2015 Volkswagen Vento TDI: Expert Review
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Volkswagen Vento has always been one of the most sophisticated offerings in the competitive mid-size sedan segment. It exudes class with its simple yet elegant design and puts up a very graceful appearance along with a perfectly balanced profile. The German carmaker recently gave it a mid-life facelift with subtle tweaks inside-out to refresh its appeal. This comes as a second update that the Vento has got in past few months, after it received the superb 7-speed DSG gearbox not too long ago.
So are these minor refreshments good enough to boost Vento’s sales and counter the top contenders in the segment including Honda City, Hyundai Verna and Maruti Suzuki Ciaz? Let’s find out.
The exterior changes made to this latest iteration of Vento are pretty subtle and Volkswagen hasn’t really tried to go radical with it. It now gets a sleeker bonnet with creases going deeper than before. The radiator grille has been re-profiled and now feature three chrome slats as against the twin slatted previous version. The bumper is also new and houses a redesigned air dam with Passat-like wide band of chrome. A new set of angular fog lamps makes way as well and looks more appealing than the round ones earlier.
This time Volkswagen was kind enough to give LED turn indicators on the ORVMs, which should have been there from the day of introduction half-a-decade ago.
While to its sides nothing much has changed except the alloys and chrome strips on the door handles, the introduction of LEDs in the tail lamps comes as the most prominent change on the rear. The chrome band that was placed on the lip of the bootlid before has now been repositioned above the registration plate recess. Also, the badges have been brought down.
The rear bumper too gets some tweaks including a short crease that underlines the tail lamp unit and a chrome strip that runs along the length at its bottom. The hidden exhaust tip on the earlier version has now been extended out and features a chrome tip. Another very basic yet important addition is the soft touch boot release button atop the registration plate.
While most of the other cars in this segment boast stylish and futuristic interiors, Vento on the other hand stands out of the crowd with its simple and classy appeal. This being a range-topping Highline variant, it gets a Walnut Desert beige theme which surely carries an edge of premium appearance over the Cloud TitanSchwarz(as Volkswagen calls it) colour treatment that comes as standard on rest of the variants.
Seats, both front and rear are very comfortable with good amount of cushioning and overall support. The only issue with the rear bench is the high centre tunnel intruding into the leg space of the middle passenger, otherwise the leg and head room is decent there as well.
The instrument cluster is very easy on eyes and shows an array of information from distance travelled, distance to empty, time, service intervals, exterior temperature, average fuel consumption and trip meter.
Weird placement of the centre arm rest comes as an unwanted hindrance. If you stow it away then you keep hitting your elbow on it while operating the handbrake or slotting gears. And if it is in place then it is uncomfortable to reach the handbrake. But once you get used to it like I got in those few days, it’s not less than a boon as it provides the best-possible support to your arm.
A cooled glove box and electrically foldable ORVMs are some of the new additions that can be witnessed. While other cabin bits are carried forward from the earlier version like a flat-bottom steering wheel and two-din audio system with USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity. Audio quality is great, fit-finish and quality of materials is best in class.
There’s no change in the drivetrain and 2015 Vento still comes with a 1.6-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel units. We drove the latter which has an unchanged power output of 103.2bhp at 4,400 rpm along with 250Nm of peak torque between 1,500 rpm and 2500 rpm.
Power delivery from this four-pot turbocharged engine is very linear and wakes up instantaneously whenever you put the pedal to the metal. It feels quite lively anywhere between 1,800 rpm and 4,000 rpm, while the punch starts fading post that. The speedometer needle reaches three digit speeds with ease and motor keeps the momentum going even when you cross 150 kmph.
The 5-speed gearbox is a bit notchy, and even the clutch is not the lightest around either. So, that’s a mismatch.
Vento’s NVH levels are extremely well contained for a diesel car. It feels very refined and quiet in most of the circumstances, but the time you floor the accelerator and try to test its limits, the engine starts delivering a gruff note at the top end of the rev band.
Ride and Handling:
Like any other Volkswagen, Vento has got it spot on when it comes to the ride and handling. Having a McPherson Strut front suspension and a semi-independent trailing arm setup at the rear, it glides over our not-so-smooth roads and offers a very comfortable experience. The straight line stability is commendable and its 15 inch 185/60 section tyres are not brilliant but does offer decent grip while going enthusiastic.
As is the case with EPS (electronic power steering systems), Vento’s steering is also light and communicative, but regardless to say that hydraulic is unmatchable.
On the whole, Vento puts up a fun package to drive with best-in-class road manners and limited body roll.
Although the changes aren’t as eye-catchy as they should have been, the minor refreshments altogether has made the 2015 Vento a more matured and premium looking package. Offering a solid build quality, exemplary ride and handling, brilliant quality of materials, cabin comfort and capable power plant, the Vento is for those with an evolved taste. If you are one of those, 2015 Volkswagen Vento is the pick for you.