Volkswagen Vento TSI Long Term Review
Car Tested: Volkswagen Vento TSI
Mileage: 10 km/l, 11.90 km/l (best), 7.50 km/l (worst)
Fuel Consumed: 93.1 litres
Fuel Cost: Rs. 6554/-
Rs. per km: Rs. 9.34/-
The Volkswagen Vento offers a unique blend of convenience and fun with the TSI badge
The Volkswagen Vento needs no introduction, it is a car for the masses to taste what German engineering feels like and the Vento does a fantastic job in doing so. Quality, performance, dynamics and simplicity with a pinch of premium touch are the main ingredients of the Vento. The German carmaker recently introduced the Vento TSI and we experienced the surprise package for a long term. Yes, surprise package because it speaks a lot more on the road than its specification sheet and you are bound to get addicted to the combination of the 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine and supersonic DSG transmission. We had relaxed yet fun times with the Vento TSI, which is a rare combination to find otherwise.
We all are aware of the classic vanilla styling of Volkswagen and same can be seen on the Vento. There are simple character lines instead of violent creases running throughout the body, which is quite popular in this segment. The Vento has been derived from the Polo and the transformation at the rear from a hatch to sedan could have been much better. However, the rear profile of the Vento grows on you over time. For some premium touches, Volkswagen updated the Vento with smoked headlamps, new alloys and chrome strip on the boot lid. The Shadow Blue colour, which we had, adds a touch of elegance to the Vento and the paint quality is unmatched in this segment offered with a 6-year anti-perforation warranty.
The dual-tone grey and beige interiors are simple yet practical. The dashboard is driver oriented and all the controls and buttons feel premium to use. The thin leather wrapped steering is a delight to use with audio controls having tactile feedback and outlined in chrome. The instrument cluster is easy to read and the MID controls are neatly tucked on the right stalk lever that shows all the necessary information like average fuel efficiency, instantaneous fuel efficiency, trip meters, temperature, distance to empty, etc. There are small yet convenient features in the Vento that adds to the feel good factor. For instance, press and hold unlock/lock button on the key and you can open/close all windows from the outside. It has one touch up/down function for all the windows, which is rarely found in this segment.
The boot opening button is conveniently placed near the door pocket. The engine hood opening lever is placed further down but it is operational only when you open the door. It is a safety feature so that you don’t accidentally open the hood while driving. The automatic climate control system works well and chills the cabin quickly. The audio system churns out quality music that doesn’t crack on high volume. The multimedia system supports CD, SD card, USB, AUX and Bluetooth. Setting up Bluetooth is quite easy and you can also control your Smartphone’s music with the steering mounted controls. Call quality through Bluetooth is great.
The seats of the Vento need special mention. They have perfect cushioning and are very supportive with a usable headreast. The front arm rest is positioned high and is very convenient for the driver but while you put the seatbelt, it fouls with your hand and if you wear a watch, it is bound to get scratched, so you have to pull it up. At the rear, there is ample space for two adults with good under-thigh and back support. No complaints for headroom and shoulder room. The arm rest and rear AC vents provide good comfort on long drives. The third person in the middle would feel uneasy because of the high floor bump and intruding arm rest unit. The Space Max lever at the back that allows you to adjust the co-driver’s seat from the rear seat is a thoughtful feature. The door pockets are huge and can accommodate 1-litre + bottles easily. Glove box is big too and well crafted for papers and essentials. 454-litres of boot space is not class leading but adequate for weekend getaways.
The best thing about the Vento TSI is the engine. The 1.2-litre, 4-cylinder turbo petrol unit produces 105 PS of power at 5000 RPM and 175 Nm of peak torque between 1500-4100 RPM. The low-end punch is good for city drivability but when you go full throttle, the mid-range feels like a howling gale, amazing thrust for an engine this size. The higher end of the rev band also delivers good power, redline comes in at 6000 RPM and sounds lovely as the revs build up with a hint of turbo whistle. The TSI’s claim to fame is the wide range of torque that makes this downsized engine feel mature. If you try revving the engine at standstill, the engine cuts off at 3900 RPM. The Vento scores high on NVH, which is quite satisfying.
The 1.2-litre TSI engine in the Vento has some serious punch for its puny size, the gearbox is a gem
Mated to this engine is a brisk 7-speed DSG (dual clutch) transmission. This gearbox is butter smooth, seamless, performance oriented yet fuel efficient. It is so quick that even the tachometer can’t match the speed while the gears shift. There are three modes to choose from – D, S and Manual. The D mode is meant for sedate driving and optimum fuel efficiency, as the gears change early at around 2000 RPM with a light foot. When you play hard with the throttle in D mode, it downshifts and holds the gear longer but doesn’t redline. In the S (Sports) mode, things get exciting and the Vento pulls effortlessly as cogs swap near the redline and you have a wide rev band to play with. It is good for overtaking on highways and also has some engine braking. Flick the gearlever left from D and you enter manual mode. It’s not totally manual because it changes the gear itself after redlining but it is quite fun to control the DSG box yourself. Just flick up/down and the gear changes within milliseconds, quite fun on the twisties or on empty city roads. The Vento TSI can also cruise well on highways, doing 100 km/hr at 2100 RPM in 7th gear. We got an average fuel consumption of 10 km/l. One can get 12-14 km/l with a light foot driving but who doesn’t like to rev a TSI?
The engine is lighter and the car now feels nimble to drive. The suspension absorbs bumps and potholes quite well and doesn’t give up unless you hit massive craters. It feels a bit stiff at low speeds but gets flat gathering speed. The rear doesn’t tend to bounce much on undulations, vertical movement is well under control. Handling is sharp and very predictable as the nose turns quickly on your command. It is quite agile on twisties as it never loses composure and remains glued to the tarmac with impressive grip, thanks to the wide section tyres and ESP (Electronic Stability Programme). You can also turn the ESP off from a button placed on the centre console. Steering feedback is neutral though. It weighs up to some extent but remains on the lighter side. With 168 mm of ground clearance, we never managed to scrape the underbelly of the Vento. For an automatic transmission, braking is excellent and the car never tends to rear end in traffic, thanks to crisp pedal bite.
Safety is one of the most important aspects for our roads and manufacturers as well as customers should give it a high priority while selling/buying a car. The India spec Volkswagen Vento has recently been tested by the ASEAN NCAP and the car has scored a healthy 4 starts out of 5, which is quite impressive. The German sedan received 4/5 stars for adult occupant safety as well as child safety. The Volkswagen Vento TSI comes with safety features like ABS, ESP, Hill Hold function and dual front airbags.
The Volkswagen Vento automatic version earlier came with a 1.6-litre petrol engine mated to a 6-speed torque converter. Volkswagen has chipped away rough edges by introducing the Vento TSI, which is a good leap over the 1.6 version. It is a perfect example of the latest downsizing trend and it’s surprisingly quite fun to drive. If you are one of those who deal with maddening bumper to bumper traffic everyday and seek for some fun on the weekend, the Vento provides a sweet balance of both. Pricing is just right and with the facelift about to launch very soon, you can also get lucky with discounts on this version.
The Volkswagen Vento TSI is a car that pleases your senses in the long run with its unmatched quality, comfortable interiors, convenience, performance, ride and handling. The styling is neutral and there are no jazzy gizmos like the competition but it is a safe and well built car to live with.
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