Here we welcome another new long termer car in our garage, the Volkswagen Vento. This is the latest version of the entry-level sedan from the German manufacturer, which had been updated. As we bid goodbye to the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, to move on to another German car. Read further to understand how did the Vento perform in the long run. We used the sedan for a couple of months and share our reliability report of this German sedan.
Our Vento was the diesel one, the 1.6-litre that produces 103bhp of power. Now, this might sound insufficient, however the power that this engine produces is more than sufficient. We were always amazed in the manner the Vento diesel engine performed. There is a prominent turbo lag; however once the turbo spins it creates a high boost pressure that sees a sudden hike in the torque curve.
For city driving, it is fine until you are in the power band, the engine shows a sign of struggle when under 1800rpm. When you are in such a situation, you need to downshift. The torque curve is almost flat and this is what makes the engine so drivable. The mid-range of this engine is strong, which means there is more power between 2000 to 3000rpm, and this is the ideal engine rpm for good performance and also achieve good fuel economy. There is no issue to drive on an open road. There is a sufficient power and one can easily cruise at 80-100km/hr as the engine spins at about 2000rpm. The only thing that we dislike about this engine is its diesel clatter, as it a tad louder than other diesel engines. Apart from this the vibration and harshness of this engine are pretty much sorted.
Now, this is oil burner is frugal too. In the city, it returns us about 14-16km/l, which is good for the power and the fuel efficiency it returns. On the highway, we have even achieved a figure of 20km/l, while on the majority of the runs it was between 18-19km/l.
We have always loved the manner in which the Volkswagen vehicles drive. They aren't just built well, but even the manner the tyres obey the command given from the steering wheel and even the response time. The Vento is no different either. You push it around a bend and the flexibility of the chassis enhances the road grip. Drive it around tight bends or push it around corners, the alacrity of this chassis is definitely one of the best. Even the high-speed manners of the vehicle are good, as it doesn't show any sign of nervousness.
The ride of the Vento is bit on the stiffer side. This has been done to improve the handling characteristics of the vehicle. The ride is supple at low speeds and smooth and well paved roads, however on rough roads, the ride is a bit harsh. It doesn't get jittery, but the shocks can be felt. The stability of the vehicle is good at high speeds, and even the ride is smoother. The suspension has been tweaked for India road conditions. Initially, the ride is a bit stiff, but once the vehicle is driven the suspension softens and even its ability to absorb shocks improves. We had experienced something similar in other Volkswagen's as well. The rear suspension is softer for a composed ride for those who like to be chauffeur driven.
The steering wheel of the Vento is light, making it easy to drive in daily bumper-to-bumper city traffic. Also, the fact that it is electronic it doesn't weigh up much as the vehicle gathers speed. All it takes is a bit getting used to. We have loved the feel of the steering wheel of Skoda's and though this is electric, we are still happy with the way it is, without any sort of complains. The Apollo Acelere that shod our long term Vento are decent to grip, however the only niggle we have with it the tyre roar. It is a bit too loud on concrete roads. Apart from that, the tyres are meaty and do not lose grip easily or screech unless pushed to its extreme limit.
Now, speaking of the reliability of the Vento. To begin with, the quality of the plastics looks and feels good. The fit and finish too is good enough. Most of the plastic quality is good, however there are some bits that need some improvement. Apart from that, there are no niggles with the Vento.
We have driven several long termer vehicles prior to this, be it the Skoda Laura or the Volkswagen Jetta. The Vento despite being a segment below these vehicles, it has similar power especially while driving in the city. Now, the point is why does one need to upgrade to one of those vehicles and not buy the Vento? The answer is simple, more luxurious frills are being offered on those sedans when compared to the Vento, and once past 100 they are much quicker than the Vento. The latter isn't a strong reason, but the former is definitely. The Vento can give several C+ segment sedans a run for their money and at the same time be more economical as it returns us a fuel efficiency of 15km/l. What surprises us of the Vento, is not the fuel efficiency, but the power it churns out despite showing 103bhp on paper.
In features too, it gets an in-dash music system with Bluetooth, auxiliary, USB and SD card connectivity. There are also the steering mounted controls. The only hindrance we have had with the Vento is the hard spring on the clutch that makes it difficult to press the clutch in bumper-to-bumper city traffic. A few simple glitches we have faced are that the red backlight from the headlight knob reflects on the right hand side outside rear view mirror and the AC vents have a limited range of adjustment, for the flow of air. It is either on your face or nowhere.