

Steering wheel is manually reach and rake adjustable.

Driver's seat is six way adjustable. Height adjuster raises or lowers the hip point though.

Driver side sunvisor gets a toll-ticket holder.

ORVMs have integrated turn indicators and are a size smaller than previous design. Notice small LED near the edge, it blinks with the blinker. Neat.

IRVM is large, stylish and functional. It is auto dimming too and works really well. Behind the IRVM itself is the rain sensor too for wiping function.

VW Ameo is a Polo with boot under sub-four meter yet it retains the core character.

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