Volkswagen is surely arrived late to compact sedan party though it has got solid contender to register itself. Meet the Ameo, flagship VW which has taken upon itself to bring desired sales volume to the company. Honestly we didn't expect VW to join this bandwagon especially after half of the life cycle of compact sedan is over though the withering sales compelled the German auto maker to rethink.
Made exclusively for Indian market, the car is first German offering having its world premiere here in India. Now arrived in the market at very competitive price tag of Rs 5.24 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), VW is leaving no stone unturned to lure the Indian buyers.
Design, Style & Interiors
VW took two years for development of Ameo with Polo acting as starting base. As length restriction is prime motive, its optimum decision to take Polo hatchback as starting point rather Vento sedan. Right up to the rear doors from the front, Ameo follows Polo sketching though in profile; difference in roofline becomes subtly apparent. Integration of boot is done meticulously though rear end still land in some awkward profile. Host of chiselled surfaces break off the bulk however trunk feel chopped off. Overall the Ameo does come across as a nicely designed car though it's not as balanced as Honda Amaze.
Inside the cabin too, Ameo feels similar to Polo hatchback. Quality is of top notch and so is the fit-finish. Cabin can be easily considered as benchmark in material quality. However, overall scheme of interiors in Ameo lack the flair of modern and contemporary design. Large dials, sports steering wheel with flat bottom, very sturdy stalks etc. are some of the highlights of the cabin. Front seats offer good support and although there is no leather upholstery on offered, this still image as a winner in the comfort and convenience factor. Unfortunately the same story doesn't hold true for the back seat which is seriously cramped and lack in all types of space. Ameo uses the same wheelbase as Polo and this is a reason company couldn't able to succeed to liberate more space for the passengers. This Limited room behind could very well prove detrimental to the prospects of this Volkswagen.
Boot space, on the other hand, she is adequate for the weekend trips. It measures 330 litres and also short of the segment benchmark, we have no complaint to make about this trunk space. The intrusions are minimum all the loading lip could be a bit lower in order to make loading / unloading more comfortable.
Worth mentioning here is the equipment level, something that Volkswagen is not known for till now. In its latest offering, company hair gone all out to the extent that Ameo emerges as best equipped car in segment. Top of the line highline variant comes equipped with rear camera and sensor, automatic headlamps and wiper, cruise control, automatic climate control, cooled glove box, anti-pinch Windows on all the seats which can be operated from the key fob and electronically operated outside Mirrors.
For the company has also provided touchscreen infotainments system which is capable of playing the music formats along with extending convenience of USB, Aux-in, Bluetooth, card reader etc. To highlight the safety of the car, Volkswagen has made dual Frontier bags and anti-Lock Braking System as a standard part of equipment across the variants.
Engine, Transmission & Driving Dynamics
Under the Hood, Ameo is powered by single option of 1.2-litre 3 cylinder petrol engine which is capable of putting out 76 PS and 110 NM of Max Power and max torque respectively. We expect 1.5-litre diesel engine to make his debut somewhere around the festive season and for now, Ameo is offered with single option of engine and transmission. The real issue with the engine is it refinement which makes it quite audible at high Revolution. Neither performance is something to write home about. Ameo can do all the city work without taking any strain but the moment you ask her rapid progress, this Volkswagen starts feeling out of the breath. Top range of the car is not very exciting and even the mid- range doesn't make enthusiastic case for itself. Volkswagen today changed this Indian with either 4- cylinder motor or 1.2-litre Turbocharged TSI engine.
As expected, 5-speed manual transmission is very slick unit and does its Beauty with perfection. Gear shifts are very smooth and throws are short for shifting convenience. Undoubtedly in the transmission department Volkswagen Ameo shines through.
Ride quality of Ameo is extra ordinary sorted out. It does feel like a German car with invincible sense of security and safety. Highway stability is extraordinary and this Volkswagen sets benchmark for the flat ride quality on open stretches. Most of the road and duration and broken patches are dispatched with aplomb and it is very rare that car gets disturbed by the road condition. Handling of the car is also very predictable and also it lacks the finesse of afford or Honda for that matter, it is more than acceptable and handles better than many of its rivals.
By pricing the Ameo very competitively in the range of Rs 5.24-7.06 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi), volkswagen has demonstrated that it can provide high quality German engineering in a competitive price. No doubt the biggest USP of the car is its value for money offers which is really very hard to resist. Take in the components like solid German engineering, quality interior, good combination of ride and handling and you will be getting maximum bang for your buck. Having said that, the biggest weak point of the car average cabin space and weak performance. Volkswagen failed to understand that compact sedans are often used for family purposes and thus requires spacious Back Seat. Further the 1.2-litre company is not its strongest point and feels laborious on the highway drives. Still there is no denying that overall Volkswagen Ameo is a complete package and with the diesel joining the ranks in the month of Diwali, we think this proposition will get stronger and better.
Style & Substance 4/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3/5 Safety & Equipment 4/5
Power-Plant &Transmission 3/5 Fuel Efficiency 3.5/5
Value for Money 4/5