The trend of building a sedan and a hatch based on a common platform and a lot of shared components was introduced in India with the Tata Motors launching Tata Indigo based on the Tata Indica platform. Then there was the Opel Corsa and Corsa Sail siblings which, sadly, failed to cause much stir. Very recently again there has been a flurry of new cars of the same genre viz: The Fiat Linea and the Grande Punto and then very successful Maruti Suzuki Swift and Swift Dezire. The latest entrant to this league, if we may call it that, is the new sedan by VW based on their Polo platform, The Vento.
VW Vento TDI Highline
During our preparation for the road test of the VW Vento, we were contemplating on which engine option would we like to drive having been given the option by VW. The Vento is available with the 1.6 liter 105bhp petrol engine which does service in the VW Polo and the New Skoda Fabia. We have driven those cars and it did good service in them. The other engine option is a 1.6 liter 105 bhp TDI motor. This is the same engine that powers the Polo which is built for the Polo Cup. With such background and after reading the engine specifications on paper, we had to try this one. So the diesel it was. We were handed the top of the line Volkswagen Vento TDI Highline variant.
VW Vento TDI Highline
Sharing its platform with the Polo, we were expecting a compact sedan. But when we saw the car, we found it quite complete and genuine premium sedan size and one which exudes that presence. Very much like the Polo, the Vento sports a minimalistic yet distinct and elegant design. If we hadn’t been introduced to the Polo earlier, we would not have been able to guess that the car shares a theme and platform with a hatch. The Vento looks like a proper sedan and not apologetic of being a sedan by sporting a boot attached to the back of a hatch like some sedans that share the platform with a hatch do. At the same time it retains the characteristic styling cues of the Polo. The side accents and skirting which are present on the Polo really make a different to the Vento. The design of the rear, which we were particularly curious about is typically Volkswagen clean and elegant. We have seen this with the Jetta as well which shares its platform and design theme with the legendary Volkswagen Golf. Kudos to the stylists at Volkswagen.VW Vento TDI Highline

Everything in the Vento is about German quality. Starting from the door handles to the way the doors open and shut to the buttons inside the cabin and the overall fit and finish. Everything is top notch!
Step into the cabin of the Vento and you suddenly get a sense of deja vu. The interiors are identical to the ones in the Polo. The car has a brown beige dual tone theme throughout. VW Vento TDI Highline
The dash board houses a multi functional information display which shows trip data, door ajar warning, trip and instantaneous fuel economy and distance to empty. We found the multi functional display a bit small and hence crammed for the amount of data that it displays. The back-light on the dials is white which gives it a different premium feel.
VW Vento TDI HighlineThe Highline variant of the Vento which is the top of the line variant is loaded goodies like automatic climate control, electrically controlled OVRMS over and above the Highline Polo. The Vento electric OVRMS which can be controlled with joy-stick like controls identical to the ones that we see in Ford cars in India. Bluetooth phone connectivity was missed in the Highline and for a car this price one would also expect steering mounted controls as well whose absence disappoints.
The front seats provide good thigh, back and side support for that long highway cruise.
The rear seat rests at a nice angle for a comfortable ride for the rear passengers. They provide decent lumbar support and high back rest. The rear seat is equipped with a central arm rest and the co-passenger anti submarine seat can be moved using a lever to increase the leg room for the rear passenger. A very thoughtful addition.

VW Vento TDI Highline
The tilt and telescoping steering adjustment is standard across all variants just as in the Polo which helps in finding the correct driving position with ease. The steering feels good and has some chrome accents that add to the richer feel.
VW Vento TDI Highline
The gear level is placed ergonomically and the gears slot with a lot of precision and changing them is such a pleasure.The gear throws are quite brief as well. The chrome touch with the shiny black give it a nice feel.

The ac vent for the rear seats was a good addition and the central chamber also housed a cup holder for the rear passengers.

The fact that the rear passenger cannot lock or unlock the doors was something that we didn’t quite like keeping in mind those Vento owners who would be chauffeured around.

The high back rest of the rear seat coupled with the slightly reclining roof line results in a very small rear window.

