VW took its own sweet time for Indian market arrival in spite of fact that its kitty marquee like Skoda has started its Indian inning much in advance. VW has devoted quite a time for analysing Indian business potential and only when its investors had been fully convinced, this Teutonic manufacturer took its Indian market plunge in 2007. It initially started with high-end segment by offering luxurious sedan like Passat and then slowly tricked down to volume segments like hatchback and sedan. With Vento VW has staked its claim to three-box saloon segment that has already been facing a fierce fighting furry between different players.
With established names like Honda, Hyundai and Maruti-Suzuki, VW knows that way ahead for its Vento is anything but easy. This is exactly why company has left no stone unturned to make Vento a complete and holistic family sedan. Cutting edge style, impeccable build-quality, exquisite fit-finish and punchy pair of engines make Vento almost a perfect sedan capable of performing well both in city and out on highway. Although there are some apprehensions about Vento’s value for money quotient thankfully these are now clouded by the emergence of pricier next generation Honda City. Currently Honda City is ruling the roost of C-segment followed by Hyundai’s Verna. VW’s Vento is distant third in today’s sales scenario though company is hopeful of turning the tables with slew of measures it has initiated of late. Also speculation of VW’s equipping is portfolio with special Indian touch has set the rumours mill churning about the new avatar of Vento. Now whether new Vento is coming or not is not a pertinent question at this point of time simply because today we are on our way to assess current version of Vento in the series of road test reviews brought to you by expert panel of ECARDLR.
Overall design theme of Vento is very up market and full of sculpted lines. Car feels rock solid and precision of fit and finish is just outstanding. From exterior view, Vento seems to have doubled the price it actually costs and it is not exaggerating to say that on the parameter of style Vento can give segment higher cars a chase for their money.
Front fascia of the car contains the chrome accented square-ish grill; global signature of VW brand vehicles. Headlamps are sharp, sculpted and round about look very classy. Air dam follows the same theme as of the grill and these symmetry just aids to the overall elegance of the design theme.
Side profile of the car contains the sharp creases running simultaneously and merging with rear end of the car. Slim pillars add the sophistication while steeply raked windscreens take care of aerodynamics aspect. Low stance of the car points towards the stability the Vento especially at high speeds though breakers could pose the problem of scratching the underbody.
Rear part of the car has wide stance and merges very well with body style. There is no awkwardness this rear portion poses and even small tail lamps are up to the work. Pronouncing of rear bumper has been done mildly in order to continue with the overall symmetry of the style statement.
Like exteriors, interiors of the Vento also exude a class. Though the dull design element may not go down well with the customers, quality is hard to fault. Attention to the details has been on very minute level and one won’t be able to locate any rough edge in the entire layout design.
Car comes with two-tone beige black interior scheme. Dash board wrapped in black boasts of simple and sober layout. Centre console has the automatic AC controls and music system as standard fitment in highline trim.
Steering wheel has good design but lacks any sort of flair. In contrast, instrument cluster is fabulous to look at especially due to its practicality and easily readable dials.Front seats of Vento are large enough to hold you firmly. Cushioning aspect is also good though side bolstering could have been better. There is enough space for the driver to stretch to his limits. Seating position is low though and driver seat height adjusts comes as very handy tool. Rear bench is wide but lacks on the thigh support feature. Passengers sits low and will seriously miss on the bolstering part which if had been done would have made the long drives more comfortable.
There is decent numbers of storage spaces in the whole cabin. Side pockets on the doors are large enough with bottle holders while rear AC vents has also the provision of cup holder. Arm rests also has some useful storage space that is sure to augment the practicality of the cabin.
Vento comes with one of the largest storage space measuring as big as 565 liters. No doubt it is one of the best boot spaces you can get in sedan. Loading lip is though a tad high still it is not a big point to complaint about. Intrusions from suspension chambers have been kept in check that further enhances the usability of trunk area.
ARTERIES & VEINS
Vento comes with two engine variants; petrol and diesel. We tested the most obvious and practical choice of the masses i.e. 1.6 L, TDI diesel engine.
Engine is made up of 4-cylinder placed in inline arrangement displacing 1598 cubic centimeters of total capacity. Breathing through the modern architecture of 16 valves mounted on double overhead cam mechanism, this oil-burner puts out 105 PS of raw power and 250 Nm of torque.
Idle of the engine is not very quiet and smooth. You will be always aware that diesel is running in the veins of the engine; at least standing outside. Slot the gear into first and Vento has all the eagerness to march head and shoulder with any car. Turbo lag is not felt as long as you drive is small gear but the moment rpm falls below the 2000 rpm, it won’t be possible to cruise in higher gears.
Mid-range capability of Vento is devastating and simply outstanding. Engine revs very quickly with all the eagerness. Nothing prepares you for the time the turbo kicks in full blow and you need to be careful not to get carried away. In contrast to Rapid diesel which has same diesel plant; Vento has more addictive power burst that is sure to strike the chord with driving enthusiasts.
Vento comes with 5-speed manual transmission that channelizes the power to front wheels of this chariot. This gearbox is simply and undoubtedly one of best transmissions available in India on sale and credit must be given to German engineering for the spotless slickness this gearbox shows time and again. Shifts are effortless, throws are short just like sports and shift feel is ultra-mechanical. In all the shifting experience is very crisp and whole-heartedly an engaging experience. In fact so much so that we even not mind to its frequent use that weak low-range of its TDI engine warrants.
Up front Vento uses independent McPherson struts with stabilizer bar while at rear semi-independenttrailing arm does the duty to suspend the wheels. 15” alloy wheels are shrouded with 185 mm of wide rubber and aspect ratio stands at 60 in highline version of the car.
Being a family oriented offering, Vento has soft suspension setting to take care of the ride quality more than that of handling aspect. Soft suspension allows the Vento to cushion the occupants against the undulations filtering inside. Ride is soft and absorbing throughout our whole stint though the large speed breakers need to be approached with care as ground clearance of car is weak link in the overall proposition.
On handling front; Vento scores just about average. Soft suspension has some negative impact on the handling front and there is considerable body roll if you are cruising above the 60 km/h mark. You need to apply the brakes to get the portions of the car inline and that is something doesn’t augur well with this car.
Vento basic diesel model is priced at 8.28 lakh and top of the line model is retailed at 9.77 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). VFM proposition is not something we go gaga about but still Vento is very commendable offering from German manufacturer. It has solid built, top notch quality, performing motor with long list of equipment. Further it does perform well on mileage front too and in isolation makes a good case for itself. But when the cars like Honda City and Hyundai Verna come into picture, Vento tends to start losing its sheen. Especially now with diesel Honda City in fray, the ace of diesel that VW proudly flaunted and leveraged for its competitive advantage for years has also been nullified. Further the dealership support and network of VW is nowhere near the coverage of Hyundai and to some extend Honda too. All these things have colluded and seems to have negative impact upon the prospects of Vento. Now in order to get back in game we believe Vento needs a healthy dose of reform measures. A facelift or an upgrade is must to put things back in order in addition to revamping sales-support network; especially in tier-2 & 3 cities that VW has now started focus upon.
Style & Substance 3/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3.5/5 Safety & Equipment 3.5/5
Power & Transmission 3.5/5 Fuel Efficiency 3/5
Value for Money 3/5