1. Engine and Gearbox
In the era of BS6, Volkswagen has culled the Vento’s powertrain line up in favour of turbocharged direct injection and in this case, a 1.0-litre TSI unit producing 109bhp/175Nm. It can be had with a six-speed manual or a six-speed torque converter. This combination replaces the legendary 1.2-litre four-pot and seven-speed DSG that had been a mainstay of VW’s performance offerings.
Put the car into D, ease off the brake, and the creep function lets you roll forward with surprising ease. Let the needle go past the 2,000rpm mark and you will be greeted with a surprising wave of torque that’s linear and unrelenting all the way to the redline. You will hit three-digit speeds quickly, a rather helpful feeling on the highway or even when you need to make your way around slower moving traffic. Of course, it’s not the most perfect system, as when you go hard on the gas, there’s a little bit of lag before the powertrain drops a gear or two and gives you the surge in momentum that you need. What’s more, there’s a sports mode where the revs are held a little longer, allowing for a better build of speed.
But this is a gearbox of dual personalities. Combined with this engine, its strength lies in a strong mid-range with not much effort required to be in the thick of the action. In city conditions, where progress is slow, it’s best to leave the gearbox in D and let it do its thing in the background which it does with good precision and refinement. Even a slight flex on the throttle will give you a sufficient punch for quick overtakes. As we said before, the creep function is pretty strong which means that you need to be a bit cautious while inching forward in bumper-to-bumper traffic or tight parking lots.
Will you really miss the seven-speed DSG and the 1.2-litre engine? Those of you that have driven the Vento TSI AT in the past will be able to tell that this powertrain combination isn’t as refined or smooth as its predecessor but with a view to keeping costs down without dampening the driving experience, this is a worthy substitute.
The Volkswagen Vento both as an MT or as this TSI AT is underpinned by the McPherson struts in front and a semi-independent trailing arm setup at the rear. This top-of-the-line model gets 16-inch wheels and 185/60 section tyres.
The ride quality is on the firmer side at low speeds and this makes things noticeably bumpy if you are tackling bad roads. But go faster and the Vento comes into its own and takes everything in its path without much of a struggle. The smaller bumps and imperfections are done and dusted without sending much back into the cabin. The ground clearance is decent too and despite this slightly low nose, even large speed breakers are not an obstacle if you need to make quick progress.
The Vento has always been a driver’s car among a lot of C-segment sedans currently on sale in India. Volkswagen has managed to find a good balance between comfort and handling, and it bodes well for the Vento. The steering has a certain heft to it which feels reassuring, both when you are attacking corners or navigating your way around massive potholes, craters, and everything in between.
It’s quick and quite accurate for a car in this class and size but, like its sibling the Skoda Rapid, it needs two-and-a-three quarter turns to go from lock-to-lock. This is something that becomes quite evident when you need to make a U-turn or park in a tight space.
4. Exterior Design
We told you at the beginning of this video that the Vento has been around for a decade now. Well, so has its exterior design and this has been punctuated by regular updates over the last 10 years, each of which brought the car up to date with the era. The face gets this slim grille with the Volkswagen logo in the middle while bumper, in this latest update, gets this sporty design which is very similar to what was offered on the previous generation Polo GTi.
5. Build quality
While the Vento might be a slightly old car, it has always had a reputation of being solidly built. It feels solidly built with everything well put together befitting the adage ‘German build quality’. One place where you can see this is when you open and close the doors, both of which are achieved with a reassuring thud.