The VW Vento was recently introduced as the 3 box variant of their Polo. Usually the Sedan variants of a successful hatchback tend to not be as popular. Take for instance the Swift Dzire, which did not get the same kind of overwhelming response as the Swift did. The Polo was VW’s first serious step to increase their market share in India. With the Polo, VW did have an excellent chassis as base for the Vento and along with VW build and quality and a decent price tag, they certainly hoped that the Vento would get the same warm response as the Polo.
In India, the Volkswagen Vento (Vento means ‘Wind’, similar to Passat which is a wind type too) comes with 3 Trims for the Petrol and 2 for the Diesel. The Petrol has the Treadline, Highline and Highline Automatic whereas the Diesel just has the Treadline and Highline. No Mid-level Comfortline, which is a shame as the mid level variants tend to be more popular than the top-end or base variants. Why the Diesel does not get a manual transmission I cannot tell. Automatics are gaining strong popularity in India and an automatic Diesel Vento would have been a beauty of a car (more on the Engine later).
The Treadline Variant gets Beige interiors, Power Steering adjustable for Reach and Rake, Central Locking, Power Windows (Driver gets controls to only the Front two), Rear AC Vents, Height Adjustable Seat Belts, Height Adjustable Front and Rear Headrests and Engine Immobiliser. The Highline, in addition to the Treadline Features, gets Climate Control AC, Height Adjustable Drivers Seat, Electrically Adjustable OVRM’s, All 4 power Windows with Auto Up/ Down feature with Anti-Pinch, Body Coloured Mirrors and Door Handles, ABS, Passenger and Driver Airbags, Keyless Entry, 7 Spoke Alloy Wheels, Front and Rear Fog Lamps, MID and a Stereo System (without Aux In / USB) with 4 Speakers.
The Front End of the Vento looks identical to the Polo, save a few very minor changes. The bold, sophisticated, masculine design of the Polo looks even better on the Vento. It’s not jazzy or funky like the current trend of car designs but has a very elegant look.
Keeping the taste of the Indian consumers in mind, Volkswagen have retained the multi-reflector headlights of the Polo. Also to keep the cost of the car and its spares down, the twin barrel lights that are seen on the European Counterpart have been replaced with a single bulb. The rear is nice and uncluttered with the VW logo taking a prominent place as usual and a well integrated, slightly modified, Polo Tail Lamp. The boot gels perfectly with the car. From no angle can one tell that that a boot has just been thrown at the rear of a Polo.
All 4 doors can be opened in 3 stages, depending on how wide you need them to be while entering. Quality of door lining is top notch and just like the more expensive Skodas and VWs the Vento’s doors close with a thud that makes you feel like you have just stepped into or out of an expensive luxury car.
The Vento Highline comes with Front and Rear Fog Lamps as standard. The Front Grill, Air Dam and Front Fog Lamps are chrome-lined along with a small Chrome Strip at the bottom of the Boot.
The Highline Variant of the Vento runs on 185/60 R15, Apollo Accelere Tyres which offer excellent grip. The 7 spoke Alloy Rims come standard on the Highline and look great. The spare wheel however, on all variants is a 175/70 R14 size on steel rims.
The Vento has a large 480 litre boot, capable of holding 4 bags easily. However the seats do not fold forward to liberate more storage space if the need be. The Boot release, much to our disappointment, is not the same as in the Polo. Instead you get an Electrically operated boot release, which can be operated through a Switch (the power window switch is carried on here too) on the Driver’s door.
Step inside and the superior quality of materials used by VW is evident. The dashboard is made of hard touch plastics. Yet no signs of any compromise on material or finishing or even a slightest hint of any gaps or loose panels. There is no reflection of the dash on the front windscreen.
The two tone interior (beige is almost a must in India to be considered in the executive segment) looks chic with the beige dash merging seamlessly with the door panels. However the area near the legs too, are beige, and will require quite an effort to keep clean. The Inner door release handles have been given a Brushed Aluminum look.
The Leather Wrapped 3 spoke steering wheel looks good and feels nice to hold. However, there were many instances when I found it a bit difficult to thumb the Horn. The Steering Column is adjustable for Reach and Rake. The Highline comes equipped with a factory fitted music system (sadly, no Aux or USB input). The sound and bass was quite acceptable and most users will find nothing to complain about. The Highline also has keyless entry, ABS, Airbags, Door Ajar Warning Display and Chrome Accents in the Steering Wheel, on the AC Vents, on the Gear Lever, knobs on the music system and Climate Control AC, the Handbrake Button and the Headlight Operating Switch.
