Back in 2019, Volkswagen group announced its ambitious India 2.0 Project, aiming to capture a significant market share in the country by introducing India specific products, chassis and engines. Volkswagen, then, at the start of 2020 announced a brand new 1.0-litre TSI engine that will now power most of the Volkswagen cars and falling on the same lines, Volkswagen launched the Vento 1.0 TSI in India followed by a Limited Edition version with more affordable price tag and some visual changes. We drove the Volkswagen Vento TSI Limited Edition to understand more about this new engine and the sedan overall. Here’s our road test review:
Volkswagen Vento 1.0 TSI decal. (Image: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Volkswagen offered Vento as a mid-size sedan in India and not much has changed ever since the first model was introduced. The current-gen Vento offers nothing exceptional in terms of design and looks rather simple. To some, that’s the charm of owning a Vento, a no-nonsense, elegant design.
For the Limited Edition model, however, Volkswagen has added some spice by offering body graphics/ decals, a blackened roof, black ORVMs and a black spoiler on the boot, elevating the overall design of this version. The rest of the elements like 16-inch alloys and LED headlamps with DRLs remain the same as the regular version.
Volkswagen Vento 1.0 TSI side profile. (Image: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
While exteriors are simple, wait till you move inside the cabin of the Volkswagen Vento TSI Limited Edition. The cabin design remains the same as the facelifted Vento and unlike the exteriors, no Limited Edition special touch has been added to the cabin and that forms a sort of detachment with the sedan. The beige-black cabin is solidly built, has world-class fit and finish, but that’s all about it.
For a buyer spending a million bucks on a sedan, there’s no stand-out feature inside the cabin. The infotainment system is basic and offers a small touchscreen with buttons all around. The steering wheel is leather wrapped while the instrument cluster is same as the regular model. Despite being based on the top-spec Highline Plus Edition, the TSI version misses on a sunroof, USB ports, wireless charger, TPMS among others. What it offers is rain sensing wipers, cruise control, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and reversing camera.
Volkswagen Vento 1.0 TSI cabin. (Image: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
Practicality wise, there’s not enough cubby holes to store your large size phone, coins and coffee cup at one go. Seating three full grown adults in the rear seat is a task in itself thanks to a large floor hump and the narrow width of the car. As a driver, I also felt a little discomfort with my left leg rubbing against the central console time and again. Having said that, the seats are nice and comfortable and at no point you feel tired driving this car even while doing a highway run to another city.
Volkswagen Vento 1.0 TSI rear seat. (Image: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
The biggest highlight of the Limited Edition model is the 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine and that’s pretty evident by the body decals. It’s a new 999cc, 3-cylinder turbo-petrol unit that produces 110 hp and 175 Nm of torque and replaces the ageing 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol motor. There’s only a manual gearbox on offer, which is again a massive negative for the car. Volkswagen says that the new motor is a better performer and frugal too.
While it’s true that you don’t feel like driving a 3-cylinder 1.0-litre engine, there’s certainly a lag while accelerating initially. Move past the initial rpm band, the sedan performs in a refined manner, and is effortless to run. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the new engine performs akin a diesel motor than a petrol motor and not just in performance, but also in terms of NVH levels, which are quite evident as soon as you start the vehicle.
Volkswagen Vento 1.0 TSI engine. (Image: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
But once you are moving, the NVH are well under control and the noise insulation makes the cabin calm and a nice place to be in. Complementing the engine is the refined and well-tuned 6-speed manual gearbox that performs like a hot knife on butter and doesn’t need any effort to shift. I, for once, didn’t miss an automatic gearbox. But, and it’s a big but, VW should have added an auto gearbox to the mix.
The suspension is on a stiffer side and you feel certain cervices and potholes inside the cabin. The steering and chassis, on the other hand, offer an incredibly well balanced handling and the car feels stable at high speed, and light at low speeds. Overall, the Vento has charming driving dynamics and feels rock solid on highway runs.
Volkswagen Vento 1.0 TSI rear three-quarter. (Image: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
I a market full of SUVs, sedans are slowly losing charm and cars like Volkswagen Vento TSI Limited Edition aren’t making their case any stronger. Priced at Rs 10.99 Lakh (ex-showroom), Volkswagen is offering a solidly built, good looking mid-size sedan, but that’s all about it. The cabin is outdated, there’s no automatic gearbox and no diesel engine option. It’s hard to imagine any buyer of Vento TSI when the sister brand Skoda is offering the Rapid Rider Edition at incredibly lower price (starting at Rs 7 lakh). Overall, the Vento TSI is not a bad car, but Volkswagen must start thinking the Skoda way now!