VW Vento TDI Highline
Engine and drivetrain:
If we asked ourselves to close our eyes and think about that one thing about the car that took our heart away and got all our attention it will have to be the engine. This 1600 cc diesel motor is something else. Producing a whooping 250 Nm of torque which is delivered at a rev range that is as low as 1500 - 2500 rpm and maximum power of 105 PS delivered around the 4000 rpm mark, this engine is quite enthusiastic in its response to the throttle at low city speeds. Having said that, the power delivery of the engine does not come in the form of a sudden surge when the turbo kicks in but it is one of the most linear manner of power delivery that we have seen in a diesel engine in its class. VW Vento TDI Highline
Coupled with a fantastic gear box, there is hardly a power band where the engine feels out of breath. The company claims a top speed of 185 kmph. We could get the car to cruise very easily to a speed in excess of 170 kmph but beyond about 175 kmph the car did not exactly inspire confidence but only beyond speeds of the order of 175 upwards. We weren’t complaining at all as the engine even when close to the red line band did not feel under strain and we presume that with a car that touches such speeds with so much ease, most will be happy with a self imposed speed limit of around the 170 mark.

VW Vento TDI power-Torque Graph

Over the exhaustive highway drive the car returned an impressive fuel economy of 17.4 kmpl which we found very impressive for a car as big as this and even more so commendable as our highway cruise was nothing short of fairly high spirited one as you can figure out from the numbers mentioned above. After having driven this, we couldn’t help but imagine what it would be to drive a Polo with this engine. Our guess, very very difficult to tame for sure!

VW Vento TDI Highline
Ride and handling:
Traditionally electronic power steering systems are very responsive and effortless at low speeds but tend to provide very little feedback at high speeds when the power assistance shuts off. The VW Vento employs an electronic power steering which is very effective at low speeds as expected, but, whats important is that the feedback at high speed is quite decent as well and left us satisfied. This assumes even more importance when you take into consideration that this car has a potent engine.
The variant we drove was equipped with ABS and EBD which is the next most essential thing when you talk of speeds we just did. The braking is good and inspires the much desired confidence when you speed.
VW engineers have worked on the rear suspension of the Vento which provides a good smooth ride to the rear passengers while keeping the drive composed when you throw it around corners. The body roll is not very significant either. If at all the added weight betters the dynamics with a more uniform weight distribution reducing the slight under-steer that can be observed in the Polo.

The Vento petrol range starts at the Rs. 7,15,000 (ex-showroom for the entry level Trendline petrol manual transmission) and goes all the way up till Rs. 8,43,000 (ex-showroom for the top end Highline petrol manual transmission) and Rs. 9,45,000(ex-showroom for the top end Highline petrol with 6-speed automatic transmission). The diesel variants range from about Rs. 8,35,000 (ex-showroom for the entry level Trendline diesel manual transmission) and the Highline sports an ex-showroom price tag of Rs. 934,000. The diesel variant is not offered with an automatic gear box like in the petrol variant which could be a move to keep the costs in check.
This diesel variant competes with  Indigo Manza, Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Verna, Chevy Optra Magnum and the Fiat Linea. Lets see how the car compares with the competition.

Comparison with competition:







Advanced Multijet

4 Cylinder in-line,
8 valve SOHC

16 valve

4 Cylinder in-line,

(Nm @ rpm)

209 @2000

160(16.3) @ 2000

235 @ 1900

250 @ 1500-2500







5 Speed Manual

5 Speed Manual

5 Speed Manual

5 Speed Manual






Length (mm)















Ground clearance (mm)





Kerb weight (kg)


1190 TL (MT), 1220 HL (MT)

Fuel tank capacity (l)





Overall evaluation:
The Vento is not the largest D segment sedan. Nor is it the most feature-rich or loaded. The cost of spares has also been a concern amongst owners of other VW cars in India. Having said that, this car boasts of the best fit and finish in its segment and the fantastic engine and transmission together with the German engineering and quality make up for the other deficiencies. We believe that this is by far the best package and hence the best diesel D segment sedan in the country today!

Some more detailed road tests that might interest you:




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