Volkswagen Ameo Performance & Test Drive

Volkswagen Ameo Overview

It was a little surprising to find out that the VW Ameo – a late entrant in the super-competitive compact sedan segment – would be entering the market with one arm tied behind its back. It was launched with only a single engine and gearbox option – the 75hp 1.2-litre MPI with a five-speed manual. In fact, the engine was the weakest point in what turned out to be an otherwise rather excellent car. We knew a diesel variant would be introduced by the festive season, and the wait appears to have been worth it, as it’s an upgraded version of the 1.5-litre, four-cylinder TDI motor we’ve already tried in the Vento, Polo and Skoda Rapid. It’s got 5hp more power and the same 250Nm of torque and apart from the manual, you can also have it with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. This could just be what it takes to find the VW Ameo some serious fans. Book a test drive for Ameo in Hyderabad at Tryaldrive.

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Volkswagen Ameo Exteriors

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. Compact sedans do have a stubby boot and this in-turn makes them look disproportionately from certain angles. There are good and bad examples but no one has certainly perfected the art of incorporating a boot in restricted dimensions. The Ameo is no exception either! On the brighter side, you do get an integrated spoiler and faux-LED graphics in the taillamps much like the Polo and the Vento.

Volkswagen Ameo Interiors

Sit inside and you just cannot differentiate among the three cars — the Polo, the Vento and the Ameo. Almost the entire feature list is same, along with dashboard layout.The overall design of the dashboard is not as flamboyant as you find with its peers, but it feels like the dash is built to last. The Ameo has received the flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel with piano black inserts, which is also offered with the Polo and the Vento.

The Ameo’s highlight would be the new touchscreen infotainment system. Like any other of its kind, the system offers a host of connectivity options — Bluetooth connectivity, AUX-in, USB and also offers a screen for the reverse parking camera. Besides this, you even get segment-first MirrorLink support. Speaking of the rear cabin, Volkswagen has used the Polo’s underpinnings and not the stretched version which the Vento uses.The space inside the Ameo is decent as compared to the Polo’s, which is not known of its rear legroom. However, Volkswagen has managed to make minor changes to the seat to make the rear of the car more accommodating than its hatch sibling .

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. For Volkswagen Ameo check ibin.co.in 

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.

Volkswagen Ameo Driving

The Volkswagen Ameo is available with a 1.2-litre petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engine. The petrol is available with a five-speed manual and the diesel even has an option of a seven-speed DSG. The NVH levels on both the engines are a bit off. There is more than sufficient power in the petrol and the diesel is certainly a lot more powerful. The petrol engine is noisy and the diesel engine has a lot of clatter noise. Overtaking is a breeze with the diesel engine, however the petrol needs a downshift. The automatic version of the diesel is a lot more comfortable to drive and convenient to use.

Drivability is good on both. The sudden boost after 1800rpm is reveling. There is always the joy of driving the diesel engine. Also, the clutch is a tad deeper than the petrol engine. The diesel clutch is heavy, which makes it difficult to drive in city traffic.As it is based on the same platform like the Polo and Vento, handling isn’t any problem. The ride is supple and smooth. Volkswagen has been improving the ride quality on its cars and the Ameo gets improved one too. The steering wheel is light and easy to drive in the city. The Highline variant gets leather wrapped steering wheel, which feels nice to grip.

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 Chennai

Volkswagen Ameo On-Road Price in Chennai ranges from 6,44,474 to 11,25,855 for variants Ameo 1.2L MPI Petrol Trendline and Ameo 1.5L TDI Diesel Highline DSG AT respectively. Volkswagen Ameo is available in 15 variants and 5 colours. Below are details of Volkswagen Ameo variants price in Chennai,. Check for Ameo price in Chennai at Carzprice.

Volkswagen Ameo Round Up

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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