Volkswagen Vento Road Test Drive Review


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In order to grab hold of the C-segment market in India, after winning hearts of audience with Polo, Volkswagen has now come up with the Vento, which essentially is a Polo Sedan but comes with a significant price difference. Introduced in a unique launch ceremony and promoted using many attractive marketing strategies, Vento is here to answer the Fiat Linea, Honda City, Maruti SX4 and Ford Fiesta. The Automotive India finds out how.
 
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Looks and Design.

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Picture the Volkswagen Polo, and now neatly stick a boot on its rear. That’s it. You just got how Volkswagen Vento looks like. Apart from the fog lamp design, This car has ditto Polo like simple yet contemporary front looks, with an elegant design which increases the appeal of a sedan, also the sharp edges on lower-half of bumper provide an integrated skirts like appearance and make the car look sporty enough. Perfect for making a statement quietly and letting others know that you have arrived.

Well, a manufacturer’s idea of transforming hatch into a sedan is not a very new, some carmakers like Tata Motors and Maruti Suzuki have tried and tested this, and in fact tasted a success too, but however, the looks of those cars eventually turn out to be subjective. Although, Vento is not the same story, Volkswagen has done the job perfectly right with cleanly integrated boot. Moreover, there is no ‘chopped- off’ feel like generally noticed in earlier Indigos. Its waist line is thicker and blended with bold wheel arches.

Vento’s slightly high-positioned boot all needs to get used-to but still won’t be a big pain like of an SX4 or Fiesta, thanks to broad rear windshield which helps giving an idea of what’s going on behind. ‘Volkswagen’ and ‘Vento’ badges take their positions in the lower opposite corners of boot and stretched pentagonal tail lamps are not something to write home about, similar to Polo's, they appear cheerless. Vento’s Highline variant comes with 185/60 R15 Seven Spoke chunky alloy wheels, where as the Trendline offers 175/70 R14 steel wheels as standard.

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Interiors and Comfort.

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‘Thud’ sound from the doors of Vento comes equally solid as in Polo sibling, although, getting in and out could be slightly difficult exercise for aged persons, but once entered in, you immediately feel the superior quality. The dashboard color combination used is much better than seen in other cars of same segment, also the outside view is clear and interiors are airy too. Three spoke steering feels lighter and weighs well, thus, parking is absolutely fun to do with Vento. Because most of the components of Vento are rented from Polo, it doesn’t makes much distinguished inside out, except for some features and gadgets. Volkswagen Vento doesn’t get steering mounted audio controls surprisingly but the well-integrated 2DIN audio system has been made such that it is tilted towards driver side. Nonetheless, Sound quality of the system is average but good for basic listeners and non-availability of Aux In and USB ports was again unexpected. Top-end variant offers Automatic Climatic control which cools the cabin in minutes, Vento also has Rear AC Vents (Like Linea) which helps making the journey comfortable even if you decide to sit behind.

Inside Rear view mirror is small and gives poor rear visibility; also, large rear seat headrests minimizes the view. Arm rests are completely tailored for your needs and smaller compartment inside lets you store mobile, gadgets etc. safely. However, Worst part is probably handbrake lever hidden inside the front arm rest, resulting that you have to use parking brakes incase of immediate urgency. All door power windows comes with anti pinch safety as standard and central lock and unlock button is right there on the driver’s end. Vento, unfortunately, doesn’t offers dead pedal and other pedals are placed a tad too closer which can be a problem if you wear wide sole sport shoes. Seats are well reclined with good thigh and shoulder support, resulting that car can accommodate total 5 persons without much fuss but rear leg room remains mediocre for anyone above 5.10" of height.

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Engine and Gearbox.

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Under the hood, Vento receives 1598cc 4 Cylinder In-line DOHC engine which is simply one of the best performer, and churns out 104 BHP @ 5250 RPM and 153 Nm of torque @ 3800 RPM, that is 12BHP lesser than Honda City. Press the gas pedal & you don’t find Vento pushing beyond your imagination since there is very less action at lower RPMs, This makes petrol Vento lose the game if raced on a track with Ford Fiesta 1.6.

