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Volkswagen Ameo
    Change Model
Customer Rating
: 4/5
Expert Rating
: 7/10
Warranty
: N/A (Whichever is earlier)
Ex-showroom price in 
Delhi
 help (Rs.Lakhs)
    Change City
5.94 Lakhs-10 Lakhs

Strong Areas

  • Practical Demeanour
  • Luxurious Interiors
  • Solid Build Quality 
  • God Dynamics 
     

Weak Areas

  • Spartan Dash 
  • Limited Space
  • Average Performance 
  • Absence Of Diesel 
Volkswagen Ameo
 
 

Volkswagen Ameo Review

The European build of Ameo and the features that it offers make it a nice package in its segment. Volkswagen has made its entry in the compact sedan category with the petrol model to begin with. Ecardlr checks the design and driveability.


Author

By

ecardlr.com National

Here comes Volkswagen’s Ameo for the India-spec market segment. The sub-4 meter sedans that attract less of excise duty are clearly popular here and Maruti leads the segment with its Dzire. Among other top sellers we have Hyundai Xcent and Honda Amaze. Tata’s Zest and Ford’s Aspire are also in the race even though they have not been very successful.
               Volkswagen Ameo
The Volkswagen product line has not seen any new launch of late. It comprises Polo and Vento that have seen facelifts and updates but have not made much headway in terms of domestic sales. The executive sedan Jetta is in a pricier segment. So the German carmaker finally decided to develop its own budget sedan based on Polo’s platform.

The term Ameo is derived from Latin dictionary and implies ‘I love’. It was designed in Germany and was unveiled before the Auto Expo 2016. Diesel is the more preferred option in this category of cars but Volkswagen has brought the petrol model first. It will launch the diesel version in the festive season later this year.

Ameo gets the 1.2 litre, 3 cylinder MPI petrol engine of Polo. It churns out 74 bhp at 5400 rpm and 11.21 kgm of torque at 3750 rpm. It is mated to 5 speed manual transmission. Surprisingly, VW has not used the more powerful 1.2 litre TSI unit that powers the Polo GT.

In terms of launch price (Rs 5.24 lakh), Ameo’s base model costs slightly less than that of Polo but its top end version is more costly than Polo’s. 


The External Impression 

As seen from the front, the Ameo takes on the looks of its smaller sibling Polo and like the Vento its bumper is slightly creased above the fog lamp. The grille with black horizontal slats has a chrome lining at its base. The double barrel halogen headlamps have black finish on the inside.


              Volkswagen Headlamp and Fog Lamps
 

The air dam is broad and it too has a chrome strip on its top – it slopes down on to the base of the fog lamps. The fog lamps also function as the indicator lights. Bonnet creases diverge towards the grille.

Ameo gets automatic rain-sensing wipers on its windshield and this is a segment-first feature.

In its side profile, the Ameo clearly looks like Polo with a boot. The C pillar is slim and has a quarter glass. There are not too many character lines and the flared wheel arches give the sedan a muscular look. It uses 185/60 R15 tyres on its 15 inch wheels. The alloys do look elegant. 
               Electrically LED ORVMs with Turn Indicators
The ORVMs have integrated blinkers and while the pull type door handles get chrome inserts, there is no request sensor or smartkey entry system. The roof antenna is stubby and towards the rear end.

Rear overhang is short and the bumper is in line with the boot (it does not jut out). In the tail lamp cluster the parking lights are L shaped. There is a strip in their angle and it too gets illuminated. The top portion of the tail lamp contains the brake light and there is only one reversing lamp on the left-hand-side cluster. There are 4 parking sensors (which is admirable for this budget segment) and 2 thin reflectors on the rear bumper.
               VW Stylish Tail Lamps
Parking camera is well integrated on sides of boot release button. The boot can be opened by long pressing the button or the electro-magnetic switch. Ameo moniker is placed on the left side of the boot but there is no variant badge.


The Cabin Conspectus 

Front doors open in a 3 stage action and as the Ameo is not a tall car, ingress and egress is not effortless. It feels better in the Dzire. You need to bend down to get onto the seats. Inside, the cabin resembles that of new Polo. It has the classic black and beige theme and with plenty of glass area, there is enough light pouring in.  
               VW Stylish-Tail-Lamps
The aluminium inserts on the dashboard surface look nice and the centre console is slightly skewed towards the driver. Features on the dashboard are aligned properly and the buttons feel tactile. The flat bottom, three spoke steering wheel is stocky to hold and its piano black colour with chrome accents gives it a premium look. Stalks on the steering wheel also seem sturdy. 

Shared with Polo and Vento, the instrument console is easy to read. The speedometer is on the right and the tachometer on left. Multi-information display (MID) in centre comprises digital fuel gauge, speed limit caveat, engine temperature & outside temperature information, and service reminder. It also has digital speedometer and keeps you informed on average speed, total time travelled, average fuel consumption and distance to empty.

Door panel interiors are all plastic in black and beige. The armrest is also supportive. Beige fabric seats get adjustable headrests. They offer good back and under-thing support. Driver’s seat can be adjusted for height. Ameo also gets a centre armrest which is again a segment first feature. It has black, soft fabric padding and supports your arm ergonomically when you are changing the gears. As expected, this centre armrest also has storage underneath. But the handbrake is positioned right under it and will be difficult to use unless you fold up the armrest (and it is foldable). 

