Volkswagen Ameo Facelift Review & Test drive

Volkswagen Ameo Overview

Volkswagen seems to have gotten most of the things right with its debutante entrant in the compact sedan segment. The Ameo can easily outsell its rivals when it comes to features. Volkswagen has loaded it to the brim. Even mechanically it comes with one of the best engine and transmission options.Volkswagen has been present in India since a few years now but it was just this year that they launched a made for India product with the Ameo. Within no time, the Ameo became Volkswagen’s best selling car in India, with its sales being more than all other VW cars combined. This was only with a petrol version on sale and now the Ameo’s popularity is set to increase further as the diesel model has been launched, available with both manual and DSG automatic transmission. We drive the car from Mumbai to Nashik and back to analyse how the updated diesel motor fares in the compact German sedan. The Ameo is the first Volkswagen car tailor made for India and it competes in a segment where there is a lot of demand, hence pricing and value proposition remain important. For information on contact details of Volkswagen car dealers in Hyderabad

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Volkswagen Ameo Design

It is hard to differentiate between the Polo and the Ameo, especially if you’re looking at the front profile. Although, its sub-4m dimensions allows it to qualify for fewer taxes, makes the car look disproportionate from certain angles. The same applies to the entire segment the Ameo belongs to.As mentioned above, the front is a carbon copy of the Polo hatchback and there’s nothing you have not seen before. To begin with, it features dual-barrel halogen headlamps and multi-slat grille. The re-styled front bumper which was offered with the Polo facelift has been lifted and now is also featured in the Ameo. The bumper comes with a chrome strip which runs along its length and the fog lamps come with static cornering lights. Like the front fascia, the side profile is also similar to the Polo, up until the C-pillar. Things start to differ after the C-pillar as the company has incorporated a boot. Furthermore, the production-spec Ameo features 15-inch alloy wheels, which are borrowed from the Polo — unlike the 16-inchers which were shown at the time of its debut.

Volkswagen Ameo Cabin

On the inside, the Ameo is offering high quality interiors. The fit and finish on the inside is good and even the look and feel of the materials. The cabin feels a bit outdated in design. In terms of features, it gets most of it. There is a touchscreen system, reverse parking camera, Apple Car Play and a lot more features. Dual airbags and ABS is a standard feature across all variants.

The front seats are large and comfortable too. The second row gets tight on knee room and this is a drawback considering most of the competition. Tall people might not be very comfortable at the rear. For this reason, the Ameo is a good option to buy for those who drive themselves. There is a rear AC vent in the Ameo and a bottle holder as well. The boot isn’t the largest, but the rear seats fold and this is a unique feature for a compact sedan.

Volkswagen Ameo Performance

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.

Volkswagen Ameo Driving

Don’t let the sporty looking flat-bottom steering wheel fool you. The Ameo is a compact sedan, after all, and it handles exactly like it’s supposed to. Like all other cars in its class, the Ameo’s suspension set up has been oriented towards comfort. That said, it has got the second best balance between ride and handling, after the Honda Amaze. The steering on the Ameo feels vague around the straight-ahead position and is slow to turn in. It’s initially light but becomes gradually heavier as more lock is applied. All in all, it lacks the consistency in feel that’s to be found in rivals like the Ford Figo Aspire.

The production-spec Ameo rides on 15-inch wheels as opposed to the bigger 16-inchers seen on the show car at the Auto Expo. Nevertheless, the Ameo’s ride quality is quite good – we sampled it across both pothole-ridden city streets and wide open tarmac on the highway. It deals with undulated surfaces rather well despite transmitting some sharp bumps from on the road into the cabin. So what’s not to like in terms of dynamics? Well, the Ameo, like all other compact sedans, has that inherent floatiness to its high speed ride. One has to make constant steering corrections to keep the thing true to its line.

Volkswagen Ameo Safety

This is one of the areas where Volkswagen usually scores over its rivals in most of the segments. The Ameo is the only vehicle in its class to come with dual-front airbags along with ABS (anti-lock braking system) as standard. The diesel automatic also offers ESP (electronic stabilisation programme) and Hill-Hold Control. The Ameo is Volkswagen’s first Made-for-India offering and will compete with the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Swift DZire, the Hyundai Xcent, the Honda Amaze, the Ford Figo Aspire, and the Tata Zest.

Volkswagen Ameo Price in Mumbai

Volkswagen Ameo Ex-Showroom Price in Mumbai ranges from 5,48,892/- (Ameo 1.2L MPI Petrol Trendline) to 9,87,782/- (Ameo 1.5L TDI Diesel Highline DSG AT). Get best offers for Volkswagen Ameo from Volkswagen Dealers in Mumbai. Check for Ameo price in Mumbai at Carzprice

Volkswagen Ameo Verdict

The Volkswagen Ameo diesel is a very good package since it comes with great build quality, loaded equipment list, a power packed engine and two really nice gearboxes. The compact sedan does look a bit quirky from certain angles but looks are always subjective. Overall, Volkswagen has got a really fine product on their hands with the Ameo TDI and we really wish it fetches more sales now because the numbers of the petrol Ameo have been far from satisfying.

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