Pushing out 108bhp from its 1.5-litre four-cylinder, the Ameo is the most powerful diesel car in the segment. Our long-termer has a five-speed manual gearbox which has a very slick-shifting feel to it. The highlight of this TDI motor is the 250Nm of torque available right from the word go. This abundant amount of torque makes it very usable in the city, and even at highway speeds, there’s sufficient grunt from the turbo-diesel which reduces the need for constant gear shifts. In fact, there's so much torque available to the right foot between 1500-2500rpm that the display on the instrument cluster urged us to upshift while climbing inclines!
Surprisingly, this turbocharged engine has a free-revving nature. So if you keep the right foot pinned, the rev counter races to the 5000rpm redline without any hiccups whatsoever. This flexible nature of the motor was especially helpful when overtaking on dual carriageways. Combine it with well-stacked gear ratios, and all you need to do is smartly use your right foot to keep up with other motorists on highways. And lest I forget, the sound of this diesel while under full-bore acceleration is rather sporty and makes me forgive it for all the clattering noises it makes while idling.
As for the steering, it does feel heavy at slower speeds. This makes driving tedious within the tight confines of the city, and gives your biceps a proper workout while parking in tight spots. Sure, the heavy steering might be joyful amongst enthusiasts, but for an average driver, it isn’t.
Talking about ride quality, one does feel the road irregularities at lower speeds. However, as you head for triple-digit speeds, the ride gets quite flat. And surprisingly, it managed to neatly absorb large potholes which we encountered along the way. The Ameo also feels solidly planted at triple-digit speeds. But the icing on the cake has to be the experience on winding roads – a treat since there’s very little body roll.
For the long trip, the 330 litres of bootspace in the Ameo proved to be large enough to fill in a large suitcase, three-four duffle bags and yet there was some room to spare. But we found that the boot narrows towards the inside, and the rather large hinges – when closed down – caused a bit of hindrance to accommodate all the luggage.
Meanwhile, in terms of fuel economy, the Ameo’s diesel proved to be a frugal engine. The fuel efficiency never dropped below 20kmpl all through the trip. Which translated to a real-time driving range of close to 900 kilometres in a single tank.
Complementing its good grip levels on long sweeping highways and tight ghats section are its reassuring brakes. Even the air-conditioning proved to be very powerful and we found ourselves increasing the temperatures and shutting it off altogether since the cabin got too cold, too quickly. We also liked the nice-sounding music player which has lots of connectivity options like smartphone compatibility, Bluetooth, USB and AUX. At the end of our long drive, we found that the Ameo possess an excellent mile-munching capability.