One of the longest selling sedans in India is the Volkswagen Vento. This car had broken new ground in its segment when it offered a dual clutch (DSG) transmission. For a long period this was offered in the Vento. However, the company changed it to a regular six-speed automatic, when it introduced the 1.0-litre TSI engine, instead of the 1.2-litre one. Is this new combination worthwhile? How does it perform? Read on further to know.
The Vento was always a handsome and subtle looking sedan. This look is still being carried forward, albeit periodic cosmetic upgrades. This is good news for the VW loyalists, but nevertheless, the Vento has started to look dated, not in the design per se, but the fatigue of it being around for so many years. A new generation is what customers would like. The headlights add to some premium looks and there is a BS6 sticker at the rear, to differentiate it as a new model.
The interiors again are the same, with no major upgrade. It still feels well-built though and can last a decade easily. I like the steering wheel and the leather on it feels upmarket.
What is new in the Vento is the powertrain and this 1.0-litre engine has been mated to a conventional automatic gearbox to keep costs low and come out of the ‘Volkswagen means heavy maintainence’ syndrome that many buyers may have. This new powertrain has definitely helped Volkswagen in keeping the Vento price in check. Also, heavy localisation has helped this cause.
So how does the engine perform? Is the gearbox good enough?
Well, the combination seems good and whatever the 1.0-litre TSI lacks, in terms of some turbo lag at the low end, the gearbox makes up for it, as it delivers healthy torque at the bottom. This surely helps when you drive in heavy traffic situations, bumper to bumper as the drive is seamless. However, you would have to be careful and get used to it, as the vehicle lunges forward very eagerly when you dab the throttle. This can be tricky in tight parking spots, with a barrier or car in front, hence, I said, you would need to get used to it.
The highway performance is adequate, but quick overtakes will need a bit planning. The gearbox response is a bit slower than one would like, in a kick-down situation. Upshifts also are a bit slower than the earlier DSG unit. Nevertheless, the Vento is still a quick car and you would have no complaints on that front.
Its a joy to drive this sedan, as the handling and ride compliment the sprightly engine very well. Sharp corners are dealt with in a confident way and well-tuned suspension irons out most of the bad patches very well. The engine also feels very smooth to drive and refined as well. This 1.0-litre unit churns out 110bhp of power and 175Nm of torque, which feels adequate for your daily driving.
Priced at 12.99 lakhs, ex-showroom, the Highline variant gets LED headlamps, faux leather seats, cruise control and traction control. This is not the most affordable or feature rich sedan and you will miss a sunroof, bigger touchscreen, connected features and some more. However, the strong points of the Vento are a very European feel, spaciousness, overall comfort and most of all a pleasurable driving experience. In short, it is still a good and safe, no-nonsense family sedan.