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Review: Volkswagen Vento TSI
Driven November 2013
“Sharing is Caring” - looks like Volkswagen is putting this formula to good use in India. It all started with the Vento borrowing the basic underpinnings from the Polo. Then the hatchback borrowed a punchier 1.6 petrol motor from the sedan and named itself Polo 1.6. Much later, VW went ahead and plonked the Vento’s 1.6 diesel unit under the Polo and called it the GT TDI. In the meanwhile, the carmaker also introduced a far more superior 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol motor and teamed it with a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox to give us an interesting product that we know as the Polo GT TSI.
After all of the permutation and combination, the jodi of a TSI motor and a DSG gearbox proved to be a match made in heaven. And in our opinion, the GT TSI is one of the best Polos on sale today – a powerful yet efficient engine, a responsive DSG ’box for ease of driving and there was never an ounce of doubt regarding its styling.
So this Diwali it was time the sedan borrowed a few things from the hatchback, and that brings us to the new Vento TSI. It uses the same combination as the GT TSI, a 1.2-litre turbo-charged petrol motor coupled with a 7-speed DSG, a recipe that has worked so well for the lighter hatchback. Unlike the Polo, the Vento doesn’t get the GT nomenclature. It’s simply called the Vento TSI and only a tiny badge on the bootlid confirms the sedan comes with VW’s illustrious engine and powertrain technologies. Even on the inside, the gear lever is the lone differentiator.
At the heart of this Vento is a direct injection, turbo-charged 1.2-litre TSI petrol motor which is capable of churning out similar power figures to the bigger 1.6 petrol unit seen in the Vento. The TSI is packed with 103 eager-to-go horses and 175Nm of max torque that is made available from as low as 1400rpm. But unlike the GT TSI, the Vento TSI doesn’t feel too quick off the block, the sedan takes 11.52sec for a dash to 100kph as compared to the hatchback’s 10.85sec. However, it has a stronger mid-range punch and once the turbo starts spinning, the motor comes into its own. It loves to be revved hard and urges you to frequently visit it’s redline of 6000rpm.
The DSG ’box too lends in a good support at all times with its timely gearshifts. The ‘D’ mode takes good care of daily city chores while the ‘S’ mode is more for the longer runs. And if you further like to take charge of the situation then the Manual mode makes perfect sense. If there was something to moan about the engine/gearbox combi then it would be the occasional jerky power delivery. Use the ‘S’ mode in the city and the experience only gets more erratic. Also, the paddle shits are sorely missed here, especially on the highways when you feel the urge to swiftly downshift a cog or two to pull out an overtaking move.
The TSI’s ride isn’t all that different from any other Vento model range which means it absorbs most of the bumps with ease but lets the sharper ones slip through into the cabin with loud thuds from the front suspension. Also, the steering wheel doesn’t feel all that great and always stays on the lighter side. However, high-speed manners are brilliant and you can also push this sedan around corners and it shall follow your commands without creating havoc.
From the onset, Vento was offered in a petrol automatic guise (with a CVT ’box), but that 1.6 motor wasn’t as quick or efficient as this TSI variant. In a dash to 100, this 1.2 Vento is over a couple of seconds faster than the 1.6 AT and with an overall efficiency figure of 12.5kpl, it promises to run 2.5-extra-kilometers per litre of fuel. At Rs 9.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the TSI Highline variant may be the most expensive Vento out there, but what it offers is an effortless city drive, a pleasurable run out on the highway and it won’t burn a big hole in your pocket every time you visit the fuel pump. In our opinion, this is the most interesting Vento out there.
1197cc, 4cyls, turbocharged petrol, 105bhp, 175Nm, 7DSG, 0-100kph: 11.52s, 0-80kph: 2.54s/26.34m, city kpl: 11, highway kpl: 13.9
Currently, this is the best Vento variant to go for - it’s quick, it’s efficient and at the same time it’s fun to drive too.