Noe, Crank the engine, Vento doesn't jerk much as the Polo. Up to 3000RPM, Vento feels home and is silent due to better quality insulation material used. But when pushed beyond 3500RPM, adrenaline rushes into the veins and racing noise from engine just growls your senses. Low end torque is quite good and eases out traffic situations. Gearing ratios are commendable and brings in a perfect match for city/highway drive. However, at 4th/5th gear you might need to downshift for a faster overtakes since these gears are matched at taller ratios to enhance fuel efficiency. Comparing Vento with the City will be quite interesting and Vento may slightly lose in few areas, but no doubt that Petrol heart is an equal competitor. Pushing the Vento forward takes on easy 120+kmph without struggle.

Diesel Heart of Vento:
With 1600cc oil burner under the hood Vento is undoubtedly clear winner of the C segment. It is ultra refined diesel car which produces 104bhp @ 4400rpm of power and greater torque of 250Nm @ 1500-2500RPM. Till date Verna was the King of torque’ier engine, But there’s a change in game where Vento leads by 15Nm and even better than Laura or Jetta comparing the weight to torque ratio. Cranking the engine makes same jerk as petrol engine and a silent mill runs behind your ears unlike petrol. There is slight turbo lag till 1750 rpm which is acceptable, upon crossing 1800rpm mark Turbo splurges & makes a mark up to 5000rpm without any hassle. Vento's engine is definitely better than Polo's Diesel heart.

Gearing ratios are perfect, even at 20kmph with 3rd gear, Vento moves up easily and loves to live in traffic. Engine is quite mature which understands your command and there is literally no more downshifts for overtaking even if you are in 5th gear. Just tap the gas pedal and car is all set to race. On the negative side, you can find the drive train movement on your clutch pedals when revved hard.

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Performance and Safety.

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Like Polo, Vento (Diesel) is an excellent driver’s car in segment, Just for the refinement, gearing ratios and handling Vento stays a ahead of City, SX4 and even Verna. Save it for the FIAT Linea, as Vento is not rock stable as FIAT but still a decent competitor. Turning radius of 5.4mm is not surprising, but light steering wheel does its job fairly well.

Thanks to the slick shift gears in Petrol version, it’s short and sweet to work with, so going wrong is completely out of scope. Ground clearance of 168mm for Vento is same as Polo which means, it can take up most of those bumpy pot-holed roads in the city. There is not much noticeable body roll because of bigger, as well as wider air dams, Also it is equipped with McPherson struts + Stabilizer bars on front and Semi-independent trailing arm at the rear. Chassis is extremely fabulous with well weighted suspension setup to ease off the long trips.

We didn't get any traffic less stretch this time, upon pushing Vento to 120+ kmph at few stretches, it managed to handle all situations by swallowing bumps with no rattles and squeaks. VW’s claimed top speed is 183kmph for Automatic version, where as 185 Kph and 186 Kph for Manual Petrol and Diesel versions respectively. When burned from 0 to 100, Vento (Petrol MT) did it in 16 seconds which certainly can't be called class leading, and Diesel takes close to 21 seconds for same.

Electronic Anti Theft Immobilizer, Anti Lock Braking System, Dual Air Bags, Anti Theft & Interior Surveillance System, 3-point inertia front seat belts, Anti Pinch protection for all windows are the safety and security features present in Vento to name a few.

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Fuel Efficiency and Verdict.

The powerful 1.6L petrol engine delivers 10kmpl in the city & 15kmpl on the highways, where as torqueier diesel mill produces greater figures of 14-15kmpl in City & 20+kmpl on Highways. 55 Ltrs of fuel tank keeps you on the move for at least 800+ kms once filled.

