Review – VW Vento TSI

Posted on: Feb 13, 2014 - 12:03pm IST

And all of a sudden, there seem to be many automatic budget cars in India. What we have here is the VW Vento TSI, the successor to the thirsty Vento AT. On paper, the Vento TSI seems to get everything right – It comes with a punchy turbo-petrol engine mated to the very modern 7-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission, its not exorbitantly priced, it offers decent equipment and comes with VW’s unbeatable build quality. But what’s it like in the real world?

Exterior:

VW Vento TSI Review rear
The ‘TSI’ badge on the bootlid is the only way you can identify a Vento TSI from a regular one.

Unlike the Polo GT TSI which screams about its engine through badges and stickers, the Vento TSI can almost be described a regular Vento save for a ‘TSI’ badge on the bootlid. VW India seems to have used good common sense here as the boy racer driving the GT TSI would like to exclaim to the rest of the world what he’s driving, while a senior software professional driving the Vento would rather choose subtlety.

Interior:

VW Vento TSI Review interiors

VW will offer leatherette seat covers on the Vento TSI which feel like the real deal. Apart from that, the interior is identical to any other Highline Vento variant, save for the obvious DSG gearlever and a button on the center console allowing you to switch ON/OFF the ESP. The ESP and Hill Hold control are part of the DSG transmission package.

Features:

VW Vento TSI Review ESP button
Vento TSI gets ESP and Hill Hold as part of the DSG package.

The Vento TSI comes in a single Highline variant. So you get alloy wheels, foglights, ABS, EBD, dual front airbags, ESP, Hill Hold, steering mounted controls and auto AC. Seems feature packed right? Maybe not as much as the Verna or the new City, but we don’t have any qualms about the Vento’s equipment list.

Engine & Gearbox:

VW Vento TSI Review engine 2

Powering the Vento TSI is the same 1.2-liter turbocharged petrol engine found in the Polo GT TSI. This unit produces 105 PS at 5,000 rpm and 175 Nm of torque from 1,500-4,100 rpm. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission is used to transmit the power from this engine to the front wheels.

What’s it like to drive?

The engine settles into a smooth idle as soon as its switched on. Vibrations are non-existent even when you rev this motor to its redline. Slot the lever into ‘D’ and the Vento briskly moves, with you being aware of the gearshifts only by noticing the instrument cluster.

In city driving conditions, the Vento TSI is near faultless, giving you super smooth shifts and the right gear at the right time. There were rare instances where the gearshift would feel a bit jerky, but 9 out 10 times, it was smooth sailing.

VW Vento TSI Review foot well
Clutch-free experience at its best in the Vento TSI.

When you’re in a bit of a hurry, a firm foot on the accelerator ensures the DSG shifting down a gear, even two at times, and the Vento builds speed fast. In fact, you can drive the car for most of the time in the standard ‘D’ mode. It’s only when you’re hell-bent on extracting every single horsepower from this engine do you really need manual or sport mode.

By putting it in sport, the gearchanges occur at the redline and when you take your foot off the accelerator, the DSG will even downshift in a rather sporty fashion. The sport mode is very well calibrated if you’re in a hurry.

VW Vento TSI Review engine 2
1.2-liter TSI engine loves to be revved!

The 1.2 TSI is a brilliant engine, as we mentioned in our Polo GT TSI’s review. This motor loves to be revved and is comfortable in all parts of the powerband. To sum up the TSI and the DSG package, if its straight line performance you’re after, look no further!

Steering, Ride & Handling:

The super light steering is easy to use while parking and while driving through city traffic. In fact, if you’re not buying the Vento TSI for its performance, rather for its clutchless experience, this department should not bother you much.

The Vento’s steering sorely dissapoints at high speeds forcing you to take corners with caution. Clearly, the steering doesn’t like to be thrown into corners, which is a shame as the body is well composed to handle it. It is for the same reason that we have our doubts when thinking of the Polo GT TSI as a hot-hatch.

VW Vento TSI Review steering
Overly light steering on the Vento TSI. Good for city speeds though.

The Vento’s ride quality is run-off-the-mill: Neither is it exceptional, nor is it bad. Unlike the Polo, the Vento, thanks to its boot, gets a bit bouncy at times, especially when you don’t have passengers at the rear.

Even with its light steering, the Vento has excellent straight-line stability at high speeds.

Brakes:

With disc brakes at the front with ABS and EBD, the Vento TSI possesses good braking manners. However, VW could have improved the brakes further given that this is a genuinely powerful car which could surprise its owners with its acceleration prowess at times.

Fuel Efficiency:

VW Vento TSI Review fuel efficiency
If you’re planning on driving the TSI like an enthusiast, this is the best figure you’ll achieve.

The TSI motor’s power delivery is highly addictive. It’s for this reason that our first four days with the car did not see the on-board computer go above 7 km/l. Without slamming the pedal to the floor too much, the TSI motor is a genuinely fuel efficient engine, capable of delivering at least 11.5 km/l in city driving conditions. VW’s claim of 16.93 km/l seems entirely possible.