The Centre Control is quite visibly titled towards the Driver in a Right Hand Drive configuration. I wonder why the Indicator Stalks are still Left Hand Drive Oriented? (Which means that the Right Hand Side levers control the Wipers and the Left Hand ones operate the Indicators and the High/ Low Beam switch.) The Highline has a 4 Intermediate Wiper speeds, but no Anti-Drip Wiping. The Headlights can be operated through a European style knob at the right of the Steering Console. Lane Change Indicators are provided where the Indicators blink Thrice if you give them a slight push. A 12v Accessory Socket is proved just below the Centre Console, in front of the Gear Lever.
The Automatic Climate control AC is easy to use and Chills the Cabin in no time. The chrome lined side A/C vents are nice and large and the Airflow through them can be easily shut off if not required. Rear Passengers too get an Air Vent where airflow can be directed in two independent directions.
The MID (standard on the Highline Variant) shows the Fuel Efficiency, Instantaneous Mileage, Total Range, Distance Travelled, Average Speed and Travel Time. It can be operated through the Right Hand Indicator Stalk.
Seats are comfortable and use high quality fabrics. The driver's side gets height adjustable seats. No Lumbar support on the front seats, though it’s not really needed. Back Support is Excellent. The Seat Belts are also Height Adjustable. Headroom is quite adequate both Front and Back and so is the Leg Room. The Extended Wheelbase over the Polo has liberated more interior space.
The Electrically adjustable OVRM's are adequately sized and have a lovely aerodynamic design. All four doors have power windows with Auto Up/ Down function and Anti-Pinch. Rear windows do not go all the way down, which is a real pity.
The glove box is large and deep and can store lots of your stuff. There are separate sections to keep Manuals, Coins, Visiting Cards and even 3 Slots for Coins. The front doors have bottle holders large enough to hold 1.5 litre bottles and there is also a couple of glass holders (large enough to hold two 500 ml bottles) below the center console. The Front Arm rest has a multi stage adjustment along with a concealed storage spot. The rear passengers also get a retractable glass/ bottle holder.
The Passenger Side Sun Visor has a vanity mirror. There is a black patch provided around the Inner Rear View Mirror to block the sun getting into the driver's eyes from angles which the regular visors cannot block.
The Rear Seats are easily able to fit Three Passengers. The passenger foot well is quite large (height nearly 3-4 inches) and is definitely an inconvenience to someone sitting in the middle. If the Rear Passengers need some more leg room, they can move the Front Passenger Seat Forwards / Backwards with the help of a lever provided at the back. They also get Seat Back Pockets for both Front Seats and their own separate Roof / Reading Light. Rear Arm rests are provided on the Highline Variant. What amazed me was that the Rear Seats do not have splits, in fact they do not fold at all.
The Large Greenhouse and the 'C' Pillar Glass makes the cabin feel very spacious, providing a sense of comfort to the rear seat passengers.
The horn is loud and sounds lovely. However a few basic safety features like seat belt not worn buzzer and automatic door locks are missing. In fact there is absolutely no way to lock the doors so that the inner door handles do not work. Lock the doors by the switch in the Driver's Door and though the door and the boot cannot be operated from the outside, pull on any of the inner door handles and the door will open. Also opening the Driver door does not unlock all the other doors. In case you have manually locked the Doors and you step out to fill fuel, you have to go back and hit the Unlock Button as the Fuel Filler will not open either. All in all. it’s quite inconvenient in all aspects and I wonder who ever came up with such an idea.
The Vento Rides on 185/60 Apollo Accelere Tyres with 15”, 7 Spoke Alloy Wheels. Up Front are McPherson Struts and a Semi independent trailing suspension at the rear. At High Speeds, it handles the bad roads and bumps quite well and you barely feel Bumps. Ride at low speeds however is a bit on the stiffer side. Body roll is minimal and does not cause too many problems.
But the area where the Vento, just like the Polo, scores full marks is the way the chassis is set up. The Polo engine did not do much justice to the Chassis setup, however, in the Vento, you can make full use of it. You can throw the car around corners at blistering speeds and the car holds its line perfectly without any signs of understeer or oversteer. The Apollo Accelere Tyres do a wonderful job providing ample amount of grip and traction. You don't feel like getting out of the Driver's Seat and I could have gone on all day without much signs of fatigue.
The Vento gets an Electric Power Steering, which is light at low speeds and great in city driving, however does not weigh up enough at high speeds. It offers no feedback and above the 140kmph mark, the car tends to have a bit of waftiness to it.