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Initially, The C segment in India was monopolized by Honda City and it was a blind game for buyers, who were left with only handful of options, but in recent past, we have noticed some really interesting launches like Fiat Linea and now the Volkswagen Vento which are worth contenders in segment and could easily make you tempt for their value. Now that Vento is here and priced about close to the Linea, we can only conclude saying that if you are looking for sheer German reliability as well as quality, and still afraid of the Fiat India badge, why look anywhere other than Vento?
 
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Likes, Dislikes and Ratings.

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What We Like In VW Vento?
[thumbsup]

  • Refined Diesel Engine
  • Lots of Storage Space
  • Spacious front seats
  • Best Ride quality
  • Slick shift gears

What We Dis-Like In VW Vento? [thumbsdown]

  • Surprisingly, No Steering Mounted Buttons
  • Small IRVM doesn't provides clear rear view
  • Volkswagen's Weak Dealership Network
  • Improper placement of Front Arm rest
  • Petrol Engine is slightly noisy
  • Mediocre rear leg room

The Automotive India Star Ratings

  • Design and Quality:
    (4/5)
  • Comfort Levels:
    (4.5/5)
  • Performance:
    (4.5/5)
  • Ride Quality:
    (5/5)
  • Handling:
    (4.5/5)
  • Fuel Efficiency:
    (4/5)
  • Safety:
    (4.5/5)
  • After Sales Service:
    (3/5)
  • Value For Money:
    (4.5/5)
 
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Price and Specifications.

Price:

  • Petrol Trendline (M/T): Rs.6,99,000
  • Petrol Highline (M/T): Rs.8,23,500
  • Petrol Highline (A/T): Rs.9,21,500
  • Diesel Trendline: Rs.7,99,000
  • Diesel Highline: Rs.9,23,500
(Ex.Showroom, New Delhi)

Engine:

  • Max Power: 103BHP @ 4400 RPM
  • Max Torque: 250NM @2500 RPM
  • No. of Cylinders: 4

Transmission:

  • Manual
  • Automatic
Suspension:

  • Front: Mc Pherson Strut
  • Rear: Semi-Independent trailing arm
Brakes:

  • Front: Discs
  • Rear: Drums

Wheels/Tires:
Alloys, 185/60 R15

Dimensions:

  • Length: 4384mm
  • Width: 1699mm
  • Height: 1466mm
  • Wheelbase: 2552
  • Ground Clearance: 168mm
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 Liters
*(Engine specs for Diesel Highline)
 
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Pictures Speak.

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Road Test Credits

  • Road Test & Photography: Zinam
  • Edit & Format: 350Z
(C) The Automotive India. All rights reserved. Our content such as reviews, images etc. can not be reproduced in any form without written permission of our authority.
 

Akash

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Excellent review guys. Equally nice pics too.[thumbsup]

Somehow i have a soft corner for this sedan. Initially when i saw one of the Ventos on road, i thought this is just a Polo attached with a boot, but this report changed my mind and now i feel this car is a complete VFM product. With some interesting features(Auto ac, rear ac vents, competitive pricing) it looks like the monopoly of the Honda City is about to end.
 
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Great work Zinam & 350Z.

To me look wise, Vento is not that great (Polo looks much better to me).

For Petrol sedan option, City will continue to lead for different reasons. But for Diesel, Vento is one the best option.

@Akash, I don't think Vento has any new or segment first kind of features, but engine is on the top.

Comparision chart is a positive refresh on your review. 5-star from my side.[thumbsup]
 

Akash

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Excellent review guys. Equally nice pics too.[thumbsup]

Somehow i have a soft corner for this sedan. Initially when i saw one of the Ventos on road, i thought this is just a Polo attached with a boot, but this report changed my mind and now i feel this car is a complete VFM product. With some interesting features(Auto ac, rear ac vents, competitive pricing) it looks like the monopoly of the Honda City is about to end.
I forgot to convey my compliments to the interiors. They look superb. I loved the colour combo which has been used. However i wish they had designed the dash better.
 
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