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Volkswagen Ameo Highline TDI Long Term Report 3: Wrap Up

Long Term Report 3

Last month proved to be an action-packed one for our Volkswagen Ameo. After restricting the compact sedan to city runabouts since it joined our long term crew, we were planning a long drive in the Ameo to see its highway manners and how the Volkswagen performs when it is allowed to stretch its legs. And to my delight, Santosh borrowed the Ameo’s keys for a trip to Indore in Madhya Pradesh, and thus I was saved from visiting in-laws during the festivities. 

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Highway performance

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.

The grouses

After living with the Ameo for little over three months, we did face some niggles which need to be pointed out. Firstly, in a rather well-built interior, there’s a lot of tyre and engine noise that filters into the cabin and we think this compact sedan could have done with better sound insulation. 

Then there’s the ingress-aggress of the Ameo – particularly in the driver’s seat – which isn’t easy owing to high door sills, low-placed seats and short roofline. This means that getting in and out of the car takes a considerable amount of effort, especially when you are in a hurry. I managed to bang my head on the low roofline a couple of times while trying to get in the driver seats quickly; also managed to hit my leg on the steering wheel more times than I can count when getting out.

Additionally, the backbench lacks adequate shoulder support to be comfortable for three people over long journeys. Besides, the high tunnel on the rear floor is troublesome for the middle passenger, especially since the large cup holder and air vents are placed right above that tunnel. Moreover, Volkswagen has also omitted out the back-seat pocket in the Ameo and the bottle holder on rear door pockets, which is a bummer. Apart from that, there are no day-time-running lights or LED/projector units in the Ameo, just the old-fashioned halogen bulbs for headlights, which we think could do with better illumination.  

Wrap up

To sum it up, I have grown quite fond of the Ameo. Even though it is not the most successful compact sedan currently sold in the country, it surely is a desirable one. Handing back the keys of this compact sedan won’t be as easy for me, as I initially believed it to be. But I wish Volkswagen replaces it with the keys to the DSG version.

Photos: Kaustubh Gandhi

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Volkswagen Ameo Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
Mumbai₹ 7.15 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 7.23 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 6.6 Lakhs onwards
Pune₹ 7.02 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 7.08 Lakhs onwards
Ahmedabad₹ 6.6 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 7.1 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 6.67 Lakhs onwards
Chandigarh₹ 6.63 Lakhs onwards
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