Price:

At INR 9.99 lakhs (ex-Showroom, New Delhi), the Vento TSI seems decently priced. However, the new City AT is better value for money, with the SV AT priced at INR 9.49 lakhs and the top-end sunroof-equipped VX AT priced at INR 10.98 lakhs (ex-Showroom, New Delhi).

Final Verdict:

VW Vento TSI Review DSG lever 2

Before the Vento TSI was launched, our sources in VW sent us an internal communication document. One of the points highlighted in the document was and we quote – “Let the customer test drive the car”.

Once you’ve experienced the TSI motor and the DSG transmission, chances are the new City’s CVT or the Verna’s torque converter will seem like yesteryear systems. Its in this aspect that the Vento TSI triumphs over its competition.

VW Vento TSI Review DSG
DSG is not yet a proven tech for Indian driving conditions.

However we are not entirely sure about the reliability of the DSG transmission in Indian driving conditions. VW Group cars equipped with this gearbox have been recalled in places such as China, Singapore and Japan and an official from Wolfsburg came on record stating that hot and humid climates play a factor in the DSG’s functioning.

VW India’s unproven after-sales support, a non-extendable warranty of two years on the DSG, and exorbitantly priced mechanical spare parts are also causes of worry. Its for this reason that our money would be spent on the new Honda City CVT.

What we Like:

  1. Performance
  2. Decent price

What we Dislike:

  1. Overly light steering
  2. DSG has reliability issues, especially in hot and humid countries
  3. VW India’s aftersales needs to improve by several notches

VW Vento TSI Image Gallery

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8 thoughts on “Review – VW Vento TSI

  1. Nams says:

    @ Anjan Ravi : Unpleasant downshifting… it makes you feel the vehicle almost
    jumping forward when down shifts happens.Symptoms of clutch failure is what i understand. why is that it doesnt happen in Audi or in VW jetta /passat

    Reply
  2. Rajat says:

    Hi anjan,

    Mi bought a vento tsi last month – its a superb car and experience has bee good so far – i have done 1600 kms now.
    There is one issue though which has cropped up in last 1 week or so – m looking for some answer to it online and hence writing it here to you.
    Since last 1 week – i m noticing that the downshift of the gears (particularly from 4th to 3rd and 3rd to 2nd) is being fairly jerky – and m talking abt the normal “d” mode.
    The feeling is just like – say if one is breaking/slowing a manual car and is downshifting a bit early (say going to 2nd gear from 3rd at the speed of 35-40 itself)
    This is a bit of an irritant as mostly in city drive one drives in range of 20-60 so often one comes down from 4-5th gear to 2nd gear.
    Could you help me, in the sense – have you heard of such n issue in dsg/tsi in other models or even the vento (asking other models as vento tsi is a new model for concluding it has no issues)

    Please see if you could assist/guide me – thanks in advance.

    Reply
    1. Anjan Ravi says:

      Hi Rajat,

      What you mention, a jerky feel while downshifting, is nothing out of the ordinary in a car with a dual clutch. The issue arises as the second clutch has already pre-selected the next gear, but changes its mind at the last minute. This can happen especially at low speeds as you mentioned, as at this speeds, you tend to vary the amount of acceleration and brake the most.

      How can you avoid this? For a start, you can be a bit more relaxed and smooth on the accelerator. Try avoiding quick throttle inputs, instead a gentle input would help.

      Reply
    2. Bala says:

      Hi Rajat,

      I am planning to buy Vento TSI. Going through blogs for reviews. Could you please let me know like how is the performance, mileage, ride and handling etc. In blogs i read that we can change from automatic to manual mode if yes how will be the performance.

      Thanks in advance.

      Reply
  3. Harsh Shah says:

    Hey anjan,
    Vento looks excellent on performance but its the fuel efficiency, interiors and equipment list which makes other cars better value for money. However I heard VW is bringing in new updated vento with diesel engine and lots of equipments. I am planning to buy a sub 12 lac car. Attracted to Honda city!! Or should I wait for vento upgrade?

    Reply
  4. Babu says:

    Hi Anjan,

    I have a question regarding back space..we have the transmission channel till the end which causes a dis comfort the 5 the person as the channel comes in between… Question is …what is the benifit of the transmission channel that vw is compromising on space???? More balance or stability??? Reason being most of other cars do not have this till the rear seat

    Reply
    1. Anjan Ravi says:

      Hi Babu,

      First of all, the Vento is at the end of the day a Polo, a European hatchback which was developed largely for the European market. In Europe, the back seat of a hatchback is scarcely used, hence parameters such as rear legroom, shoulder room, window line etc., almost never figure in the purchase making decisions of a buyer there. These drivers are particular of the driving manners of their cars however. Hence, better C.O.G and weight distribution (which ultimately lead to better dynamics) are given a higher priority in European cars.

      Cars with a near perfect flat floor usually come from Toyota, Honda, Maruti (Suzuki). Products from these manufacturers are largely developed for the ASEAN markets where the rear seat is given a priority.

      Reply
  5. Navin says:

    The comments around steering can be partially addressed by putting fatter tyres. It really does make a difference. Otherwise another superb product from VW

    Reply

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Anjan
Anjan Ravi

I'm a true-blooded petrolhead. Hope you enjoy our news stories, launch coverages, motorshow coverages and test drive reports.