Volkswagen Ameo Diesel comes with the superb DSG gearbox and a equally great manual gearbox as options. Continues to have segment leading feature list
- Well proportioned compact sedan
- Most powerful diesel car in its class
- Dynamically rich and fuel efficient
- DSG diesel engine combo best in segment
- Feature list and interior quality are segment best
- Legroom limited at the rear
- Strict four seater
- Base variant has no AT
Volkswagen had a rough start in the Indian Auto market. All started with the Polo and despite the product was segment best, sales did not fly as expected. Lack of dealership, high cost of ownership and buying made it not so great selling hatchback in a market known for loving small cars. Volkswagen started getting things right. Pricing, dealerships, warranty and sales picked up a bit. Vento was the result which catered the C segment. Both products do relatively well and even today, they form majority of the sales.
High-end products came and went and did their part of cementing Volkswagen premium experience. Sub four meter is the new trend in the market and Volkswagen wants to catch up to that. Ameo seems to the be the easiest way to make sure that they get volumes. We spied it multiple times and were first to report the diesel model entry. Today, we have finally driven the Ameo Diesel manual and DSG equipped car for a day to tell how does it feel like on the road.
Styling is where the Ameo had to stand out from the others and it manages to do so. Front-end comes from the new Polo and Vento so it has large headlights with double barrel along with black inserts inside. Front grille has three slats and bumper is busy too with lines running in them which are the air dam flow. Side profile is very similar to the Vento. but this time the car is taller and aids in practicality. Rear is where the major change is and the ‘box’ approach has been taken.
There are prism lines on the boot along with a new tail-lamp make sure it distinguishes itself from everything. Right from stablemates and the competition. Overall, the styling doesn’t offend or completely vow its customers, it is a design which will take time to grow on you like other European designs.
Interiors is one of the major highlights as a package of the Ameo. High quality interior taken from its sibling make sure it has the elegant design along with soft touch materials along with good quality plastics all around. The center screen is now a touch screen unit with buttons as it isn’t 100% of a touch screen. CD player, Bluetooth, AUX and USB cable are the connectivity options. Ameo’s trump card is the list of features which is far better the competition.
Bending lights, automatic wipers, cruise control, climate control steering mounted controls. There is also Opening and closing of windows with key remote, one touch windows for all four doors, reversing camera and sensors, rear A/C vents, fully electric ORVM’s, auto chromatic internal rear view mirror and other options are as standard on the top-end variant. MirrorLink along with 4-speakers with good sound quality are standard on top-variant.
Space is where the Ameo doesn’t score 10/10, but valid cars in this segment don’t score on that either. Legroom is good at the front and the rear has just about enough space for short passengers. Tall passengers will immediately criticize the lack of space. Headroom is generous though and shoulder room is satisfactory. Boot space is 330 litres, but has a practical layout and offers a lot of space for luggage. Safety kit includes ABS and EBD along with twin airbags as standard. DSG gets Hill hold control and traction control as standard.
Engine and Gearboxes
One of the two highlights that the Ameo has is the newly tuned 1. 5 diesel unit that now churns out 110 PS of power and 250 Nm of torque. Power is up by 20 PS over the 90 PS standard variant available with the Polo. Torque numbers are the same as before. New engine is pretty much the same as before when it comes to NVH. The motor is audible at low speeds and while accelerating by a good margin. The same gravely note is audible at low-end but at top-end of the rev-range it does sound rather good.
There are vibrations, but only in the clutch pedal. When it comes to driveability, there is turbo lag as always, but it is well controlled and even below 2000 RPM, there is enough torque to get you moving. However, floor it and there is a wait between asking and getting. Once turbo kicks in, performance is clearly scintillating. Give it two kilometers and it is around the 200 km/hr mark, yes those numbers isn’t a typo! Ameo is very quick and fast at the same time.
Mid-range and top-end power is clearly way too much for this class. Thanks to VW for keeping a buzzer every time you hit 90 km/hr. Trust us, you will be doing with your conscious mind knowing it while driving. Manual gearbox continues to be a joy to use and clutch is light too.
DSG with two more cogs and shorter first three gears makes sure you have driveability all the time. When you floor it in the DSG, it initiates a kick down of gears and gives you all the power you want. 100 km/hr comes in no time and there is a limiter at 90 km/hr which makes sure you know you are at higher speeds. Shift is Sports mode it will redline till 5000 RPM in every gear. Manual mode gives you complete control and shifts when you do it yourself.
D mode is where you will spend most of the time and it gives you sudden burst when you ask for it, but it can be a slightly lethargic at lower speeds. Shifts though are super smooth and barely noticed, which makes the DSG box one of the best in the segment. This ideal combination is done to make it more efficient, DSG can be far quicker as we have noticed in other cars from Volkswagen. We were getting 16 km/l overall with manual gearbox when driven under 100 km/hrs and DSG highway efficiency went upto 17 km/l. Good on-road figures considering it is the most powerful compact sedan in the market now when it comes to diesel.
when it comes to ride and handling, VW hasn’t disappointed till date and it does not do it with the Ameo either. The car turn-ins quickly, the steering is quick too, ratio of lock to lock is calculated well. All of this means that it is easy to drive in the city and taking u-turns isn’t a big task. 15-inch wheels and tyres do their job well. 110 PS of power and still there isn’t much complain from the tyres either. Body roll is bare minimum and the steering is precise and provides feedback from the dead center. For some reasons, we think the steering is slightly vague than the Polo we tested earlier. Highway stability is rock solid and is planted in straight line and sweeping corners. Brakes are good too with good pedal feel and a lot of progressive power.
Volkswagen Ameo Diesel DSG Review, Verdict
The Ameo is not Volkswagen’s first attempt at the compact car market. So they know what they are doing. That’s the reason why Ameo seems to be the right package in the market for people looking for feature loaded, high on performance, safety and well built car with good quality all around. With the Ameo, there are a lot of schemes, extended warranties and many more options thrown in for a complete peace of mind for its prospective and existing customers already. Diesel automatic with the best gearbox in the business continues to be trump card for its prospective buyers from VW.
Service is said to be improving on all counts and 15,000 kms or one year service is the highlight of the after sales service package. Ameo continues to be an true Volkswagen in every aspect and this time it is a value for money and a proven product at the same time. We can’t see any reason the Ameo will not woo you if you are in the market for a compact sedan.
Trendline 1.5L Rs.6.58 Lakhs
Comfortline 1.5L Rs. 7.63 Lakhs
Highline 1.5L Rs.8.48 Lakhs
Comfortline 1.5L (AT) Rs. 8.83 Lakhs
Highline 1.5L (AT) Rs. 9.67 Lakhs
Price are Ex-Showroom, Mumbai