Volkswagen Ameo Performance & First Drive

Volkswagen Ameo Overview

Volkswagen will launch a new compact sedan for the Indian market called the Ameo. This is tipped to be the next volumes spinner for the German car brand. The Ameo, which measures under 4-metres, is based on the Polo but borrows a few things from its full-fledged sedan sibling, the Vento, as well. The latter as we are aware was first vehicle designed specifically for the Indian market and now Ameo is the next.The Ameo was unveiled ahead of the 2016 India Auto Expo and will go on sale later this year. Ahead of its official launch, we spent some time with the car (though we did not drive it) and here is what to expect. Volkswagen Ameo price range in India is between 5,56,024/- to 9,88,548/, check for detail pricing of Volkswagen Ameo in Carzprice

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Volkswagen Ameo Design

Now, coming to the Volkswagen Ameo exteriors, the car gets body-coloured bumpers and ORVMs, and the top-end variant, Highline, gets alloy wheels. Highline also features a rear defogger and front fog lamps for better driving even in extreme conditions. All the variants get halogen headlamps in black finish as well as heat-insulating glass windshield, a welcome feature, especially looking at the rising temperatures these days. Volkswagen Ameo colours include a Candy, Flash Red that is the same as in the Volkswagen Polo, Copper Orange, Night Blue, Carbon Steel and Reflex Silver.

Volkswagen Ameo Cabin

The Ameo gets the same basic layout, feature list and 2.46 metre wheelbase as the Polo. Step inside and you are welcomed by the familiar black and beige two-tone interior and sporty gloss black flat bottom steering wheel. The front seats are welcoming and get a decent amount of side bolstering. The feature list looks to be pretty decent too as you get a touchscreen infotainment system, cruise control (first in segment), padded central arm rest, a rear camera and a cooled glove box.

At to the rear, VW has angled the rear bench to maximise boot space within the available wheelbase. This has resulted in a rather odd seating position and as a consequence a six-footer like me is left with little head and knee room and not much under-thigh support. Also, there’s central no arm rest for the rear passengers. There is a cup holder and two AC vents for the rear occupants, nonetheless.The Polo’s boot of 295 litres is pretty huge which means that the Ameo should be bigger still. It has the ability to swallow around three pieces of airline sized luggage loaded sideways which is quite decent though a slightly high boot lip means loading up might be a bit of a task.

Volkswagen Ameo Engine

After the disappointment of VW’s anaemic 1.2 MPI petrol engine in the Ameo, we knew it could only be uphill from there. But this latest version of the 1.5 TDI diesel is just plain impressive. Sure, it’s a little noisy at start-up and at higher revs, but the car is quite well insulated and it’s something you can get used to. With 110hp and 250Nm, it’s a wee bit more powerful than the old version of this motor, thanks to a new, larger turbocharger. There’s no way to do an ‘apples to apples’ comparison with the old motor just yet, but we can tell you that in the Ameo, the new one feels supremely punchy and powerful.

Release the slightly firm clutch pedal in the five-speed manual Ameo TDI and it will jump off the line eagerly, the short first gear prompting you flick the light gear lever down into second shortly after. There is a noticeable surge of power at around 2000rpm but there on, there’s seemingly no let up right till 5000rpm. And since the powerband is relatively short even by diesel standards, you charge through it rather quickly. It’s even got a decent top end. And, because the gear ratios have been smartly chosen, there’s little in the way of perceptible lag too.

In fact, it’s when you drive the DSG automatic that you’ll feel the lag a bit more. Because it’s been designed to slur its way through the lower gears for a smoother take-off, you feel more of that sub-1,800rpm sluggishness from the motor. There is, of course, less of this when you tap the lever down to Sport mode and you can eliminate it altogether by selecting gears manually (again via the lever; there are no paddles), but ultimately, it’s the manual that is more fun to drive.The DSG is superb at being an automatic though. It’s smooth, clever and quick and makes matters so much more convenient in traffic. It’s hugely better than the AMT gearboxes you get in the Maruti Dzire and Tata Zest, but that does come at a premium.

Finally, VW does seem to have fiddled with the suspension to help support the bigger, heavier diesel engine. It’s been stiffened up and it is for the better. Where the petrol car rode well at low speeds, its overly soft setup meant it was a bit too bouncy and rolly when you went faster. Not anymore. The diesel car feels much better tied down, and yet absorbs bumps pretty well. In fact, we’d say it has a good chance of being the best riding car in its class. The steering is light and accurate but not quick or sharp enough to make you want to corner the Ameo hard, so while competent, it does shy away from being a fun handling car.

Volkswagen Ameo Rideing

However, if we are to go by the Polo’s ride quality, handling and ability to put a smile on the driver’s face then the Ameo should perform just as good and should be an involving vehicle to drive.In fact, we’d say it has a good chance of being the best riding car in its class. The steering is light and accurate but not quick or sharp enough to make you want to corner the Ameo hard, so while competent, it does shy away from being a fun handling car.The exact performance figures will come in picture once the car starts to spend some time in the actual driving conditions. Until then, we can expect it to offer a comfortable drive even in tough driving conditions. The ABS is definitely a benefit when it comes to handling of the car. The power steering with tilt and telescopic features further make things easier for the driver. View offers on Volkswagen Cars from Volkswagen dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

Volkswagen Ameo Safety

Volkswagen Ameo 2016 features ABS as a standard across all variants along with dual front airbags. The Hill Hold Control and front fog lamps are featured in the Comfortline and Highline variants, whereas the rear fog lamps are available across all Volkswagen Ameo variants. The top-end variant, Highline, also features rear defogger, front fog lamps with static cornering lights and an auto-dimming interior rear view mirror. The front wheels have disc brakes to give the car that extra power so that one can handle the car well even in tough situations with ease.

Volkswagen Ameo Price

Volkswagen Ameo Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 5,56,024/- (Ameo 1.2L MPI Petrol Trendline) to 9,88,548/- (Ameo 1.5L TDI Diesel Highline DSG AT). Get best offers for Volkswagen Ameo from Volkswagen Dealers in India

Volkswagen Ameo Verdict

Apart from the car itself, what really impressed us about the petrol Ameo was that it was priced competitively, bucking VW’s tradition of premium pricing and even undercutting a few key rivals. They’ve managed to do it again with the diesel car, which too is priced in the upper middle of the segment. The only exception is the DSG Automatic, which costs a fair bit more than the equivalent Tata Zest and Maruti Dzire, both of which use cheaper AMT gearboxes. The incredibly punchy diesel motor is satisfying to drive and fixes our main criticism of the Ameo – the weak petrol engine. It makes for a superb owner-driven car, but as a family vehicle it falls a little short of rivals because of its relatively small boot and low rear seat space. If your use for these two things is minimal, however, you’ll find the Ameo TDI is a well-built, well-appointed and well-equipped compact sedan that’s now, finally, nice to drive too.

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