The Highline has ABS for added safety along with Airbags and an Engine Immobiliser. Braking is amazing and the car slows down in no time. The ABS gives you enough confidence to slam the brakes hard if the need ever arises.
NVH levels could also have been lowered and the road noise on concrete is quite evident around 140 kmph. Wind noise at speeds is also evident, though not a major discerning factor.
The diesel Vento we tested was powered by a 1.6 litre 4 cylinder TDi engine which produces 105 PS @ 4400 RPM and 250 NM of Torque between 1500 and 2500 RPM. The Vento Highline Diesel weighs about 1220 kgs which translates to about 85 PS/Ton. The Performance and response of the Engine is amazing and it simply blew me away within the first 10 minutes of Driving.
The engine, like all other VWs and Skodas, is slightly noisy, but scores very high on the Drivability part. Turbo Lag is minimal (slightly noticed below 1200 RPM) and step on the Gas and the car darts forward. Overtaking is a breeze with the availability of 250 NM of torque and even on the steepest of Mumbai – Pune Ghat sections the Engine did not feel as if it was being strained. While Driving at 120 kmph, you can floor the Throttle and you can feel the car build up speed in a hurry.
The Leather Wrapped Gear knob feels great, has precise Short throws and slots into the correct gear easily. The Reverse however has to be pressed down and pushed into first to be engaged, as was first seen on the Skoda Octavia.
The Vento does 0-60 in 4.57 seconds and takes about 11.54 seconds to hit the ton. 120 kmph was reached in 15.52 seconds and the Vento completed the Quarter mile in 17.96 seconds at a speed of 122.37 kmph. We managed to achieve a top speed of 194 kmph (with the Speedometer showing in excess of 200 kmph). The Minimal Turbo lag is evident with the Roll on times, with 30-60 kmph taking 3.2 seconds in 3 rd Gear and 6.65 seconds in 4 th. 40-60 kmph in 5 th Gear took just 3.86 seconds. The car can max 38 kmph in 1 st Gear, 77 kmph in 2 nd, 115 kmph in 3 rd, 134 kmph in 4 th and a 194 kmph in 5 th Gear @ 4800 RPM.
We filled Rs.1400/- of Fuel over 700 kilometers of testing, which translates to a running cost of just Rs.2/- per kilometer.
|Engine Capacity (L)||1598/4 Cyl||1598/4 Cyl|
|Power (PS)||105@5250 RPM||105@4400 RPM|
|Groud clearance (mm)||168||168|
|Wheel Base (mm)||2552||2552|
|Fuel Tank capacity||55||55|
|Minimum turning radius in Meters||5.4||5.4|
|Features||1.6 Trendline||1.6 Trendline Metallic||1.6 Highline|
|Leather wrapped steering wheel||No||No||Yes|
|2 DIN CD- MP3 Player||No||No||Yes|
|Driver seat armrest||No||No||Yes|
|Height adjustable driver seat||No||No||Yes|
|Automatic AC with rear AC Vents||No||No||Yes|
|Anti theft immobiliser||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Rear center arm rest||No||No||Yes|
|Tyres rating||175/70 R14 (Steel)||175/70 R14 (Steel)||185/65 R15 (Alloy)|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||Highline Tdi||1.6 SX VTVT||Emotion||ZDi||1.6 LT||1.5 V|
|Engine Capacity (cc)||1598||1599||1368||1586||1598||1596|
|Leather Wrapped Steering wheel||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|2 DIN MP3 Player||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|ABS With EBD||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Average fuel efficiency||15||14||14||16||14||14|
|Ex Showroom price Bangalore||8.3||7.57||7.74||7.95||9.71||7.44|
The VW Vento comes with a price tag of close to Rs.8.2 lac (Ex-Showroom Price, Pune) for the Treadline and about Rs.9.5 lac for the Top-of-the-Line Highline Variant. The Treadline is quite featureless and comes with only White and Red Colour Options. The Highline is definitely the variant to go in for, however the Diesel Variant is slightly expensive when you look the the Verna or the Linea. Compare it with the Honda City and you will see that you get a lot more value for money with the Vento.
The one area where the Vento scores over its competition, is the quality of material used and the way its handles. Quality of Paint, Material used for Linings and Interior Fit and Fit is Excellent. The Vento looks good, has comfortable seats, a large boot and a brilliant engine coupled with a very able chassis.
And of course you get the VW Badge and a six year anti-corrosion warranty. So if you are looking for a car which will not look outdated even after 5-7 years, if you like excellent build quality, crave for a car that handles and performs brilliantly and don't mind spending that extra buck for the Diesel, the VW Vento Highline TDi will certainly not disappoint.