2016 Volkswagen Ameo First Look Review
The Volkswagen Ameo seems like a very good product, but pricing is going to be a key deciding factor for its success
The compact sedan segment is a highly competing one and most mass-market manufacturers are fighting it out here since a long time. Volkswagen’s offering in this segment has been anticipated since a long time and the German automaker has finally come up with the Ameo, which is a Polo with a boot and it will be competing with the Maruti Swift DZire, Ford Figo Aspire, Tata Zest, Hyundai Xcent and Honda Amaze. We do a quick first look review of the 2016 Volkswagen Ameo and here’s what it feels like.
The front of the Ameo is more or less similar to that of the Polo. The face still looks fresh and despite being quite old actually, it just doesn’t feel outdated. The front bumper gets a slight crease below the headlights and it adds some character to the car. Many of the other things like the headlights, fog lamps, grille, etc. are shared with the Polo. You also get static cornering lights. The side profile doesn’t look the best one out there but it is still neatly integrated with the shoulder line having lots of consistency.
Move to the rear and you can’t help but notice the tail lamps which are slightly protruding outside and they manage to give the car a fine balance. When lighted up, they do look very similar to the Polo again. The bootlid gets creases on either side which seem to be inspired by the Skoda Rapid. The number plate housing gets LED lights while there is also a reversing camera tucked underneath. Unlike the Polo, the Volkswagen logo doesn’t double up as a boot-lid opener and for that there is a separate button.
Talking about the interiors, the Volkswagen Ameo gets the same dashboard, steering wheel, gear lever, etc. as the Polo and the quality is excellent. In fact, we can easily say that the Ameo has the best quality in its segment. All the materials get excellent finish and Volkswagen is also targeting the Ameo as a very feature-loaded car. It will be loaded with stuff like cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, touchscreen infotainment system with MirrorLink, automatic climate control, rear AC vents, cooled glovebox and electronically adjustable ORVMs. You also get an armrest at the front and it is black in colour.
Space at the rear is only marginally better than the Polo because what Volkswagen has done is changed the angle of the seat slightly. This leads to a much more comfortable back rest too. The front seat is extremely comfortable and the overall ergonomics inside the cabin are pretty much sorted. The boot is decently sized at 330-litres but it is quite smaller than that of the Honda Amaze or the Ford Figo Aspire.
In terms of powertrains, the Volkswagen Ameo will share its engines with the Polo. On offer will be the 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder petrol engine that produces 73 BHP of power and it is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. The German automaker will also offer the 1.5-litre TDI diesel engine in its 89 BHP tune and it will be offered with 5-speed manual and 6-speed DSG transmissions. The DSG gearbox is leagues ahead of the automatic transmissions that competition is offering, so Volkswagen really has an upper hand here. The Ameo will also get the 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine later as an option.
The vehicle that we have previewed here comes with 16-inch wheels but the actual production version of the car will be available with regular 15-inch tyres. We expect the ride quality to be similar to that of the Polo while the handling characteristics will also be fun. In terms of safety features, Volkswagen will be offering dual front airbags and ABS as standard on every trim which is a splendid move. What the automaker really needs to work on is its after-sales service.
Apart from the quirky side profile and the lesser space at the rear, the 2016 Volkswagen Ameo does feel like a proper package. It looks good, has excellent build quality all around, comes with a pretty good equipment list and of course gets the mind blowing DSG transmission. However, this segment is not easy to crack and Maruti has been selling 20,000 units of the DZire each month while other rivals are managing just about 2000-5000 units a month. If Volkswagen gets the pricing right, the Ameo is all the more likely to receive good demand and sell at least 3000 units a month. The compact sedan will be launched towards the middle of the year and till then all we can do is anticipate the pricing and wait to do a detailed test of the car.