In the footwell, the pedals are properly spaced out but the dead pedal may not feel very useful to those with larger feet. Furthermore, it is very close to the centre console. Driver’s footwell as also the front seat occupant’s footwell get ambient lighting too. 

Rearward visibility can just be called average and that’s because of a high parcel tray, high boot and a tapering roofline. Use of parking sensors and cameras makes sense. 

Air conditioner vents in front get basic direction controls but the air volume control works nicely. The climate control system gets audible from level 3 and feels loud at level 5. Temperature range is between 29 and 18 degree Celsius. 
                VW Cruise-Control
The glovebox is spacious and has slots for sunglasses, coins and business cards. It also has a cooling vent. 
For entertainment, the top-end variant of Ameo has 5 inch touchscreen with user-friendly interface. It comes with CD and MP3 player and has USB, Aux and Bluetooth connectivity ports. Sound quality is acceptable for the segment.

Getting onto the rear seat is trickier as compared to the front because of the sloping roofline. Door pads are similar to Polo’s. There are no lock buttons and the handle has to be pulled twice to unlock and open the door. The rear speakers are also located on the door pads. Pockets are narrow as compared to front door pockets.

The rear seat has good size and cushioning. It can accommodate three occupants. There is no centre armrest and the middle seat belt is not a three point type. Legroom is less than in Honda Amaze but headroom is adequate.

Rear window glass does not roll all the way down. There are grab handles over passenger doors and coat hooks are also provided. On the top end trim (Highline) there is an AC vent with direction controls for both the occupants on sides.
              VW Front Armrest Storage
Ameo’s boot has capacity of 330 litres and it can be increased by folding the rear seat down – there are small knobs on both ends of the seat and these can be pulled up to unlock and fold it down. The boot then caves into the rear part of the cabin to let you fill in some extra luggage.

The metal underside of the boot lid with large holes looks poor. Spare wheel is a 14" steel rim with175/70 sized tyre.


Engine, Transmission and Performance

VW Ameo is the only car that gets a 3 cylinder petrol engine in this segment. Its specs are 74 bhp at 5400 rpm and 11.21 kgm of torque at 3750 rpm. Its power to weight ratio is also low.

Crank up the engine and its vibrations are evident. At idling you will feel its humming but with doors and windows closed the vibrations are not disturbing.

In terms of driveability, it is real good and does not feel underpowered in city. With short gearing, there is plenty of torque at low rpm and response to accelerator inputs is also fine. While driving in 2nd or even 3rd gear, you will not have to downshift frequently. In the 4th gear too, it is possible to drive at 40-50 km/hour. There is no jerkiness and the Ameo makes for a city-friendly commuter.

On the highways, this compact sedan displays average performance and is not for enthusiastic diving style. You should stick to the sedate style. You don’t get anything from the engine after 5000 rpm. And then it also gets noisy at such high levels. The 1.2 litre engine of Maruti and Hyundai is smoother and more hushed than this 1.2 litre MPI unit. 

Speed of 100 km/hour comes around 3000 rpm in the 5th gear. Overtaking needs to be planned out with downshifting.

Clutch pedal feels light and the gear lever knob is also nice to hold. Its throws are on the shorter side and shifts are slick. Cruise control is a good feature to use at times. 

The engine does not earn praise in NVH factor but insulation from wind and tyre noise is acceptable. 
Ride and Handling 

As in other two VW cars (Vento and Polo), the Ameo has McPherson suspension at front and semi-independent trailing arm for rear. The combination is tuned well and feels sturdy. At low speed, the ride is complaint and can absorb the undulations well. The occupants feel comfortable on their regular inter-city drives.  But the large bumps are felt inside the cabin. 

With increase in speed on highways, the ride improves and vertical movement is well restricted. The rough tarmac is dismissed with aplomb.

With regards to handling too the Ameo exhibits some good characteristics. Its dynamics are better than some of the rivals’. The car feels and stable at high speeds of 100-110 km/hour. The grip of 185mm tyres is good and the Ameo behaves well on curves. But hard cornering will result in some body roll.


The electric power steering is light to use at city speeds and makes taking U-turns easy but it does not weigh up much with speed and offers limited feedback. The clutch is light to use and gears are easy to slot in. Coupled with short gearing, it makes the drive pleasing. 

Ground clearance is similar to Polo at 165 mm but the makers have not stated it on the official specs sheet. On our test drive, the Ameo did not scrape its under-body anywhere. 

This sedan like its competitors gets disc brakes at front and drums at rear. Braking action is also satisfactory. ABS is standard on all versions of Ameo. 


Fuel Efficiency 

The ARAI certified fuel economy for this sedan is 17.83 km/litre. The Polo with this 1.2 litre engine has economy of 12-15 km/litre and we can expect similar figures from Ameo in the long run.

Verdict

Available in three trims, Trendline, Comfortline and Highline, the Volkswagen Ameo is priced between Rs 5.24 - 7.06 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). This makes it more affordable than Honda Amaze and Hyundai Xcent. For this price it also offers quite a few features and the impressive European build quality.

The only drawback is the engine that is less powerful than the units propelling Ameo’s rivals. If you want to upgrade from a hatchback to a decently loaded sedan that will work well for daily work commuting and occasional highway trips, this VW sedan is a fine choice. And if you would rather wait for a better performing car, then wait till the company launches the diesel model.

Comfort: 3.5/5
Refinement: 3/5
Safety: 3/5
Ride: 4/5
Handling: 3.5/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5

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