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Car tested: 2010 Volkswagen Vento Petrol AT Highline

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 10,81,078/-

Volkswagen have been on a roll with the success of the Polo and the German manufacturer has shown, yet again, that the Germans are pioneers of automotive engineering. Yes, we are talking about the sedan avatar of the Polo, the all new VW Vento. The mid size sedan segment has been ruled by the Honda City since more than a few years and the Vento poses a serious threat to the competition. Available in both petrol and diesel (Honda City is only available in petrol), the Vento boasts of top German quality and is priced competitively to eat the competition. We burn some rubber in the Volkswagen Vento 1.6 Automatic and find out if it has the teeth to chew the competition.


Exteriors – As we all know, the Vento is the Polo with the boot but mind you the job has been aesthetically done. The boot does not look as if it has been mechanically attached like what we see in the Swift Dzire and the design will almost pass as if it has been drawn from scratch. From the side profile, the boot looks well integrated with the rest of the body and 15 inch alloy wheels come standard on the Highline variant. Easy to notice longer wheelbase as compared to the Polo.  (The Vento is available in only 2 variants, the Trendline and the Highline. A middle Comfortline would only boost the sales as the Trendline offers very basic equipment levels. Engine options include the 1.6 Petrol Manual and Auto and the 1.6 TDI).

The rear of the Vento is simple and subtle. The only thing which looks out of place is the keyring, which is awkwardly placed in in the right corner and easily visible. It should have been placed more towards the number plate for cosmetic value.

The front is identical to the Polo except for the shape of the fog lamps and the grill between the fog lights. We have mentioned the top level paint quality in the Volkswagen Polo Review and the Vento is the same as far as paint quality goes. As with the Polo, VW offers 6 yrs anti corrosion warranty on the paint.

Interiors – German built quality is renowned and the Volkswagen Vento portrays this well with top quality interiors. Plastics look and feel upmarket and the dash is well put together. Inconsistent Panel gaps! What are they? None to be seen and Volkswagen engineers have paid much attention to detail. Only 2 pedals for the Automatic version. No dead pedal. Why? Its all the more necessary to have one in an AT.

The front passenger seat can be moved forward and behind from the rear seat, thanks to a clever lever placed behind it, a very convenient feature for the chauffeur driven who wish to adjust legroom on the move. The regular adjustment lever (in front) also works.

Audio system only supports Audio and Mp3 CD’s. No AUX or USB support is shocking. Its advisable to swap the music system for one which offers Aux/USB support. We don’t even remember the last time we burned a CD. Sound quality is average and audio controls on steering wheels have been omitted. Cost cutting maybe.

Seating is comfortable and offers good back support. Even after driving non stop for 4 hours, ones back is in one piece. Rear seats offer similar comfort and legroom is much above expectations. Front seats offer high travel range and the Vento is roomy for 6 and above footers. The floor at the rear houses a unusually large hump which steals legroom for the middle passenger and it can get quite uncomfortable over large distances. Rear seat cannot be folded.

Automatic Climate Control chills the cabin effortlessly and even at idle the AC is effective. The Vento is the only car (in the segment) after the Fiat Linea to offer adjustable AC vents for the rear passengers.

Typical high quality German switches.

Rear visibility is not great with the small size rear view mirror but the ORVM’s provide a decent view of whats happening behind you. Reversing is an issue since the rear parcel tray slopes upwards blocking the view. Fitting in some parking sensors can overcome this problem.

The boot is decently large but at 480 ltrs, its a tad bit smaller than the Honda City and the Fiat Linea. Under the boot is housed the space saver (spare wheel). No alloy for the 5th wheel and some amount of cost cutting seen as the spare wheel is of 175/70/14 configuration as opposed to the 185/60/15 tyres fitted on the alloys (tyre diameter remains the same).

The rear window glass can be rolled down only as low as this. All four power windows are equipped with one touch up/down feature.

Lighting at night is great and the headlamps throw more than enough light for a comfortable night drive.

Hooks are provided at the B Pillars to hang extra shopping bags. Notice that the seat belt height can be adjusted based on the height of the person wearing it.

Built Quality – Top notch (We say it again). Volkswagen is known for quality globally and their Indian cars follow suit. The Vento offers one of the best paint quality and fit and finish is one of the better ones amongst the competition. Fabrics and plastics feel upmarket and there is no hint of any rattling. Volkswagen has set the ground clearance in accordance to Indian conditions and the Vento does not scrape most humps. VW have done a good job with the damping and barring road noise, the Vento hardly transmits any sound inside the cabin.

On the Move – Crank the ignition and the Vento immediately settles into a silent idle and its hard to tell if the car is actually on or off. Press the brake and move out of P and into D and its not difficult to notice that the car accelerates with ease. No seat belt warning, however please remember to fasten your seat belts when you take off. The 6 speed tiptronic gearbox is smooth but the lag between shifts can get to you sometimes, just a matter of time before you get used to it and if that’s the case then one can manually shift and red-line this beast. Manual shift is more fun to drive as you can hit the rev limiter and the lag time between shifts is minimum.

The gearbox has a slot shift mechanism. To drive in manual one must just flick the lever to the left (in D position) and go up or down the gears by nudging the lever forward and backward respectively. The MID on the instrument cluster indicates when one must shift up or down a gear to derive the best out of the car. (The same is also seen on the Polo). Driving position is comfortable and the drivers seat is equipped with a height adjuster.

Ride, Handling and Braking – The Vento rides on 185/60/15 Apollo rubber which does a commendable job. The Vento’s suspension is set up for Indian roads and is slightly on the stiffer side. The steering is extremely light at low speeds and adds to easy maneuverability in the usual city traffic. However, even at high speeds the steering feels very light, which can be scary at times. The Vento feels planted at 3 digit speeds and the suspension does well to soak most of the bumps. Throwing the car into corners can be fun as the Vento is extremely nippy when taking fast corners but don’t expect much feedback from the steering. The Vento’s braking left us impressed. ABS and EBD do well to stop the car and the Vento braked tremendously well on all types of surfaces. Considering that the Apollo’s are not the best rubber in the business, VW have got the Vento’s braking characteristics spot on.

Performance – Our Vento was powered by a 1.6 litre petrol DOHC powerplant which produces 105 PS @ 5250 RPM and 158 Nm of Torque @ 3800 RPM. Engine refinement is one of the best at low RPM and is extremely silent too as mentioned earlier. As with most petrol cars, low end response is not something to talk about but floor it and the Vento delivers with gusto. Demand for automatic transmission cars is on the rise and the Indian consumer is very specific when it comes to mileage. The Vento AT should comfortably deliver 10 – 12 kmpl (city and highway). The Vento hits 0 – 100 in about 13.7 seconds and we hit a top speed of 170 kmph. The car touches 150 easily and then seems to struggle to the top but that’s pardonable.

Well laid out instrument cluster with easy to read dials. MID shows real time fuel consumption, distance to empty and the usual parameters.

Conclusion – The Vento is a powered packed vehicle with the ability to kick butt and with such competitive pricing (60% localization of parts) is sure to find many homes. VW had to compromise on various ends to get to this pricing and omission of essentials such as Aux/USB support is unpardonable but top quality, roomy interiors and its looks are a good enough reason to go for the Vento. Volkswagen seems to have got it right with the Vento and the option of a diesel will only boost the sales. Overall it simply Ventastic.

Whats Kool

  • Interior Quality
  • Braking
  • Styling
  • Balanced Ride and Handling

Whats UnKool thumb_d

  • No Aux/USB support for the Audio System
  • No Audio controls on steering wheel
  • Extra light steering
  • Long term ownership cost unknown
  • Service backup not as strong

Volkswagen Vento Petrol Specifications

  • Engine: 1598cc, DOHC
  • Power: 105PS @ 5250rpm
  • Torque: 158Nm @ 3800rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed auto with tiptronic
  • Top Speed: 185kmph
  • 0-100kmph: 13.50 seconds
  • Fuel Consumption: 10-11 kmpl (City), 12-13 kmpl (highway)
  • Fuel Type: Petrol
  • Suspension:McPherson strut with stabiliser bar (Front), Semi-independent trailing arm (Rear)
  • Tires: 185/60 R15 Tubeless Radials
  • Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drums ( Rear), ABS, EBD
  • Safety: ABS, EBD, Dual SRS Front Airbags, Electronic Anti-theft Immobilizer

Volkswagen Vento Petrol Dimensions

  • Overall length x width x height: 4384mm X 1699mm X 1466mm
  • Wheelbase: 2552mm
  • Ground clearance: 168mm
  • Turning Radius – 5.4m
  • Boot Volume: 500 liters
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 55 litres
  • Kerb Weight: 1180kgs